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D1 and D2 Boys' Semi-finals

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D1 and D2 Boys' Semi-finals

Post  Tuesday and Friday on Tue Mar 15, 2016 8:21 am

http://www.unionleader.com/article/20160315/SPORTS21/160319527

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Re: D1 and D2 Boys' Semi-finals

Post  Tuesday and Friday on Tue Mar 15, 2016 8:22 am

NHIAA D-I Boys' Hoop Tournament: Comebacks becoming a habit for Memorial
By CHRIS DUFFY
Chief Sports Editor

NASHUA — Down 12 points in the third quarter. Trailing by five with 1:05 remaining. But nothing the Manchester Memorial High boys’ basketball team couldn’t handle, not when the Crusaders have rallied from deficits all season, including a 20-point disadvantage in the Division I tournament’s preliminary round.

So after the Crusaders finished their 81-79 upset victory over top seed Nashua North in a wild quarterfinal on Saturday night, their coach was not surprised.

Delighted, but not surprised.

“We’ve played a lot of close games this year, and our kids never, never, never quit,” said Jack Quirk, after pumping his fist in the air on the way to the locker room. “After being down 20 at Nashua South and coming back to win ... I never thought our kids couldn’t do it.”

Paul Rodolf shared the feeling. Memorial’s junior guard, who led the way with 30 points, scored the last five points of the game as the ninth-seeded Crusaders erased a 79-74 deficit with just over a minute to play. His 3-pointer from the left wing tied the game with 22 seconds left, and after a traveling call on North, he was fouled (non-shooting, but double-bonus) with six seconds remaining. Rodolf swished both, and North wasn’t able to get off a potential game-tying or game-winning shot.

“We’ve been doing this all year,” said Rodolf. “No matter what the circumstance we find ourselves in, we come back.”

For its reward, Memorial will battle fifth-seeded Merrimack in the late semifinal (7:30 p.m.) on Tuesday night at UNH’s Lundholm Gym. No. 3 Manchester Central will play No. 7 Winnacunnet of Hampton in the early contest (5:30 p.m.).

Saturday night’s game was everything a neutral fan could ask for. North’s stars, point guard Ronnie Silva (21 points), Nate Hale (17) and Alonzo Linton (17) played like stars. Less-heralded Titans stepped up, too, notably 5-7 sophomore Sclyler Boykin, who scored 11 points and made at least eight steals before fouling out.

Memorial’s Nick Philibert scored 14 points and was a going concern from beyond the arc. Brandon Scott added 17, 15 of which came in the first half, and Malo Roumraj added 12 points and performed yeoman’s work on the boards.

And fans from both sides cheered their lungs out.

“That was a pretty good basketball game,” said North coach Steve Lane. “It was the epitome of a good high school basketball game. Someone had to lose.”

North’s defense struggled early. Memorial players slashed to the bucket nearly at will and led 20-10 after one quarter.

The Titans adjusted, though, and thanks to an 8-0 run, tied the game at 25 halfway through the second quarter. Silva’s 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer gave the hosts their only lead of the game, 40-38.

Another Silva trey capped a 7-0 run by North to start the third, and after a steal and layup by Boykin, the Titans had a 12-point lead (58-46) with 1:41 left in the third. But Rodolf’s old-fashioned three-point play, followed by another Rodolf bucket off the dribble, cut the deficit to 60-55 after three quarters.

Neither team led by more than five points in the final quarter. Philibert gave the Crusaders a short-lived lead with 5:55 remaining by draining all three foul shots after getting fouled shooting a trey. The free throws showed a shooter’s touch: All three hit the front rim, bounced off the glass, then dropped through.

Again, North responded. A driving layup by Hale and two buckets by Linton restored the Titans’ lead. And when North’s Sam McCarthy drilled two free throws with 1:05 remaining, it was 79-74, which could have been construed as comfortable.

But not against Memorial.

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Re: D1 and D2 Boys' Semi-finals

Post  Hooper on Tue Mar 15, 2016 9:12 am

As a manch fan, I can't even contain myself for tonight. Two great games both with Manchester teams in them.

People aren't talking enough about what a great job Captain Quirk has done this year. For a program regularly associated with dysfunction and underachievement, they have come to play this year. Shown character and played team basketball (who is the best player on that team??).

Let's go Crusaders!!!

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Re: D1 and D2 Boys' Semi-finals

Post  Tuesday and Friday on Tue Mar 15, 2016 9:17 am

Personally, I would LOVE to see Memorial and Central playing for the D1 Ship at Noon this Saturday and West playing for the D2 Ship at 3 pm. This would be historic to have 3 Queen City teams vying for 2 Ships on the same day in Durham. With all due respect to the other teams, there isn't a better scenario for this Saturday, than to have the juice and buzz of 3 Manchester teams being up in Durham on Ship Saturday.

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Re: D1 and D2 Boys' Semi-finals

Post  Tuesday and Friday on Tue Mar 15, 2016 11:46 pm

NHIAA D-I Boys' Hoop semis: Central rallies to top Winnacunnet
By JOE DUBALL
New Hampshire Union Leader

DURHAM — The demise of the Manchester Central boys’ basketball team seemed imminent with a 10-point deficit and little momentum in its favor with five minutes left in Tuesday’s Division I semifinal with Winnacunnet of Hampton.

What happened thereafter can only be described as remarkable, as the Little Green flipped a switch out of nowhere with a 26-4 run over the remainder of the game to earn a 58-45 comeback victory over the Warriors at the University of New Hampshire’s Lundholm Gymnasium.

Third-seeded Central now returns to the Division I title game for the first time since 2012. The Little Green will face No. 5 Merrimack, a 49-41 victor over No. 9 Manchester Memorial in Tuesday’s second semifinal.

The entirety of Central’s unforeseen close came by way of senior Jon Makori, Evan MacDonald and Jaylen Leroy. MacDonald scored 10 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter, while Leroy scored eight of his 17 and Makori poured in eight of his game-high 23.

“They (the Warriors) did a real good job of taking those guys away early,” Central coach Doc Wheeler said. “We made a little adjustment to put Jaylen at the foul line in a pretty open area. We just needed a couple shots to go from there and our spirits were lifted on both ends from there.”

Liam Viviano paced No. 7 Winnacunnet with 16 points, while Zach Waterhouse followed with eight.

After MacDonald hit a pair of treys to get the Little Green within three, Makori came back with five straight points, including a go-ahead 3-pointer from atop the key to put Central up to stay at 45-43 with 2:52 left. Upon receiving the ball up top from MacDonald, Makori knew exactly what he was doing.

“I just felt hot today,” Makori said. “I felt like I was going to make any shot that I put up. Once the defense gave me space there, I just let it fly.”

The work from behind the arc, a favorite of Central’s throughout the season, was simply non-existent in the first half against a suffocating zone defense by the Warriors. The Little Green shot 3-for-17 from distance in the opening half before going 5 of 11 over the final 16 minutes.

“We talked about not settling,” Wheeler said. “We are what we are, and that means we’re going to shoot it. There’s a big difference when we are more open and can get the ball inside-out, which came down to just persevering better.”

Free throws also aided Central, as it hit 16 of its 17 second-half conversions from the line in the final quarter.

Central got everything to fall its way in the fourth quarter at the hands of a collapse for the Warriors, who in all were outscored 27-7 in the fourth quarter. The poise and composure Winnacunnet brought with the majority of its possessions through the first 27 minutes vanished during crunch time.

“They made plays and we didn’t,” Winnacunnet coach Jay McKenna said. “Whether it was not making shots, turning it over or not making free throws, we just couldn’t do it. They really made the plays we needed to.”

The free throw disparity was indeed a factor for the Warriors, who got to the line just seven times in the final quarter and converted on just three baskets. They finished 9-for-15 from the line overall compared to Central’s 20-for-26.

Winnacunnet led by as many as 11 at the onset of the third quarter before Central clawed back to within three points by way of an 11-0 spurt. The Warriors bumped the lead back to 38-31 by quarter’s end, but McKenna admitted the slip up likely helped begin tipping the scales toward Central.

“It definitely set things in motion,” McKenna said. “We’d have to go back and look at it, but I don’t think we were as patient as we wanted, which led to turnovers and pressing a little bit.”

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Re: D1 and D2 Boys' Semi-finals

Post  Tuesday and Friday on Tue Mar 15, 2016 11:59 pm

NHIAA D-I Boys' Hoop semis: Tomahawks' defense limits Memorial
By JOE DUBALL
New Hampshire Union Leader

DURHAM — Leading into Tuesday’s Division I boys’ semifinal, Merrimack High coach Tim Goodridge made the key to success for the Tomahawks’ tilt with Manchester Memorial rather cut-and-dry.

Goodridge said if his group could stay out of a game in the 80s, they would give themselves a great chance to advance to Saturday’s championship. While it seemed like a tall task against Memorial’s league-best offense, Merrimack made it look all too easy with a 49-41 victory at the University of New Hampshire’s Lundholm Gymnasium.

Merrimack will head to the final to face No. 3 Central, a rematch of the 2012 and 2014 D-I championship games.

The fifth-seeded Tomahawks offense didn’t fair particularly well itself, with just 11 points over each of the final two quarters, but the defense made up for that deficiency by holding No. 9 Memorial to just 13 points in the second half, including a scoreless, six-minute span down the stretch. A 7-0 run during that stretch, following a 38-38 tie just seconds into the fourth quarter, decided the game for Merrimack.

Sophomore Ian Cummings provided 12 points for the Tomahawks, including four free throws in the final minute to all but seal the victory. Cummings also added 12 rebounds, three assists and two steals. Ian Roberts was the high scorer for Merrimack with 13 points to go along with five boards, while Dan McKillop and Zak Kerr each added eight points.

Memorial got a game-high 14 points and seven steals from Paul Rodolf, with Nick Philibert following with 10 points, two assists and two blocks.

It boiled down to controlling the tempo for the Tomahawks, who didn’t allow the Crusaders to get out in transition much in the second half. Instead, Merrimack used slick ball movement and patience within its set offense to develop the looks they needed — and waste time on the clock — during their decisive fourth-quarter spurt.

“I thought our kids did a remarkable job not turning the ball over as often as we probably should have against that athletic team,” said Goodridge of the offense, which turned the ball over 13 times in all. “We made some really great decisions to go along with some really poor ones, but they’re kids. They are resilient.”

Goodridge had Cummings, who was making his first appearance in Durham, handle the ball through the various types of pressure Memorial threw at Merrimack. The sophomore seemed to know what was in store for him, and remained unfazed while protecting the ball during valuable Tomahawks possessions.

“My teammates and I rely on moving the ball and playing great defense,” Cummings said. “Once we got a comfortable lead, I got more comfortable with my control and getting it to the other guys where they can be in control.”

Timely stops were important for Merrimack on the defensive end, but limiting second chances with its work on the glass proved to be what stymied Memorial the most. The Tomahawks out-rebounded the Crusaders 38-29 overall, with 29 boards coming on the defensive end.

“We had to stop back door cuts, but we knew they were a really good offensive-rebounding team,” Merrimack forward Dan McKillop said. “We tried to hold them to one shot that way and as long as we could keep our own pace after that, we knew we’d be fine.”

Merrimack’s defense was the main culprit in Memorial’s struggles, but the Crusader’s streakiness reared its head again, too. It was a strong start for the Crusaders with an 11-2 lead out of the gate, but little mistakes piled up from there.

Overeall, Memorial shot 17 percent in the second half and 34 percent for the game.

“If you don’t score, then you can’t press like we do,” Memorial coach Jack Quirk said. “We end up scoring in flurries a lot, but you have to get that first score to get one going. We just couldn’t get one and missed some real easy shots.”

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Re: D1 and D2 Boys' Semi-finals

Post  Tuesday and Friday on Wed Mar 16, 2016 4:20 pm

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Thoughts At The D1 Boys’ Semi-finals

By: Tuesday and Friday

There is nothing like the buzz and atmosphere 45 minutes before the start of the D1 boys’ semi-finals. Coaches, fans, writers and broadcasters are milling about exchanging conversations about the past season and on the 2 big games to come. Coaches and players receive congratulatory wishes on making all state teams or winning the COY award. It’s just a perfect punctuation to a long basketball season

Now, in keeping with the atmosphere of the big stage of UNH, I think it’s time to bring the quarterfinals back to UNH. The quarterfinal games at the home of the higher seed have run its course. It was a good idea when they changed it over a few years ago. There have been many quarterfinal games with great games and atmosphere in tiny gyms across the state the last few years. When you see the atmosphere there at UNH and realize only 4 teams get to experience it, then I think 8 teams need to experience it. It’s a shame NHIAA makes up these nice programs with 16 team pictures for each division, but only 4 teams really get to feel proud they are in the official program for the games being played at UNH. The same goes for SNHU and Plymouth. You get these nice slick programs at these venues, but only 4 team pictures matter. If they keep the quarterfinals at the higher seeds, then how about getting those nice slick programs to the venues for the quarterfinal games?

So, I exchange pleasantries with the Icon-in-the-making Mikey Martineau and I ask him, “Who ya picking in the Central – Winny game Mikey? Winny?” Mickey booms with his voice, “No, I got Central winning the game!!” I kid him knowing full well that Mikey is Mr Central and that he has picked Central to win every game the last 5 years, just like Justin McIsaac has picked Spaulding to win every game for the last 5 years. He was pretty excited to be in the “cheap seats” way up top at Lundholm taping the game for the Central coaching staff.

With all the talk this season of West’s Joe Simpson being in his mid-20s and Trinity’s Connor Walsh being in his mid-30s, I have a new older looking player. Winnacunnet’s Anthony Primavera definitely looks like he’s in his late 20s. If I can find 2 more players at tonight’s D2 semi-finals that look older beyond their years, perhaps I can come up with the All State Older Looking Team.

In the first half of the Central – Winny game the Little Green shot 3 for 17 from 3 point land at 17%. It could’ve been the confusion of the two 3 point lines. The high school line is a very light shade of light blue which is difficult to see from press row. I would imagine it’s more difficult to see when you’re on the court flying around. The college 3 point line is a distinct black line. The Central 3 point shooters were tossing up their 3’s a couple of feet further than they normally do. Most of their 3 pointers came up short. I’m sure the extra couple of feet further back with the confusing lines played a part in their 3 – 17 shooting in the first half. It’s too bad with 6 VERY important HS playoff games being played at UNH that there couldn’t be only one 3 point line. I believe the two UNH basketball teams haven’t played for a bit.

You won’t find a calmer coach on the sidelines before a big game than Jack Quirk. You would never know he was coaching a big game. Once the game starts, his face gets contorted, the hairy gets frizzled and frazzled and the blood temp sky rockets. I’m always amazed by this phenomenon…….. The rims at UNH were very live all night long. I just think there’s added bounce to the UNH rims. 3 point attempts that hit back rim bounce REALLY high into the Lundholm air. There were quite a few missed shot attempts that hit guide wires, guide pipes and bounced over the backboards to the baseline out of bounds area.

Memorial shot 58% in the first half and was only up 28 to 27 at halftime……Malo Roumraj is one player who plays much bigger than his size. At 6 feet even I’m always amazed at his length in getting rebounds, keeping the ball alive on offense or tipping balls defensively. Unfortunately, Roumraj could’ve used a little more length on his layup attempts last night. The senior missed some very key layups that came up short that would’ve helped the Crusader cause. Does anybody else find it strange Memorial senior Brandon Scott sat on the bench for the first 5 minutes of the 4th quarter in a state semi-final game. After a night’s sleep I now find it VERY strange.

6’1 Merrimack junior Danny McKillop aptly fits the description of blue collar/lunch pail player. He doesn’t have great basketball physical attributes. You probably couldn’t get a piece of cardboard under his feet when he jumps. What he does well is be in the right place at the right time. He has a nose for the ball and a nose for the right defensive position. He out works and out hustles his opponents. He has the heart of one of Colin Burke’s assistant coaching clipboards….. Oh, I’m sorry, Colin Burke, the GREATEST asst. coach in Granite State high school basketball, doesn’t use a clipboard anymore. He has a very small piece of paper with a pen. Wouldn’t you love to see what Burke scribbles during a game?

Last night was kind of sad and melancholy in a way. It officially ended the 2015 COY reign of Mike Wenners in Division 1 girls. The torch has been nicely passed to Dover’s Dan Casey. It was nice to see the Green Wave coach receive the 2016 COY for D1 girls. He did a great job with Dover in getting his team to the quarterfinals. Nice guys do finish first sometimes. In D1 girls this has happened in 2015 and 2016.

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