Boston High School: Dover

New England Roundup: New Hampshire

August, 2, 2011
8/02/11
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Among golfers his age, who's better than Keene's Chelso Barrett?

New HampshireNobody in New Hampshire, that's for sure.

Nearing the start of his junior year at Keene High, Barrett finished runner-up at the 64th U.S. Junior Amateur Championship from July 18-23. The 16-year-old's sensational run in Bremerton, Wash., ended with a 6-and-5 setback in the tournament's 36-hole final at Gold Mountain Golf Club.

Barrett's dream finish on the 7,111-yard, par-72 Olympic Course was denied by Dallas 17-year-old Jordan Spieth, also the 2009 champion.

“It was disappointing coming in second. But at the same time, it was really big because I got (three) exemptions for USGA events in the future,” Barrett said from Fort Wayne, Ind., on the eve of the Junior PGA Championship Aug. 2-5. “I lost the tournament, but it wasn't really a loss.”

Spieth last year eliminated Barrett in the Round of 64. This summer, the Texas teenager became just the second golfer in the championship's history to win multiple titles. He joined Tiger Woods, a three-peat junior amateur champ from 1991-93.

Securing a spot in the final required Barrett bump considerable competition from the bracket. Taking lessons last February from Craig Shankland at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla., paid off.

In just his second Junior Amateur, Barrett started strong. He carded a 36-hole, 1-under-par 143 (69-74) during stroke play. It lifted him to the Round of 64, where the tourney's format turned to match play.

Andrew Bonner of Ripon, Calif., was the first foe Barrett sent packing. The final score was 1-up.

The next win really fueled the teen's momentum.

Barrett defeated defending champion Jim Liu, 2-up. The Smithtown, N.Y., native was attempting to join Woods as the only other repeat king.

“After he beat the defending champion, I was shocked,” said Chelso's father, Hugh, New Hampshire's 1980 state amateur champ. “It's done so much for him. He was basically unknown (in major college golf) before that.”

But the upset was an attention-grabber. Barrett, whose surname is well known at Keene's Bretwood Golf Course, ousted Liu with birdies on the 17th and 18th holes.

The first of those back-to-back birdies applied the pressure. Barrett sank a 6-foot putt after striking a wonderful approach from 165 yards.

The second birdie cemented Barrett's victory. Liu needed a final-hole win to extend the bout. His tee shot proved troublesome, however, forcing him to concede No. 18.

“Basically, my bad shots weren't that bad,” Barrett said of the key to his near-No. 1 finish. “I didn't hit it great in the finals, but up until that point, I hit it solid. I kept the ball in play.”

He beat William Zalatoris of Plano, Texas, 2-and-1, in the Round of 16. Thus, he met his goal to reach the Round of 8.

Then, he exceeded personal expectation. He beat William Starke of Chapin, S.C., 1-up, in the quarterfinals.

He also beat Colombia's Nicholas Echavarria in 19 holes to survive the semifinals.

In the final, Barrett built a 2-up lead through two holes. But a double-bogey on No. 3 combined with Spieth's birdie on No. 6 squared the match.

Spieth took his second lead by winning the 13th hole. He didn't trail again.

Losing to Spieth, competing in his last junior event, wasn't a complete downer for Barrett. Advancing to the final match earned him exemptions to the 111th U.S. Amateur Championship Aug. 22-28 in Erin, Wisc., and next year's U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship July 9-14 in Midway, Utah.

But he's most excited about the third exemption – earned by achieving his goal to make the quarterfinals cut.

He's assured a spot in next year's Junior Amateur, which takes place July 16-21 at the Golf Club of New England.

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New England Roundup: New Hampshire

March, 25, 2011
3/25/11
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Gatorade's Granite State Player of the Year can sum up his team's season in 10 words.

New Hampshire“Despite our lack of size, we were the bigger opponent,” said 6-foot 5-inch senior Connor Green, a season-long stat sheet stuffer for Nashua's Bishop Guertin High.

Case in point: the Division I boys' basketball final March 19 at UNH's Lundholm Gym. Top-seeded BG overcame a significant height disadvantage to top Manchester's Trinity High, the No. 2 seed, 54-46.

Green, who transferred from Division II Bedford High after his sophomore season, didn't disappoint in the final. He shook off a cold first half from the field to finish with 22 points and 11 rebounds. The double-double was his 21st of the season. BG closed its campaign 20-2.

Senior-laden and pegged as the preseason favorite, the Cardinals erased a two-point halftime deficit. They also erased the memory of last year's semifinal setback, in the process clinching the school's first hoop crown since 1983.

The championship pairing marked the first all-Catholic school final in the tournament's 89-year history.

BG opened the playoffs with a 63-50 win over No. 16 seed Concord High. Guertin punched its ticket to UNH with a tough 62-59 quarterfinals decision against No. 8 seed Spaulding High of Rochester.

The team treated its return trip to the college campus with a businesslike mentality.

“We had to be totally ready to play. We knew we had to play smarter,” fourth-year BG coach Jim Migneault said of the lesson learned from the previous Final Four appearance. “Both games up at Durham this year, we were very smart. I thought we played within ourselves the whole time.”

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New England Roundup: New Hampshire

January, 12, 2011
1/12/11
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Watching game film Sunday night allowed Dan Legro to analyze his undefeated team with nearly one-third of the boys' hockey season now history.

New HampshireMerrimack High's fourth-year coach, during a brief break from studying tape, discussed why his team is 5-0 in Division II.

“You can beat a team that's better than you, if you refuse to lose for 45 minutes,” Dan Legro said. “I think it's a mental thing.”

Mental toughness certainly fueled the team's two league wins since returning from the holidays.

Far from sharp at winless Bedford High on Jan. 6, the Tomahawks worked a 4-3 comeback victory at St. Anselm College's Sullivan Arena. Legro said his team was lucky to beat the first-year Division II Bulldogs.

Yet the real eye-opener took place two days later.

Merrimack hosted perennial power and preseason favorite Dover High, then 3-1, at Manchester's West Side Arena on Jan. 8. The Tomahawks orchestrated a 3-2 overtime win.

The score alone, however, doesn't do Merrimack's most recent win justice. It's all about the details.

Legro's boys twice trailed by a goal. That put the pressure on Merrimack to keep its deficit from doubling. Dover entered the matchup with per-game averages of 5.5 goals scored and two tallies allowed.

Standout senior Erik Glendye (team-high 13 points) twice set up Merrimack's equalizing goals by classmate Casey Bourque and junior Chris Fortin. Glendye also buried the game-winner just 2 minutes, 32 seconds into OT. Glendye's sophomore sibling, Brett, stopped 35 shots in net.

There's more.

Legro carries 18 skaters, including three goaltenders, on his varsity roster. Under ideal circumstances, that leaves him with 15 skaters to call upon.

Injuries reduced the coach's depth chart to 12 skaters for the matchup with Dover. First-line center Chris Kinney, who's second on the team in points, did not play.

But wait. There's still more.

Tapping into his team's mental toughness and superb conditioning, Legro shortened his bench after the first period.

He played only three defensemen – Bourque, and juniors David Downie and Rutger Tupper – for the second period, third period and OT.

He played six forwards in that same span. Glendye, Fortin, sophomore Dom Valluzzi and freshman Connor Powell were mainstays on the ice. Senior Marcus Poudrette and freshman Mark Feeney split time.

Considering Merrimack is the league's lone remaining unbeaten, has it sent a message?

“I don't know,” Legro said. “We just happened to win five games. We have a lot of improvements to make."

One such area is the power play. Merrimack is capitalizing with less frequency than last year's team that opened with seven straight wins.

And as the Tomahawks move closer to matching last season's strong start, Legro is preaching the need to play with even greater focus. Despite starting 7-0 last winter, the 'Hawks finished 11-7. They were a first-round playoff casualty.

“Our goal is to be playing in the Verizon,” Legro said, referring to Manchester's Verizon Wireless Arena, site of the Division II title game. “Right now, I don't see us as a championship team. Yet.”

A RARE OCCURANCE
The boys' basketball team at Jaffrey's Conant High rarely loses. That's what made the team's 47-43 Jan. 7 setback at Mascoma Valley Regional of Canaan such a shocker.

It snapped Conant's 46-game league win streak.

The five-time defending Division III champion Orioles last lost to a league rival in the season-opener of the 2008-09 campaign. Stevens High of Claremont ended Conant's state-record 63-gamer.

CULLEROT CONNECTS
Katie Cullerot, a senior guard for the girls' basketball team at John Stark Regional of Weare, connected for her 1,000th career point on Jan. 4. She needed just four points and recorded them all in the first quarter of her team's 58-23 Division II home win over Pembroke Academy.

Stark's 21-year coach, Wayne Thomson, said Cullerot joined Beth Chartier (Class of 1993) and Justine Nims (2004) as the program's 1,000-point scorers.

“Katie had over 200 points as a freshman and she averaged 350 her next two years,” Thomson said. “All three (1,000-point scorers) played pretty good roles as freshman. I think you need to do that these days to get to 1,000 points.”

Set to play women's hoop at Assumption College, Cullerot first sank two free throws. She hit quadruple figures for her career with an “And 1” bucket resulting from a baseline drive.

Prior to Stark (4-2) playing in a holiday hoop tournament, Thomson knew Cullerot needed 52 points to reach the magic mark. He said she closed within 16 points during Stark's third game of the tourney.

As she moved closer, Thomson brought the matter to the team. The options were to let Cullerot reach 1,000 points on the road or pull her from the game and celebrate at home.

The vote was unanimous.

“You have to be pretty consistent for four years,” Thomson said of the formula for scoring 1,000 points. “You have to be good enough to get quality playing time – and score.”

GO-GO-GOFFSTOWN
Plenty of basketball teams like to push the pace. But the boys' squad at Goffstown High is hitting another gear altogether.

The Division II Grizzlies (4-1) are averaging 93.8 points per league win. In their four victories, they twice cracked 100-plus points in regulation.

They beat ConVal Regional of Peterborough, 102-65, in the Dec. 17 season opener. They beat Hanover, 108-94, on Jan. 7. They also netted 101 points in a holiday tourney win over Kennett of Conway.

Here's what makes Goffstown's point production most impressive: Regulation games are just 32 minutes (8-minute quarters).

That means the Grizzlies are netting a shade more than three points per minute.

“It goes back to the Loyola Marymount days in the 1980s,” said second-year Goffstown coach Justin Gorham, a 20-year hoop mentor from California. “It's one pass, two passes and shoot. You're taking as many shots as you can get. We try to get 80 to 90 shots a game.”

Eleven Grizzlies earn playing time in the fast-paced system Gorham installed this season. Goffstown, which dropped from Division I, doesn't have much height. But it has plenty of scorers.

Seniors Alex Wageling and Ryan Lange, junior Connor Shaw, and sophomore Jake Mount average double-figures in Gorham's high-octane offense.

“Everybody gets to play and everybody gets to shoot. Everybody gets a green light,” Gorham said. “Our goal is to run everybody down and outscore you.”

NO SLOWIN' DOWN
The graduation of three-time Gatorade New Hampshire Player of the Year Tiffany Ruffin (Boston College) and fellow Division I women's college hoop recruit Emily Siegart (St. Francis), along with several other key contributors, certainly hasn't slowed Winnacunnet.

Hampton's four-time defending Division I girls' basketball champion continues to win – and win big.

The Warriors are 6-0 in league play. Their average margin of victory is 23.8 points.

All told, the Warriors have won a state-best 54 consecutive NHIAA games.

Returning starter Samantha Corcoran, a 6-foot senior forward, is fueling Winnacunnet's continued dominance. Corcoran and Kirsten O'Neil are averaging double figures.

MIRACLE-WORKERS
In a span of four days, the Division I boys' hockey team at Trinity High of Manchester recorded two wild wins. Tyler Theodoulou contributed mightily to the back-to-back improbable comebacks.

Trinity's junior forward scored the game-winning goals in both contests.

The Pioneers stunned Salem, 2-1, on Jan. 5. Joe Libby's point-blank shot knotted the game with 5.3 seconds remaining in regulation. Theodoulou delivered the dagger with a redirected shot in OT.

Then, on Jan. 8, the Pioneers erased Nashua North's three-goal lead in the game's final 6 minutes and won, 6-5, in OT.

Libby pulled his club within 4-2. Theodoulou struck for three goals that gave Trinity a 5-4 edge with 90 seconds to play. North netted the equalizer, but Theodoulou struck for his fifth goal of the game in the extra session.

Did the Pioneers use a season's worth of good fortune in those games?

"I don't think of it that way," Trinity coach Mike Connell said. "I think of it in terms of the team finding ways to win, which will help us down the road. We can call on (these experiences) when needed. But I hope we don't need it too often this season."

Marc Thaler is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader & Sunday News and UnionLeader.com. He can be reached at marc.thaler@gmail.com.

New England Roundup: New Hampshire

December, 16, 2010
12/16/10
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Concord High caught a few teams by surprise during its postseason run to the Division I boys' hockey championship a year ago.

New Hampshire"We certainly got hot in the tournament," said Concord coach Duncan Walsh, recalling his team's run to the title as the No. 4 seed. "I don't think anyone thought Concord was going to win it."

The Crimson Tide's rink rivals won't be fooled this time around. The Tide is the preseason team to beat.

"You've got to start with Concord. They've got a lot of guys back," said Pinkerton Academy of Derry coach Casey Kesselring, whose Astros, as defending champs last season, were ousted in a wide open semifinal round that also featured Nashua's Bishop Guertin and Exeter. "They lost a key piece in (Division I Player of the Year) Kevin Marceau. But they have the Lacasse brothers back."

Pat Lacasse is Concord's top returning playmaker. Nick Lacasse leads a veteran defensive group. The twin brothers are among 16 of 20 returning players from the program's first title team since 1999.

"Goals are going to come harder than last year," Walsh said. "Last year, we had a dominant first line. There weren’t many games they didn’t get two or three goals. I don’t think we’ll get four or five goals (per game), but we might get two or three."

Concord's first line projects to be Pat Lacasse, the lone returning first-liner from last season, and Chris Acres and Pat Cannon. It's on the other end of the ice where the Tide has fewer question marks.

Nick Lacasse, Taylor Lebell and Dustin Walsh earned the bulk of ice time along the blue line during the 2009-10 campaign. Goaltender Brendan Garrett is also back from the surprise squad that ousted top-seeded BG, 4-3, in the semifinals and blanked No. 3 seed Exeter, 1-0, in the final.

"In my opinion, it's Concord, Hanover, Pinkerton and Bishop Guertin. Those are the usual suspects," Exeter coach Jim Tufts said. "But Concord is the defending champ. Their starting goalie is back, and those twins are really good."

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