Saturday, March 12, 2011
The Mass & NH High School Basketball report visited the TD Garden last evening to watch St. John's Prep get crowned the Division 1 North Sectional Champions as they defeated Lawrence 87-73.
In a game with little defense, Prep junior Mike Carbone (31 points)and Lawrence's senior guard Jaylen Alicea (30 points) traded baskets for much of the night. Carbone was magnificent as he seemed to come up with a big three every time St. John's needed it. Carbone was 7-8 from behind the arc and through daggers into Lawrence's upset plan all night.
As far as Alicea, wow is he good. He scored 30 points while being tightly guarded and without forcing a shot the entire evening. Alicea gets up the court with the basketball as fast as any high level division 1 college guard. His speed is incredible. He can knock down the three and is a great distributor of the basketball. At one point during the game, the 5'11" Alicea had a one-on-one with 6'4' Notre Dame bound Pat Connaughton who was waiting patiently in the paint. Alicea gave an in-out move that left Connaughton frozen, and before Connaughton could move, Alicea had laid the ball in. There were just so many plays by Alicea that were off the charts: long range threes, pull-ups, up and unders, coast to coast layups. If we learned anything over the last two weeks about Lawrence High School it is the fact that Alicea is a division 1 caliber college basketball player.
As for Connaughton, he did what he had to do. He rebounded 19 times and brought the ball up the court much of the night to prevent any Lawrence pressure. Really as a side note, he scored 30 points, many of them late in the evening as Connaughton spent much of the last few minutes on the foul line. The bottom line with Connaughton is that he does everything for the Prep and is indisputably the Most Valuable Player in Massachusetts High School basketball this year.
Our top seeded Eagles struggled early with a Lawrence team that was showed blazing speed from their guards and great work around the basket from Lawrence senior Jesse Hiraldo (11 points). Hiraldo's early second quarter dunk off a put-back gave Lawrence a 25-19 lead. Lawrence and St. John's would trade baskets much of the second quarter with St. John's using a late 2nd quarter rally to go into the half with a 47-46 lead.
The game changed in the third quarter when a double-foul was called on Carbone and Hiraldo on a play away from the ball. Hiraldo who had been magnificent, picked up his 4th foul, and for all practical purposes, the game was over for Lawrence as the big fellow made his way to the bench. The Prep quickly opened up a double-digit lead and Lawrence would never recover. We wish the referree would have called the two young men over and asked them to knock it off. It was such a great basketball game up until that point.
Junior guard Steve Haladyna had another strong performance for the Prep as he scored 15 points and again was active around the glass. The Prep will play Mansfield for the Eastern Mass Championship on Tuesday night back at the TD Garden.
Friday, March 11, 2011
The Mass & NH High School Basketball Report visited Lawrence High School last evening to see eighth-seeded Brighton (14-5) match up against twelfth-seeded Burlington (14-9) in the Division 2 North semifinal boys basketball final. Brighton dominated throughout posting a 68-46 victory in a game that wasn't even that close. Burlington for the most part seemed a bit scared and they were able to play at Brighton's quick pace. To make matters worse for the Red Devils, they had many quick shot attempts that were rebounded by the Bengals and turned into transition points.
Brighton took over the game early as the Bengals dominated the glass and made layup after layup following many Burlington ill-advised threes. At one point in the first quarter, Burlington hauled up 6 straight threes without making one and without running time off the clock. By the time the first quarter was over, the Bengals’ had opened up a 27-13 advantage. The second quarter would not get better as Brighton would keep the lead in the mid-twenties for much of the second quarter.
Bernadin St. Vil led the Bengals with 11 points and 11 rebounds, while Mike Arnead had 11 rebounds off the bench. Ryan Putney led Burlington with 15 points and eight rebounds.
Brighton will play New Mission in the North final tomorrow (Saturday) at 12:15 p.m. at the Tsongas Center in Lowell.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Londonderry's Savanna Butterfield is a coaches dream. Get this, the senior guard took six charges last night to lead Londonderry High School to a 53-47 victory over Alvirne High School in New Hampshire tournament play. The last one being the most important, as Butterfield drew her sixth charging foul with 29 seconds left in the game and her team up 2 to seal the victory. Butterfield also added 17 points and 9 rebounds on the evening. "I’d rather take a charge than score points,’’ said Butterfield. “It’s something I have a knack for. I like the contact.’'
We have watched Butterfield play many times, and it's quite apparent she can score the basketball and is willing to sacrafice her body for the better of the team.
Andover was just too much for Central Catholic as they trounced the Raiders 60-33 in the North Section Semi-finals at Methuen High School last night. With most people expecting a close game, the bottom line was that Andover's senior guard Natalie Gomez-Martinez and junior guard Nicole Boudreau are just too good. And given that is was a must win situation, you had a feeling the best would rise to the top. The Andover duo set the tone early as the propelled their team to a 39-19 half time lead as they dominated at both ends of the floor.
The duo with help from there teammates held the Raiders to 33 points on the entire evening as they get Central's two senior scholarship players under control as Merrimack bound Melissa Miller had 6 points and St. Rose bound Gabe Polce had just 5 points.
If it wasn't the defense, it might have been the offensive that made the difference as Boudreau knocked in 5 three pointers on her way to 31 points. That's only two less than the 33 points that the entire Central team was able to score. The floor general Gomez added a modest 10 points in the win.
We have been watching these two Andover guards play for a long-long time and they are indeed that good. Gomez has committed to play basketball at division 1 Marist University next year and Boudreau (although only a junior) has committed to division 1 Boston College.
If you love basketball, Gomez is a pleasure to watch. Her handle is exceptional and her ability to create space off the dribble and make her opponent look foolish while doing so is second to nobody in Massachusetts girls high school basketball. Boudreau, who is just a junior, is already the best scorer of the basketball in Massachusetts girls high school basketball. She can knock down shots with consistency from beyond NBA range and she can get to the rim off the dribble. Best of all, both of these girls play with a little bit of attitude, the kind that you need to have if you are going to be great. And greatness is what we saw last night.
The good news is the two talents will play together again tomorrow in the Division 1 Finals at the TD Garden at 3:30 p.m.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Last night, Saint John's Prep and Central Catholic squared off in the Division 1 North Sectional Semi-finals in front of a packed crowd at Lawrence High School. In what was a great game, Saint John's Prep moved on to the North Finals with a 63-60 win over the Raiders.
Central's 6'7" Jimmy Zenevitch was excellent as he finished his high school career with a game high 33 points and 15 rebounds in the loss. Zenevitch for the most part, kept Central alive in a game where St. John's Prep won the battle of loose balls. In a game that just wasn't meant to be for the Raiders, Zenevitch back-rimmed a long three to tie the game as time expired. Zenevitch, who is a 1,000 point scorer, has nothing to be disappointed about as he leaves Central with two State Championship Rings and a division II scholarship to Assumption College where he will compete in the North East 10 next season.
St. John's and Notre Dame bound Pat Connaughton has been and is the best high school player in Massachusetts this year. In what was a modest night for the 6'4" star, Connaughton only had 14 points and 16 rebounds and probably was close to double-digit assists. It was a night that most high school players would die for. Not to take away from the other St. John's players, but it is the greatness of Connaughton that allowed junior Freddy Shove to clean up with 15 points and 15 rebounds of his own and it was the greatness of Connaughton that helped the active junior Steve Haladyna score 24 points.
If you loved basketball, it was a great night to be one of the 3,000 people packed into Lawrence High School. It was a chance to see two of the best players in Massachusetts high school basketball in Connaughton and Zenevitch and two of what will be the MA-NH High School Basketball Report first team All-State selections. We just wish we got a chance to watch these two play on Friday night at the Garden. But as they say, that is the way the ball bounces.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
St. Bernard’s John Henault as had an incredible season and has been a scoring machine this year. Henault has had a great career for the Bernardian's and has clearly been one of the most productive high school players in Massachusetts. After scoring 40 points in a quarterfinal win over Quabbin Regional, his 33 point effort was not enough as St Bernard's lost to Oxford 60-59 on a buzzer beater to get eliminated from the Central Mass. Division 2 semi-finals at WPI's Harrington Auditorium.
The Pirates (14-9) knocked off a St. Bernard's squad that entered the postseason as the Central Mass Division 2 favorite. In a close game, Julio Maldonado hit a trey, giving the Pirates a 58-53 lead with 2:31 to go, but St. Bernard’s wouldn't go away. A pair of free throws by Garrett Mahoney tied it at 58 with 1:08 left. Anderson (11 points) put Henault on the line with just 13 seconds to go. Henault made the first foul shot bu missed on his second attempt, giving St. Bernard’s a 59-58 lead. On the other end, DeCarlo Anderson came off a screen and the Pirates big man turned and released his winner from just right of the hoop as time ran out.
In the Central Mass Division 2 final, Oxford will face third-seeded Northbridge (18-5) at noon Saturday at Fitchburg State.
Below are the most updated Massachusetts High School Boys and Girls Tournament Brackets.
Boys: North Division 1, North Division 2, North Division 3, North Division 4, South Division 1, South Division 2, South Division 3, South Division 4, Central Division 1, Central Division 2, Central Division 3, West Division 1, West Division 2, West Division 3
Girls: North Division 1, North Division 2, North Division 3, North Division 4, South Division 1, South Division 2, South Division 3, South Division 4, Central Division 1, Central Division 2, Central Division 3, West Division 1, West Division 2, West Division 3
Monday, March 7, 2011
It's time to crown the New Hampshire State Champions. Below are the seedings and results thus far in the New Hamsphire High State High School tournament. Click on Tournament, and then tournament info.
2011 Boys Basketball - Division I
2011 Boys Basketball - Division II
2011 Boys Basketball - Division IV
2011 Girls Basketball - Division I
2011 Girls Basketball - Division II
2011 Girls Basketball - Division IV
2011 Boys and Girls Basketball - Division III