Boston High School: Mike Kasprzak

Melrose's Frantzdy Pierrot out for the season

December, 5, 2013
12/05/13
10:57
AM ET
Melrose High head boys basketball coach Mike Kasprzak informed the Boston area high school media this morning that senior forward Frantdzy Pierrot will be out for the season with a broken wrist.

Also a star on the soccer pitch, the 6-foot-3 Pierrot suffered the injury several weeks ago in a match playing with the Seacoast United soccer club.

Last season, Pierrot was named MVP of the Middlesex League after averaging 21 points, 11 rebounds and five assists. In the MIAA Division 2 playoffs, he averaged 18 points, 10 rebounds and four steals, all with an injured ankle. The Red Raiders were the state's final remaining unbeaten until they were upset by eventual state champion Brighton in the D2 North semifinals.

The Red Raiders are expected to be a contender in Division 2 this winter. Yesterday, ESPNBoston.com named them preseason No. 15 in its statewide Top 25 countdown.

Recap: No. 17 Melrose 67, Wakefield 62

February, 6, 2013
2/06/13
12:47
AM ET
MELROSE, Mass. -– Led in scoring by freshman Sherron Harris, No. 17 Melrose continued its unexpected unbeaten run on Tuesday night, sweeping rival Wakefield at home 67-62 to clinch the Middlesex League's Freedom division outright.

The Red Raiders (15-0) had four different players in double-figures: Harris (26 points, six steals), Matt Sherlock (11 points), Frantzdy Pierrot (17 points, nine rebounds), and Samuel Jean-Gilles (12 points, 11 rebounds).

Bruce Brown, Wakefield’s talented sophomore guard, spent all but two minutes of the first half on the bench, after picking up his third foul at the 5:42 mark of the first quarter.

Meanwhile Pierrot, a junior captain for the Raiders, set the tone early on with his defense and his athleticism. A built guard who is also a star soccer player, Pierrot forced several first half turnovers and dunked everything he could offensively. With two high-flying jams early in the first quarter, Pierrot’s aggressiveness trickled to the rest of his team.

The aggressiveness spread in particular to the freshman Harris, who weaved through traffic for his game-high 26 and was also 5-for-8 shooting from behind the three-point arc. A smooth guard with quick hands, Harris was a consistent pest defensively throughout the entire game, finishing with six steals -- four of which game in the first half.

“He didn’t play like a freshman in the first half," Melrose coach Mike Kasprzak said. "You probably saw his offensive game, but his defense set up most of those plays.”

In addition to Brown, Wakefield has one of the best big men in the Middlesex League, Mikol Blake-Green, as well as senior captain Kendall Hamilton, who can legitimately play three different positions.

Keeping Wakefield off the glass is easier said than done, but Jean-Gillies and Pierrot were able to do so successfully in the second half. The two were able to help keep Blake-Green relatively quiet following the first two quarters; he scored eight points in the second quarter, but only scored five after that.

“They’re a great team, [Wakefield] are going to be a force to be reckoned with," Kasprzak said. "Getting that lead was key, we obviously want to play better with that lead, but that has been us this year. We’ve had 20 point leads.

“But we love our guys, they play when it matters. They hit free throws when it mattered, they forced turnovers when it mattered, that’s the key.”

Brown’s efficiency: Bruce Brown was only able to tally one basket before taking a lengthy stay to bench for nearly all of the first half, picking up three fouls in the opening minutes. Brown came out aggressive defensively, but it was to his own dismay, as for strategic purposes, he couldn’t enter the game again until after halftime. The star sophomore, who recently came back from injury, made an immediate impact once he re-entered the game in the third quarter. He finished the game with 20 points and 10 rebounds, but his efficient 9-for-11 shooting from the field was what enabled Wakefield to make a late second half run.

“Hopefully next time we’ll have him out there for all 32 [minutes],” Wakefield coach Brad Simpson said. “It’s always good to have Bruce out there and playing. I thought collectively as a team we could have done better. We didn’t rebound defensively down the stretch in the second half. Melrose got second chances and usually converted on them. That, to me, was the game in the nutshell.”

Harris, the freshman who has seen Brown play on the AAU circuit, was very complimentary after the game.

“He has great athletic ability. He’ll be great going through his junior and senior year. Bruce will go far, that’s for sure,” Harris said.

Freshman makes a statement: Harris, younger cousin of last year’s Middlesex League MVP Jalen Adams, showed flashes of greatness against Wakefield, similar flashes that we saw last year from his older cousin.

Adams, a 2012 ESPN Boston All-State selection out of Melrose, transferred to Cushing Academy and reclassified to the Class of 2015 over the offseason. He has since seen his stock take off nationally, as he currently holds scholarship offers from Division 1 programs like UConn, Kansas State, and Providence.

Harris has learned a lot from his older cousin, but is also learning lessons daily from the older players on his team, who have taken him under their wing and shown him how to be a leader.

“The older guys on our team, Matt [Sherlock], Sam [Jean-Gilles], Frantzdy [Pierrot], toughen me up in practice to get me ready for the intensity of the games," Harris said. "They said coming into the Wakefield games or the playoff games there will be very big crowds, and lot of trash talking because the rivalry is huge. I use their advice a lot to help my game get better.

“They tell me to stay humble, because when you’re a freshman playing on varsity, people usually talk about that. They just tell me ‘shoot, even though you’re a freshman doesn’t mean you can’t shoot’ and ‘play your game’.”

Kasprzak is confident that Harris will be successful in a Melrose uniform. His advice for the youngster? Stay focused, and stay on track.

“Keep playing, don’t listen to people outside of here, and stay in the program," Kasprzak said. "We don’t brag we don’t talk, but we have a chance to win the league this year and next year, that’s never happened in Melrose history. He plays football and basketball, and we have tremendous programs here, so Melrose is a good place right now.”

Frantzdy Frenzy: Pierrot has only been playing organized basketball for four years. In that time, though, he has been able to develop himself into one of the most talented guards in the area. As mentioned, he is also a striker on the Melrose soccer team, and has shown he has the ability to play both sports at the college level -- an opinion also expressed by his coach.

“Great athlete, the thing about him is that he’s been playing for four years," Kasprzak said. "That fact that he’s this good, we’ve been talking to a lot of college [coaches], and he’s only a junior. He’s a tremendous soccer player too.”

Pierrot’s positive and hard-working attitude has been contagious to his teammates this year. It’s easy to see his fingerprints on the Red Raiders’ style of play—they are unselfish offensively, relentless on the offensive boards, and do all of this in a humble manner.

“He’s a student of the game, for a guy playing four years to do what he does, it’s tremendous. It shows his heart, his desire, and his intelligence. Very intelligent kid,” Kasprzak said.

They’re humble, but being underrated in the pre-season helped fuel Pierrot and his team to an impressive undefeated start. They seem to play defense with a chip on their shoulder.

“We were picked third in our league, so we’re just going to keep loving that up," Kasprzak said. "Playing the underdog role, that’s us.”

Roundtable: Midseason All-State, Superlatives

January, 25, 2013
1/25/13
3:46
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At the midpoint of the MIAA basketball season, we've asked our panel of experts to submit their picks for ESPN Boston All-State, as well as Mr. and Miss Basketball along with a number of superlatives:

***

Brendan Hall
ESPN Boston High Schools Editor


All-State Super Team
G – Tyler Nelson, Jr., Central Catholic
G – Darien Fernandez, Sr., Wareham
G – Jameilen Jones, Sr., BC High
G/F – Kamari Robinson, Sr., Springfield Central
F/C – Tyler Gibson, Sr., Rockland

Second Team
G – Jaylen Blakely, Sr., Brockton
G – Nick McKenna, Sr., Danvers
F – Nick Cambio, Jr., Central Catholic
F – Brendan Hill, Soph., Mansfield
F – Isaiah Nelsen, Sr., North Andover

Third Team
G – Riyadh Asad, Sr., West Springfield
G – Juwan Gooding, Soph., New Mission
F - Sam Dowden, Sr., Andover
C - Dakari Wornum, Sr., Dorchester
C – Chris Baldwin, Soph., Springfield Central

Girls Super Team
G - Infiniti Thomas-Waheed, Jr., Newton North
G - Donnaizha Fountain, Sr., Cambridge
F - Olivia Healy, Sr., Reading
F - Caitlyn Abela, Sr., Oliver Ames
C - Molly Reagan, Soph., Braintree

Mr. Basketball Finalists
Tyler Nelson, Jr., Central Catholic – WINNER
Darien Fernandez, Sr., Wareham
Jameilen Jones, Sr., BC High
Tyler Gibson, Sr., Rockland
Kamari Robinson, Sr., Springfield Central

Defensive Player of the Year – Drew Healy, Lowell
Coach of the Year – John Walsh, Danvers
Best Shooter – Tyler Nelson, Central Catholic
Biggest surprise (player) – Dakari Wornum, Dorchester
Biggest surprise (team) – St. Peter-Marian
Most underrated (player) – David Stewart, Madison Park
Most underrated (team) – Melrose

All-Defensive
G – Tyree Weston, Soph., New Bedford
G – Marcus Middleton, Sr., Stoughton
F – Isshiah Coleman, Sr., New Mission
F – Prince Unaegbu, Sr., Brighton
C – Drew Healy, Sr., Lowell

All-Shooters
Tyler Nelson, Jr., Central Catholic
Tommy Mobley, Soph., Newton North
Daivon Edwards, Sr., Brighton
Giulien Smith, Soph., Catholic Memorial
Ben Judson, Soph., St. John's Prep

Second half sleepers to watch

Dorchester
The Bears are a streaky team, but also a gritty one, as shown in their 58-57 loss to East Boston on Wednesday. Dakari Wornum has been one of the breakout stars of the first half of the season, but a number of athletic shooters -- including Jeduan Langston, Khalil Newson, Ceejae Agnew-Carter and Dean Lee -- can make this team explode at any moment. The expected return of 6-foot-7 junior D'Bryant Coraprez should bolser the frontcourt too.

Sharon
We knew junior point guard Brian Mukasa (18.8 points per game) was good, and we though he had potential to be this good, but we had questions about the Eagles' supporting cast. Jimmy Fritzon (14.2 points per game) has some answers.

Waltham
Hawks are my favorite to win the Dual County League's Large division, in a year of parity across the board. Keep an eye on Mike Gelineau, one of the area's more underrated shooters.

Case
Most expected Wareham to run away with the South Coast Conference (again), but guess who's sitting at 11-2 and 8-1 in the league? The Cardinals are allowing a league-best 46 points per game, and face Wareham on Wednesday for a first-place battle in the SCC. Keep an eye on 6-foot-8 senior center Matt Plante.

***

Chris Bradley
ESPN Boston correspondent


All-State Super Team
G - Darien Fernandez, Sr., Wareham
G - Tyler Nelson, Jr., Central Catholic
F - Jameilen Jones, Sr., BC High
F - Kamari Robinson, Sr., Springfield Central
C - Tyler Gibson, Sr., Rockland

Second Team
G - Jaylen Blakely, Sr., Brockton
G - Riyadh Asad, Sr., West Springfield
F - Nick Simpson, Sr., Brighton
F - Nick Cambio, Sr., Central Catholic
F - Brendan Hill, Soph., Mansfield

Third Team
G - Nick McKenna, Sr., Danvers
G - Rod Milton, Sr., Worcester South
F - Sam Dowden, Sr., Andover
F - Isaiah Nelsen, Sr., North Andover
C - Chris Baldwin, Soph., Springfield Central

Girls Super Team
G - Kayla Burton, Sr., Newton South
G/F - Donnaizha Fountain, Sr., Cambridge
G/F - Olivia Healy, Sr., Reading
F - Morgan Lumb, Sr., North Andover
C - Molly Reagan, Soph., Braintree

Mr. Basketball Finalists
Tyler Nelson, Central Catholic - WINNER
Darien Fernandez, Wareham
Jameilen Jones, BC High
Tyler Gibson, Rockland
Kamari Robinson, Springfield Central

Defensive Player of the Year - Isshiah Coleman, New Mission
Coach of the Year - Sean Connolly, St. John’s Prep
Best Shooter - Tyler Nelson, Central Catholic
Biggest Surprise (Team) – Wachusett
Biggest Surprise (Player) – KayJuan Bynum, Springfield Putnam
Most Underrated (Player) – Sam Dowden, Andover
Most Underrated (Team) – Dorchester

All-Defensive
G - Marcus Middleton, Sr., Stoughton
G/F - Nate Anderson, Sr., New Mission
F - Isshiah Coleman, Sr., New Mission
C - Alex Cooper, Sr., Wachusett
C - Drew Healy, Sr., Lowell

All-Shooters
Tyler Nelson, Jr., Central Catholic
Tim Dufficy, Sr., Whitinsville Christian
Tommy Mobley, Soph., Newton North
Zack Berman, Sr., Wachusett
Jaylen Blakely, Sr., Brockton

Second-half sleepers:

Andover
If Connor Merinder is back in time for the tournament, then consider Andover a favorite in Division 1 North. Central Catholic has clearly separated themselves from BC High, St. John’s Prep, Lowell, and Andover so far, but if Andover gets a healthy, productive Merinder back, they will make a run to the Division 1 North final. The Golden Warriors have gone 10-2 thus far without the 6-foot-5 forward, who is considered one of the MIAA’s best in a loaded 2015 class. Sam Dowden has done a great job of leading Andover so far, but getting a healthy Merinder makes them a legitimate contender to be at the DCU Center come March.

Worcester South
South became the first team to finally knock off previously undefeated Wachusett in Central Mass. The Cononels, who with the win moved to 8-2, did so without junior point guard Kasheen Cunningham, one of the area’s best outside shooters. South has the best scorer in Central Mass. in Rod Milton, a strong young big man in Khalil Bryan-Robinson, and a constant threat from outside in Cunningham—with Central Mass. Division 1 as up in the air as it has been in years, look for South to make a run to the Division 1 finals at WPI.

***

Ryan Kilian
Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Mass. Prep Stars (www.massprepstars.com)


Boys Super Team
G - Tyler Nelson, Jr., Central Catholic
G - Jameilen Jones, Sr., BC High
G - Malik James, Jr., Brighton
F - Brendan Hill, Soph., Mansfield
C - Chris Baldwin, Soph., Springfield Central

Girls Super Team
G - Morgan Lumb, Sr., North Andover
G/F - Alana Gilmer, Soph., Archbishop Williams
G/F - Donnaizha Fountain, Sr., Cambridge
F - Olivia Healy, Sr., Reading
C - Molly Reagan, Soph., Braintree

Mr. Basketball
Tyler Nelson, Jr., Central Catholic

Miss Basketball
Olivia Healy, Sr., Reading

Defensive Player of the Year
Boys: Kendall Hamilton, Sr., Wakefield
Girls: Infiniti Thomas-Waheed, Jr., Newton North

Coach of the Year
Boys: Mike Kasprzak, Melrose
Girls: John McNamara, Pentucket

Best Shooter
Boys: Tyler Nelson, Jr., Central Catholic
Girls: Morgan Lumb, Sr., North Andover

Biggest Surprise
Boys: Frantzdy Pierrot, Jr., Melrose
Girls: Molly Bent, Soph., Barnstable

Most Underrated Player
Boys: Doug Gemmell, Sr., Central Catholic
Girls: Tess Noguiera, Sr., Pentucket

Most Underrated Team
Boys: Melrose
Girls: Ipswich

Second Half Sleepers

Boys: Wakefield – They have been hanging in the wings with a few losses and have battled some injuries but with a healthy Bruce Brown and continued improved play of Kendall Hamilton, Mikol Blake-Green and others they should be back in the title hunt by the end of the regular season.

Girls: Westford Academy – Westford Academy has played a very difficult schedule, losing to Bishop Feehan, Wachusett and Billerica by a combined five points. They have wins over Lincoln-Sudbury and Arlington Catholic as resume boosters and can play with any team in the state. Juniors Sam Hyslip and Hannah Hackley lead the Grey Ghosts in most statistical categories.

***

Rob Sarmiento
Founder and Editor, Beantown Hoops (www.beantownhoops.com)


First Team
G - Jameilen Jones, Sr., BC High
G - Darien Fernandez, Sr., Wareham
F - Sam Dowden, Sr., Andover
F - Tyler Gibson, Sr., Rockland
F - Doug Gemmell, Sr., Central Catholic

Second Team
G - Jaleel Bell, Sr., Wayland
G - Jaylen Blakely, Sr., Brockton
G - Malik James, Jr., Brighton
G - Tyler Nelson, Jr., Central Catholic
F - Isaiah Nelsen, Sr., North Andover

Third Team
G - Giulien Smith, Soph., Catholic Memorial
G - Juwan Gooding, Soph., New Mission
G/F - Bruce Brown, Soph., Wakefield
F - Brendan Hill, Soph., Mansfield
F - Nate Anderson, Sr., New Mission

Girls Super Team
G/F - Donnaizha Fountain, Sr., Cambridge
G/F - Olivia Healy, Sr., Reading
G/F - Molly Bent, Soph., Barnstable
G/F - Morgan Lumb, Sr., North Andover
F - Sarah Hope, Sr., Medway

Mr. Basketball - Jameilen Jones, BC High
Miss Basketball - Olivia Healy, Reading
Coach of the Year - Mark Antonelli, Somerville
Best Shooter - Tyler Nelson, Central Catholic
Biggest Surprise (player) - Molly Bent, Barnstable (Girls)
Biggest Surprise (team) - North Reading
Most Underrated (player) - Jaleel Bell, Wayland
Most Underrated (team) - Melrose

All-Shooters
Tyler Nelson, Jr., Central Catholic
Sam Dowden, Sr., Andover
Sam Bohmiller, Sr., Franklin
Tommy Mobely, Soph., Newton North
Mike Gelineau, Sr., Waltham

Second Half Sleepers

Boys: Franklin - Well-coached and playing in a tough conference will make them battle ready come playoff time. Plus, they have a player who can make threes in bunches with Bohmiller.

Girls: Arlington Catholic - Seem to always make a run and their style of play is tough to prepare for. They are young in some key positions, but first half of the season experience will show during the playoffs.

Div. 2 Boys: Brighton 65, Melrose 59

March, 6, 2012
3/06/12
11:29
PM ET



MALDEN, Mass. — It wasn’t a situation that Tre Dowman has been put in, or one that is really expected of the 6-foot-7-inch center for the Brighton boys basketball team.

But there he was, on the free throw line with huge shots that could force Melrose to take a last-possession 3-pointer with less than 17 seconds on the clock for a chance to force overtime in the Div. 2 North semifinals.

With the entire Melrose section swaying the crowd against him, and a couple of those fans pushing the limits by going under the basket to try and dissuade the big man, Dowman drained the first and capped off the second as the No. 3 seed Bengals (19-3) held on to head to their second straight Div. 2 North finals in exciting fashion with a 65-59 victory Tuesday night at Malden High.

Dowman was confident that he could get the job done despite not scoring a point in the entire second half.

“I practice my free throws in practice, you know,” he said. “I feel like I’ve got ice water in my veins and I just keep practicing them. Practicing is easy for me. Every time I shoot free throws I feel like I can make 100 in a row.”

Dowman was quick to point out that he hasn’t conquered the feat yet, but for head coach Hugh Coleman, the two his senior center hit were more than enough.

“That’s not a spot that he’s normally in,” said Coleman with a big smile on his face. “He asks me to shoot 3’s and all this other stuff. I tease him and said no you are a big guy. But he’s got a nice little touch...Tre stepped up with a lot of confidence and knocked him down. I’m very proud of him.”

The Red Raiders (20-3) got a good look on a potential game-tying 3-pointer in the corner from Matt Sherlock, but his attempt was a little bit too strong and Malik James handled the rebound and subsequently knocked down a pair of freebies to further extend the lead for the Bengals.

Third Quarter Shooting: The Bengals were a woeful 0-for-7 from distance in the first half until Daivon Edwards got going in the third quarter.

Edwards canned three 3-pointers in the third period and Brighton started to race away from the Red Raiders 15-2 run to end the quarter for a 53-39 lead.

Edwards finished with 16 points and also hit a big 3-pointer in the fourth quarter to stretch the lead to nine with two minutes to go in the game before Jalen Adams fueled a comeback, most notably with a three to bring the deficit to one with under 30 seconds left, for Melrose.

Pressure Brings Red Raiders Back: James was clearly the most prolific ball-handler on the court between the two teams, but even he was having a hard time dealing with the Red Raiders defense in the fourth quarter. Melrose finally switched to a suffocating full-court man press in to fuel a 12-0 run to climb back into the game in the early parts of the fourth quarter.

“That is how we play it,” said Melrose head coach Mike Kasprzak. “We are usually in a way better situation in that point and then we put it on and it’s a different story. When you have to come down from three or four possessions down, it’s tough.”

James felt a heavy burden of bringing the ball up, especially with Nick Simpson on the sidelines living and dying with every made bucket, and the sophomore made up for several turnovers with three clutch free throws at the end of the game.

“There was a lot of pressure on my shoulders that I had to carry,” said James, who finished with a game-high 29 points. “I couldn’t let nobody down, it was all on my shoulders.”

Div. 2 Boys: Melrose 61, Reading 56

March, 3, 2012
3/03/12
10:43
PM ET
MELROSE, Mass. --- In a battle of Division 2 North Middlesex League powers the No. 2 seed Melrose Red Raiders (20-2) came away victorious as they defeated the No. 7 seed Reading Rockets, 61-56.

The Middlesex League Small champion Raiders (20-2) exploded out of the gate behind 16 first half points from sophomore guard Jalen Adams. After leading 18-15 after the first quarter Melrose controlled a pivotal second quarter to take a 33-23 lead at the half.
Melrose changed defenses on the fly and the different looks appeared to frustrate Reading in the second quarter.

“We did a good job switching up defenses,” said Melrose head coach Mike Kasprzak. “We did not want to stay in anything too long.”

Senior guard Kenny Reed was hot early for Reading (15-7), scoring seven first quarter points, but Adams drew the assignment in the second quarter and held the senior scoreless.

“We had to step up defensively and stop them and I thought we did a good job when we needed to,” said Adams.

Melrose did a good job controlling Reading’s perimeter game in the first half but Reading came out in the second half in a triangle and two defense and succeeded in containing Adams and junior guard Michael Sherlock (seven points).

“We had not seen a triangle-and-two this year, and that frustrated us,” said Kasprzak. “We practice against it but until you see it in a game you do not really know how they will react.”

Reading also found their stroke from behind the arc in the second half as they made six second half 3-pointers after not hitting one in the first half.

Reading would cut the lead to seven points at 45-38 after three quarters of play and closed the gap to three points midway through the fourth quarter. Melrose held strong down the stretch and hit five clutch free throws in the final minutes of play to help put the game away.

“We just played together as a team and had confidence in ourselves,” said Adams.

Adams was amazing all night as the sophomore lead guard played with the poise and filled up the stat sheet scoring a game high 22 points, pulling down six rebounds, dishing out four assists in addition to three blocks and three steals.

Frantzy Factor: 6-foot-2 sophomore forward Frantzy Pierrot stepped up big for Melrose in the fourth quarter as he scored 10 of his 16 points as Reading did a good job controlling Adams and Sherlock on the perimeter.

“We were trying to work the hi-low with him in the fourth quarter and we did a good job getting him the ball on the block,” said Kasprzak.

Adams also lauded his classmate, “He was just great!”

Free Throw Differential: Reading struggled from the line all night, especially in the second half. Reading shot 1-14 in the second half and 4-21 overall on the night.

Melrose also struggled at times from the line as they made 13-21 but hit the important fourth quarter freebies when the game was on the line.

Regular season battle: Melrose defeated Reading in their lone regular season meeting of the season. Sherlock scored 13 points to lead Melrose to a 60-59 victory back on Dec. 16, 2011.

In that game it was a key steal by Melrose senior Al Young at the end of the game that helped seal the early season victory.

Up Next: Next up for Melrose is No. 3 seed Brighton on Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. at Malden High School. Brighton was well represented in the Melrose gymnasium on Saturday night scouting their future opponent.

Brighton (18-3) defeated Middlesex League Large representative Woburn in the first round and recently defeated Lynn Classical on their way to the sectional semi-final match-up.

“We do not know too much about them but we will be ready,” concluded Adams.

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