Boston High School: Ethan O'Day

NEPSAC: NMH 74, St. Thomas More (Conn.) 70

March, 4, 2012
BEVERLY, Mass. --- After sinking five clutch overtime free throws in Friday’s semi-final win over No. 1 seed Brewster Academy, it was only fitting that Northfield-Mt. Hermon point guard Spike Albrecht be on the line when it mattered most in Sunday’s Class AAA Championship game at Endicott College.

After a back-and-forth battle that saw both teams exchange leads in the second half Albrecht put the finishing touches on a tournament MVP run as he calmly sank both free throws with 2.9 seconds on the clock to help lift NMH (29-5) to a 74-70 victory over St. Thomas More (Conn.). The win earned NMH their first NEPSAC Class AAA Championship.

“As soon as I missed the first one my teammates all said to get it back to him and he will make them,” said Albrecht, a native of Crown Point, Ind. “I was fortunate enough to get that second chance and make both of them.”

NMH led by as many as seven points, 67-60, with 4:23 remaining in the second half but the Chancellors would not give in as guards Torin Childs-Harris and Barrington Stevens both sank late 3-pointers to help cut the NMH lead to one possession with under a minute to go.

After an NMH turnover under their own basket Stevens had a chance to tie it with less than 10 seconds remaining in the game but his shot rimmed out resulting in a forced foul and Albrecht’s made free throws that sealed the victory for the Hoggers.

“They went on a nice second half run that was similar to Brewster the other night,” said Albrecht. “We needed to make plays, fight through, battle and we did.”

NMH received strong first half efforts from post players Ethan O'Day (eight points, six rebounds in first half) and Evan Cummins (nine points, four rebounds in first half) as they took a narrow 36-35 lead to the half.

Guard Rodney Sanders was the main weapon for St. Thomas More on the evening, as he scored 14 of his team-high 23 points in the first half with four made 3-pointers on the evening.

With O’Day in early second half foul trouble and Cummins contained to one second half point NMH relied on their guard play to carry the bulk of the offensive work load. After being held scoreless in the first half NMH guard Sam Donahue hit three late second half 3-pointers and fellow guard Anthony Dallier (9 points) also provided strong defense and rebounding from the guard position.

Stevens scored 16 points for St. Thomas More and Denzel Gregg also added eight points and four rebounds for the runners-up.

“This is a record breaking team in many ways,” said Carroll. “This is a group of guys who decided early on that they could make a run at this and the chemistry that this group had made them such a special group.”

Bench productivity: With O’Day in early second half foul trouble NMH received a lift from their bench, in particular forward Peter Miller, who scored seven points on the evening and provided strong post defense in the second half.

“We talked about it before the game that nobody is alone today,” said Carroll. “There is always somebody there to have your back and we talked about somebody being in foul trouble and somebody having to step up. It was not a surprise that they stepped up and responded and each guy has a very valuable piece of this win today.”

Albrecht’s MVP run: It was quite the week for the post graduate from Indiana. Albrecht scored a team-high 23 points to go along with six assists and two steals en route to being named tournament MVP.

“We knew we deserved this one but we had to go out there and earn it,” said Albrecht. “I am glad for my teammates, my classmates and all of our coaches.”

Albrecht also had a huge game in the semi-final upset win over Brewster as he scored 16 points and five of his team’s nine points in overtime.

Up Next: NMH and St. Thomas More will both take part in the eight team National Prep Championships beginning Tuesday at Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, Conn.

NMH will take on Hargrave Military Academy (Va) at 8 p.m. on Tuesday night, while St. Thomas More will take on Notre Dame Prep in another quarterfinal matchup at 2 p.m. on the same day.

“Tonight is a big win for us and it will give us a big lift of confidence heading into next week’s National Championships,” said Albrecht.

NEPSAC: NMH 87, Brewster Academy (N.H.) 83

March, 2, 2012

BEVERLY, Mass. –- Spike Albrecht is one clutch player.

Scoring only 11 points in regulation, the 6-foot-1 guard hailing from Crown Point, Ind. stuck his neck out in overtime, taking three trips to the line and going 5-6, including 2 with 2.7 seconds left in the game, lifting Northfield Mt.-Hermon over previously-undefeated Brewster Academy (N.H.), 87-83, in overtime during the semifinal round of the NEPSAC Class AAA basketball tournament at Endicott College.

“It was fatigue, both teams were feeling it,” said Hoggers head coach John Carroll. “The team that had the most left in the tank was going to win, and it looked like it was our guys.”

The teams played point tag for nearly the entire game, first knotting it up at 5 early in the first and lastly at 82 with 2:49 left in overtime. NMH (28-5) won the tap to begin overtime at 78, but a block by Brewster’s Jakarr Sampson thwarted that effort. The Hoggers’ Evan Cummins lit up the board with a free throw at 4:15, sinking one to put them ahead at 79-78. A Brewster miss and an Albrecht rebound resulted in a three by Anthony Dallier -- with an assist from Cummins -- to put them ahead 82-78.

After Cummins missed two free throws, Sampson grabbed the rebound and came down the other end of the court with a put-back, plus the foul, to tie it up at 82. He was unable to complete the three-point play, however, and the game remained even.

The next points would again come from Albrecht, hitting two free throws with 32.5 seconds left in the game. Down 84-82, Brewster’s Mitch McGary went to the line with 17.3 seconds left, made the first but clanged the second. Anthony Dallier got the rebound for the Hoggers, and once again Albrecht was fouled. He was unable to sink both this time, but it was enough to put the Hoggers up by 85-83 with 12.8 seconds to go.

The Bobcats (30-1) were able to get the ball off the Albrecht miss. Down at the other end, Semaj Christon drove to his right but lost control of the ball after colliding with Cummins; Albrecht scooped up the loose ball and immediately was fouled.

With 2.7 seconds left, and with all of the pressure on his shoulders, Albrecht coolly strode to the free throw line and let the ice drip onto the ball, sinking both free throws and putting the game indefinitely out of reach at 87-83.

“He’s the guy that keeps us together, he’s the guy who makes clutch plays,” Carroll said. “When he stepped to the line with that time left, there was no doubt in my mind that they were going in.”

O'Day, What a Day: Although Albrecht carried the Hoggers during overtime, it was Evan O’Day’s 31 points, including five points within the last three minutes of regulation, that gave Northfield Mt. Herman the spark they needed to carry the game into overtime and upset the No. 1 seed in the tournament.

"We've been preparing for these guys for a while," O'Day said. "They beat us by eight at our place the first time. We definitely scouted, did the work. Definitely hats off to Coach Carroll and [assistant coach John] Halas, for doing the scouting report. They really made us work, and we were prepared for them this time for sure."

Big Spike Albrecht was able to score 5 of his team’s nine points in overtime, not because he is a scoring assassin, or has to prove to scouts that he will perform for them because they’ve committed resources to his future, but because he has a big heart.

Albrecht was willing to sacrifice his body in the lane, was able to drown out the noise from the crowd as well as that little voice of doubt that rings whenever a pressure situation pressure situation presents itself, and come through for his team when they needed him to.

“It was nice,” said Albrecht of being fouled and having a chance to shoot uncontested shots. “I always enjoy going to the line at the end of the game. I pride myself on making free throws because that’s what wins games.”

Up Next: NMH will face St. Thomas More (Conn.) in Sunday's Class AAA Final at Endicott at 4 p.m. The Chancellors are coming off a thrilling victory of their own, beating New Hampton on a buzzer beater in the Class AAA semifinal following NMH's win.

The Hoggers beat St. Thomas More in both of their regular season meetings, both by six points oddly enough -- 90-84 on Jan. 13, and 76-70 on Feb. 8.

Recap: NMH 64, Worcester Acad. 49

January, 15, 2012
DORCHESTER, Mass. -- Guarding a deeply-talented Northfield Mount Hermon boys' basketball team can be a challenge on its own, but when the Hoggers charge the court it is a whole new beast.

An afternoon matchup against Worcester Academy was further proof of this method for NMH coach John Carroll on Sunday.

Rushing the ball to its big men off turnovers and using pressure to create mistake, Northfield rolled past Worcester 64-49 in BABC Prep Classic at the Kroc Center in Dorchester.

“You always want to give a change of pace,” said NMH coach John Carroll. “When teams score they tend to settle for a few seconds and that is when we are looking to attack. We know they try to burn the (clock) when they have the ball.”

The Hoggers (14-1) pulled ahead in the game off a pair of runs late in the first half and never looked back.

Mounting their streak down 15-13 with ten minutes left in the first half, Northfield senior Spike Albrecht drained a 3-pointer in motion then set up teammate Sam Donahue for five more points off counter-attack jumpers. Forcing slip-ups with the press, Northfield's Evan Cummins drew contact underneath to close off the tear three minutes later with a 25-15 lead and a free throw.

“We are more conditioned than most teams so we are always looking to run,” said Ethan O'Day, a NHM senior and a Vermont commit. “We have been having trouble getting off to strong starts lately, but we eventually started knocking down shots.”

Nine straight points slipped in during the final three minutes of the half put the game out of reach for Worcester Academy (6-5).

Aided by an in-motion trey by senior Ryan Oliver, Albrecht broke a low-post one-on-one layup then stole the inbound for points to send NMH into half up 34-19.

“We wanted to crowd their shooters and make them put the ball on the deck”, said Hilltoppers coach Jamie Sullivan. “We tried a 2-1-2 against their 1-2-2 defense, but they were succeeding in slowing us down. They used a three-quarter court press to prevent us from rushing and with their length were able to get deflections.”

Worcester Academy came out intense in the second with four points off turnovers from junior Rene Castro, but were unable to mount a strong enough run to topple a 15-point deficit. Senior Andrew Scocca's six points and five rebounds were a positive for the Hilltoppers in the final half.

O'Day and Albrecht each tallied 13 points for the Hoggers, while O'Day also grappled eight rebounds. Cummins, a Harvard commit, scored ten points and ripped down seven rebounds.

Castro, who scored 10, was the only Hilltopper to reach double digits.

“We had a huge size advantage down low that Evan and I were able to take advantage of,” said O'Day

NHM played without starters senior and Dartmouth commit Tommy Carpenter, who faced a separated shoulder, and junior DeKeeba Battee, who suffered a bruised knee.

BABC Prep School Classic primer

January, 13, 2012
Boston Amateur Basketball Club (BABC) Director of Operations Jay Demings forwards along some information regarding this weekend's BABC Prep School Classic, this Saturday and Sunday at the Kroc Center in Dorchester.

BOSTON -- This weekend’s Boston Amateur Basketball Club (BABC) Prep Classic at the Kroc Center in Boston will not only feature some great games, but will give fans an up-close look at the elite-level basketball talent that permeates the New England region.

In the event’s first matchup on Saturday, two talent-laden teams in Notre Dame Prep and the Tilton School (NH) feature two potential NBA lottery picks in Notre Dame’s Steven Adams and Tilton’s Nerlens Noel.

Adams is a seven-foot center from New Zealand who just arrived at Notre Dame Prep as a post-graduate and will make his debut on Saturday. He is signed to play at the University of Pittsburgh for the Fall of 2012. Only a junior, Noel is a 6’11’’ center from Everett, MA who is ranked second in the class of 2013 by ESPN. Both players have drawn serious attention from NBA scouts.

“I have yet to see Steven Adams play live but, based on all accounts and video I’ve seen, this is a can’t-miss matchup between him and Nerlens," said BABC’s Director of Operations, Jay Demings. “Many of us are familiar with Nerlens’ skill set, but fans will get to see how Adam’s size, strength and skills translate to the American game. Experts believe that both players are certain future NBA lottery picks.”

The two-day event will also feature many signed Division 1 collegiate players and those that are expected to make their college choices soon. The field of teams include the following committed players:

Myles Davis - ND Prep - Xavier
Adonis Filer - ND Prep - Clemson
Mandell Thomas - ND Prep - Fordham

Georges Niang - Tilton - Iowa State
Dominique Bull - Tilton - Missouri
Kevin Crescenzi - Tilton - Dartmouth

Evan Cummins - NMH - Harvard
Tommy Carpenter - NMH - Dartmouth
Ethan O’Day - NMH - Vermont

Nick Lund - Rivers School - Claremont McKenna

Akosa Maduegbunam - Winchendon - Penn State
Tevin Falzon - Winchendon - Sacred Heart

Jake Fay - Brimmer & May - Fordham

Others to watch:

Tilton - Goodluck Okonoboh, Wayne Selden, Jr., John Witkowski, Cameron Durley
Wilbraham & Monson - Kamali Bey, Jaylen Brantley, Marcel Pettway, Djery Baptiste
Worcester Academy - Matt Cimino, Rene Castro
Marianapolis Prep - Kristian Medina, Nigel Sydnor, Bobby Ahearn
Brimmer & May - John Powell, Adrian Oliveira
Rivers School - Shaquor Sandiford, Kyle Reardon, Andrew Kaufman, Carlin Haymon
Boston Trinity - Elijah Okagbare, Zach Petion
Winchendon - Tre Tipton, Tom Bajda, Malique McLaren, Malcolm Smith
Putnam Science - Oscar Assie, Tyree Robinson, Jonathan Joseph, Dayshon Smith
Notre Dame Prep - Sam Cassell, Jr., Nehemias Morillo
Northfield Mount Hermon - Ryan Oliver, Lucas Van Nes, DeKeeba Battee

NMH's O'Day commits to Vermont

September, 18, 2011
Northfield-Mt. Hermon senior power forward Ethan O'Day ended his recruitment over the weekend when he verbally committed to the University of Vermont for the 2012-13 season.

The 6-foot-8 Mansfield, Conn. native also held offers from American, Boston University, Holy Cross, Lafayette, Hofstra and St. Joseph's.

O'Day's current evaluation on Scouts Inc. reads as follows:

O'Day is a well schooled four-man who has started to play with more explosion within the last year. He has a nice jump hook and terrific drop step with his back to the basket, runs the floor very well, and is starting to finish more and more plays above the rim, both dunking in transition and crashing the offensive glass. He moves very well for his size and has a well developed left hand. Also, he's crafty with his back to the basket.

While O'Day's frame has started to fill out, he needs to continue to add muscle mass to his frame in order to play through contact against a high level of competition. He can get bodied off the block on both ends of the floor and overpowered on the glass now although he has become much stronger and physically tough already. He would also do well to improve his mid-range shooting stroke as he suffers from a big dipping motion now.

Bottom Line:
O'Day really began to blossom in 2011 and has consistently improved since then. A well schooled back to the basket player who has added more explosion to his game, he will need to physically progress to take his game to the next level.

Updated offer lists for local ballers

July, 20, 2011
On his recruiting blog today, ESPN's Adam Finkelstein has updates on the recruitment of some of the northeast's top prospects, including several New Englanders:

Ethan O'Day, PF (Mansfield, Conn./Northfield Mount Hermon)
He has had to battle a sprained ankle but still holds offers from St. Joseph's, Vermont, Boston University, Holy Cross, Hofstra, American and Lafayette according to NMH coach John Carroll. Davidson is expected to follow him early in the second half of the month as well.

Jake Layman, SF (Wrentham, Mass./King Phillip)
He has been somewhat of a hidden gem but that's not going to hold true for much longer. Layman now claims offers from Maryland, Notre Dame and Providence with a variety of other schools apparently ready to follow suit.

Jaylen Brantley, PG (Springfield, Mass./Wilbraham & Monson)
Layman's BABC teammate is one of the Northeast's hardest players to evaluate. In one sense, his lack of size is bound to catch up with him before too long, but you simply can't ignore his production against the highest levels of competition. Brantley has reportedly heard from Boston College, Virginia, Louisville, Florida, DePaul and Northeastern.

Jarred Reuter, PF (Rochester, Mass./St. Mark's)
The 2014 big man has been a poor man's Tyler Hansbrough for the New England Playaz this summer. He claimed his first high-major offer from Indiana at the Hoosiers Elite Camp in June and has added invitations from St. John's and Rutgers so far this month.

For more recruiting updates on New England's top high school basketball talent, be sure to check out Finkelstein's ESPN blog as well as his New England Recruiting Report.