Boston High School: Sabis

Top MIAA hoop performances: Feb. 28

March, 1, 2014
Mar 1
Each and every night throughout the MIAA basketball playoff season, we will highlight the state's top performances. Here are my top performances from Friday night's slate of MIAA basketball state tournament play.

As a reminder, readers are encouraged to submit their top performances via email ( or tweeting at ESPN Boston High Schools editor Brendan Hall (@BHallESPN). Deadline for all submissions each night is midnight.

1. Kellan Grady, Soph. G, Catholic Memorial
Before an overflowing crowd at hallowed Ron Perry Gymnasium, connected for 32 points -- including eight 3-pointers -- as the Knights downed archrival BC High for the third time this season in a D1 South quarterfinal.

2. Nelson Zayas, Sr. G, Sabis
Hit eight 3-pointers as part of a 33-point night, shooting 11 of 15 from the field total, in a 90-51 rout of Easthampton in D3 West.

3. Tyler Nelson, Sr. G, Central Catholic
Had 27 points in the Raiders' 53-50 win over Cambridge. Fourteen of those came in the fourth quarter, including the game-winning three-pointer with 38 seconds left.

4. Frank Oftring, Sr. F, Bishop Feehan
Scored 32 points and 10 rebounds in the
Shamrocks' win over Canton.

5. Eamonn Joyce, Jr. C, St. Clement
Shored up the Anchormen with 30 points and 12 rebounds in the 71-54 win over Lowell Catholic in D4 North.

6. Jake Wisniewski, Jr. C, Quaboag
Recorded 26 points and 14 rebounds in the Cougars' 81-37 rout of Lee.

7. Anthony Green, Sr. C, North Quincy
Capped with several highlight-reel dunks, 6-foot-9 post totaled 19 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks in the Red Raiders' 64-56 defeat of cross-town rival Quincy in D1 South quarterfinals.

8. Jazz Laracuente, Sr. G, New Mission
Totaled 26 points and nine assists in the Titans' 69-61 defeat of Whittier in D4 North.

9. Efthim Butka, Sr. G/F, North Quincy
Totaled 25 pts, including five 3-pointers, in the Red Raiders' win over Quincy.

10. Deandra Humphries, Sr. F, New Mission
Achieved a double-double with 23 points and 14 rebounds in the Titans' win over Whitter.

N. Andover cracks Top 5 in latest girls hoop poll

December, 31, 2012
We updated our statewide MIAA Top 25 girls basketball poll following a busy week of Holiday basketball tournaments. To see the complete poll, CLICK HERE.

A few notes and observations about this week's poll:

North Andover makes big leap: Preseason No. 19 North Andover cracks the Top 5 in this week's poll following a thrilling 45-44 last-second victory over Central Catholic in Sunday night's Greater Lawrence Christmas Tournament Final. The Scarlet Knights are led by senior Morgan Lumb, a University of Hartford signee who took Tournament MVP honors with 19 points in the final. Along with Reading's Olivia Healy and Cambridge's Donnaizha Fountain, Lumb is on the short list right now for Miss Basketball contenders.

Braintree, Reading and Archbishop Williams retain the top three spots, respectively, while St. Mary's of Lynn rounds out the Top 5 with the No. 4 position.

Notable Newcomers: After a wild bit of shuffling in the first few weeks, we have eight teams making season debuts in this week's poll: Newton North (12), Fontbonne (13), Bishop Feehan (15), Arlington Catholic (20), Barnstable (21), Algonquin (22), Peabody (23) and Sabis (24).

Here is how the poll breaks down this week by league affiliation:

Merrimack Valley - 4
Catholic Central - 3
Bay State - 2
Cape Ann - 2
Dual County - 2
Northeastern - 2
Bi-County Central - 1
Eastern Athletic - 1
Central Mass. Conference - 1
Hockomock - 1
Independent - 1
Middlesex - 1
Mid-Wach A - 1
Old Colony - 1
Suburban - 1
Tri-Valley - 1

Div. 3 Girls Final: Pentucket 55, Sabis 32

March, 17, 2012
WORCESTER, Mass. -- For the second straight game, freshman guard Kelsie McNamara came off the bench to knock down several 3-point shots that allowed her teammates to start working the ball inside and get to the free throw line.

McNamara scored 13 of her 14 points in the first half, while senior Sarah Higgins made 14-of-16 free throws and finished with 22 points as Pentucket captured its first state championship with a 55-32 victory over Sabis in the Div. 3 final at the DCU Center Saturday morning.

“Once we started getting people going, none of us were scared anymore and I think we just wanted to put everything we had into it to have no regrets after the game,” McNamara explained. “Sarah was really aggressive, Alex (Moore) got a couple of steals and I think that helped get us motivated to play better.”

After a back and forth opening frame, the Sachems (23-4) opened the second with a 10-2 run as Moore created a pair of buckets for herself off turnovers and then fed McNamara for one of her treys. Shyanne Wellington (10 points, 10 rebounds) slowed the surge with a three of her own, but McNamara came right back down the court and dropped her third trifecta of the half as Pentucket would extend its lead to 29-17 at the break.

“Kelsie hit some threes like she did at the Garden the other day for us,” said Pentucket coach John McNamara of his youngest daughter. “She’s got no pressure on her. The other kids take the pressure, the starters, and she comes in she hits some open looks. It got us going because we were a little stagnant on offense. And then our defense, we got some transition layups. Alex Moore hit a couple and then in the second half, Sarah Higgins got the rim. That’s our style - transition layups off of defense.”

Higgins took over in the third and her relentless aggression toward the hoop kept sending her to the free throw line. Her teammates got in on the act as well, and while the Sachems managed just one field goal in the final seconds of the quarter, they were able to maintain a double-digit lead (39-24).

“After the first quarter we definitely thought it was going to be a lot closer game,” Higgins said. “ We definitely wanted to pull away and hopefully lessen their confidence and boost ours. In the second quarter, Kelsie started making her threes and then I started getting to the line, it definitely gave us a lot more energy. That’s exactly what we needed.”

Higgins was perfect in the fourth, hitting all six of her free throws and adding a pair of layups. As a team, the Sachems (23-4) went 23-for 32 at the free throw line for the game. They also forced the Bulldogs into committing 24 turnovers and enjoyed a slight 33-30 on the glass. Center Tess Nogueira led with seven rebounds, while Moore, Nicole Viselli, Higgins and Leigh McNamara each grabbed six.

“She’s been knocking down foul shots all season for us,” said John McNamara in praise of Higgins. “If you come up empty on a hard take to the hoop, it’s a mental letdown for the team but when she’s knocking them down, we can set up our press too. We make foul shots, we get into our press. She played a great game and had a great senior year.”

ESPN Boston's Hall on MassLive podcast

March, 16, 2012
ESPN Boston High Schools Editor Brendan Hall was a guest this afternoon on's Championship Edition Podcast, breaking down the five basketball state championships tomorrow that involve schools from the West district.

In a nearly hour-long discussion with MassLive's esteemed Online Producer Ben Larsen, Hall offers some insight on the Eastern Mass. teams scheduled to face teams in the site's coverage area. Hall and Larsen also make their picks and go in-depth on the day's most anticipated game, the Division 1 boys title game between Eastern Mass. champion Brockton and ESPN Boston's No. 1 team in the land, Springfield Central.

You can find the podcast between Larsen and Hall by clicking here.

ESPN Boston's MIAA State Championship Picks

March, 16, 2012
The MIAA will crown six state champions in boys and girls basketball on Saturday at Worcester's DCU Center. Here are my thoughts on how those six games will play out:

Pentucket Players to Watch: Tess Nogueira, Jr. C; Leigh McNamara, Sr. F; Sarah Higgins, Sr. F; Nicole Viselli, Jr. G; Alex Moore, Jr. G; Kelsie McNamara, Fr. G
Sabis Players to Watch: Jazmine Collins, Jr. G; Janaiya Sanchez, Fr. G; Shyanne Washington, Jr. F; Madison Sinkfield, Fr. F; Casie Thurber, Soph. C.
Analysis: After coming close the last couple of years, Sabis finally got over the hump in their competitive Western Mass. bracket, to land here at the DCU Center. Plain and simple, these Lady Bulldogs are on a mission; and led by a core that includes the dynamic Collins, this is a well-oiled machine. Unfortunately (and this will be the operative word for many of my picks), they run into a Pentucket team that is quite simply swarming on defense. The Sachems' lineup =is among the best in Division 3, and they're on a roll. Pentucket is also motivated -- the last time they were here, in 2010, the Sachems were penned as a favorite, only to run into a gritty Lee team that, quite frankly, pressed like kamikazes. Hall's Pick: Pentucket over Sabis

Danvers Players to Watch: George Merry, Sr. C; Nick McKenna, Jr. G; Nick Bates, Jr. G; Eric Martin, Jr. G; Jon Amico, Sr. G.
St. Joe's Players to Watch: Taverick "Tank" Roberson, Jr. G; Mike McMahon, Sr. F; Joe Wiggins, Sr. F; Lavante Wiggins, Jr. G; Jon Bianchi, Jr. G
Analysis: Credit to St. Joe's for playing an ambitious non-league schedule, which included a rockfight of a bout with Holy Name back in December, and get ready to be introduced to the spunky power that is Roberson -- in my opinion, he's every bit of a tank as his nickname suggests. But after putting in arguably its best performance of the year Monday night in the Eastern Mass. Finals against Wareham, I'm convinced Danvers will come out on top in this one. the 6-foot-7 Merry can step out on the perimeter and facilitate offense for shooters like McKenna and Bates, as much as he can take it inside. Danvers coach John Walsh goes with some of the same offensive principles as his cousin Watertown head coach and two-time D3 state champ Steve Harrington. And if you thought Harrington's four-out, drive-and-kick, dribble drive-oriented motion offensive was frustrating enough, imagine what it's like with size.
Hall's Pick: Danvers over St. Joseph Central

Reading Players to Watch: Olivia Healy, Jr. G; Morgan O'Brien, Jr. G; Melissa DalPozzo, Sr. F; Katie Clements, Sr. G; Katherine Callahan, Sr. G.
Tyngsborough Players to Watch: Lauren Iadarola, Jr. F; Amanda Hogan, Jr. G; Helena Hamilton, Sr. F; Morgan Mitchell, Jr. C.
Analysis: The Mid-Wach C champion Tigers avoided a clean sweep of Central Mass. on Wednesday with a dominant 50-35 win over Palmer out in Springfield, getting quality production out of Iadarola, Hogan and Hamilton along the way. But Reading has had the tougher route here, putting away stalwarts Wachusett, Bishop Feehan, Arlington Catholic (twice) and Scituate to get to DCU Center floor. Look for Healy to get hers, but most crucial in the Rockets' overtime defeat of Scituate on Tuesday night was the play of O'Brien, who scored 33 points. Look for her to be the X-factor in this one.
Hall's Pick: Reading over Tyngsborough

Brighton Players to Watch: Malik James, Soph. G; Theo Oribhabor, Jr. G; Daivon Edwards, Jr. G; Prince Unaegbu, Jr. F; Jerard Mayes, Sr. F; Tre Dowman, Sr. C
Mahar Players to Watch: Travon Godette, Sr. F; Jesse LaCroix, Sr. G; Phil DiPhillipo, Sr. G; Josef Whitman, Jr. F; Nate Martin, Sr. C; Darwin Duncan, Sr. F.
Analysis: The relationship between Brighton coach Hugh Coleman and his mentor, legendary Charlestown coach Jack O'Brien, is well-documented. There are ripples of O'Brien's system and tactics sprinkled throughout the Bengals; and we can assure you, there are tons of coaches in Eastern Mass. rooting for Coleman, as good a guy as they come, on Saturday. That aside, the Bengals figure to be favorites in this one. Godette, DiPhillipo and LaCroix combined for impressive whipping of St. Bernard's on Tuesday, but they haven't seen anything like Brighton. Hardened by a brutal schedule, the Bengals lost their best player, sophomore Nick Simpson, before the playoffs, yet somehow haven't dropped off. There's plenty to like -- a frustrating extended 2-3 zone, a swarming press, and a gifted shooter in Edwards -- and I think this will be another big one for promising sophomore point guard Malik James.
Hall's Pick: Brighton over Mahar

Andover Players to Watch: Nicole Boudreau, Sr. G; Ally Fazio, Sr. G; Devon Caveney, Sr. G; Angelice Gonzalez, Jr. G; Jackie Alois, Jr. F; Rebecca Alois, Soph. F.
Holyoke Players to Watch: Monique Heard, Sr. G; Alison Littles, Sr. C; Kirsy Segarra, Jr. G; Nyomi Walker, Jr. F; Selena Yates, Sr. G.
Analysis: Our friend and Pioneer Valley legend Adam Harrington is getting giddy over this "dream matchup", Western Mass.'s premier point guard versus, quite frankly, the best female guard to come through Massachusetts in over a decade. We think the crowd on hand will be impressed with Heard, but the Golden Warriors -- despite usually being undersized -- have proven again and again to be unstoppable. It just seems whatever the score is going into the fourth quarter, the Warriors simply turn around and take ownership of it. When you have a team of athletes that get up and down as quickly as these girls, plus a superstar with NBA range, that's a vicious combination.
Hall's Pick: Andover over Holyoke

Brockton Players to Watch: Jaylen Blakely, Jr. G; Drew Fiske, Sr. F; Jahleel Moise, Sr. F; Jean Thomas, Sr. F; Will Baker, Sr. G; Sayvonn Houston, Sr. C; Jamal Reuben, Sr. F; Jarrod "Bubba" Shelby.
Springfield Central Players to Watch: Tyrell Springer, Sr. G; Lee Turner, Sr. G; Chris Prophet, Sr. G; Kamari Robinson, Jr. F; Jevaughn McMillian, Sr. C; Trevor Bacon, Sr. F; Cornelius Tyson, Sr. G.
Analysis: This might be the best matchup of the day. I picked Springfield Central to win it all before the tournament started; and since the Eagles are still in it, I'm sticking with the pick. The X-factor here might be the health of McMillian, a game-changing 6-foot-7 shot-swatter who injured his ankle in Tuesday night's thrilling semifinal win over St. John's (Shrewsbury). If he can't go or is less than 100 percent, that could make the matchup down low with Brockton's 6-foot-6 Sayvonn Houston -- by many accounts, one of the state's most efficient true five -- very interesting. Yet it seems the Golden Eagles thrive on adversity -- in the Western Mass. Final, with Springer and Prophet fouled out -- Robinson held his own to stave off a furious Commerce comeback bid. On the flip side, the Boxers have been on a mission since getting trounced by nearly 20 by Charlestown right before the start of tournament play. Blakely has been one of the best point guards of the tournament, and the Boxers have gotten crucial shooting out of Baker, Fiske and Reuben. Look out for Moise, an athletic shot swatter with quality defensive skills.
Hall's Pick: Springfield Central over Brockton

Video: Breaking down 'Super Saturday'

March, 16, 2012
ESPN Boston High Schools Editor Brendan Hall was joined yesterday by founder and editor Rob Sarmiento, as the two took a look at Saturday's six MIAA basketball state championship matchups:

Saturday's MIAA Hoop State Championships

March, 15, 2012
The MIAA will crown six state champions in boys and girls basketball on Saturday at the DCU in Worcester. Be sure to stick with us throughout the day for an all-day live chat, along with video highlights and breakdowns for the games.

Tomorrow, ESPN Boston High Schools Editor Brendan Hall will offer his predictions for each of the six games. Later today, founder Rob Sarmiento will join us in studio to analyze each matchup in a video package.

From the MIAA's website, here is Saturday's lineup:

Division 3 Girls
Pentucket (22-4) vs. Sabis (21-5), 10:45 a.m.

Division 3 Boys
Danvers (20-4) vs. St. Joseph Central (20-5), 12:30 p.m.

Division 2 Girls
Reading (24-0) vs. Tyngsborough (23-1), 2:15 p.m.

Division 2 Boys
Brighton (21-4) vs. Mahar (21-3), 4 p.m.

Division 1 Girls
Andover (26-0) vs. Holyoke (22-2), 5:45 p.m.

Division 1 Boys
Springfield Central (23-1) vs. Brockton (23-2), 7:30 p.m.

MIAA Sectional Hoop Finals: Picks Reset

March, 9, 2012
Last month, prior to the MIAA Basketball Tournament seedings, I listed a number of teams in each division to be considered true contenders for the state championship. One week later, on the first day of the MIAA tournament, I went a little deeper and made my predictions for each of the 14 boys basketball brackets.

Conveniently, this has been one of the wildest MIAA tournaments in recent years. Last night, No. 1 seeds Central Catholic and North Andover went down in their respective brackets; that adds to a number of other contenders getting knocked out, including King Philip, Cardinal Spellman, Falmouth, Catholic Memorial, BC High, Holy Name and Manchester-Essex.

The next 48 hours figure to be just as crazy. We'll be covering all 12 of Saturday's North and South sectional finals, as well as Sunday's Division 1 Central final between St. John's (Shrewsbury) and St. Peter-Marian, so be sure to stick with us throughout the weekend.

For now, I've gone back and hit the reset button on my pre-tournament picks. Here's how I think Saturday and Sunday's slate will turn out.

(NOTE: Division 4 Finals are being played tonight)


Division 1 North
Charlestown (19-4) vs. Lexington (17-7)
Nobody could have predicted this for a final -- and if you did, I have a time warp I'd like to sell you. After some early struggles, the Minutemen have picked up the slack under second-year coach Reggie Hobbs, beating Boston Latin, Westford and Acton-Boxborough in succession to get here. But with Central Catholic and A-B out of the way, the Townies have a clearer path. Expect another big game from Tyrese Hoxter and Co. Pick: Charlestown

Division 2 North
Wakefield (17-6) vs. Brighton (19-4)
Reports of Brighton's demise have been greatly exaggerated. Once thought to be stumbling following the loss of star forward Nick Simpson and subsequent early exit from City Championships, the Bengals have roared to life behind Daivon Edwards and Malik James. Ditto for Wakefield, which came into this tournament a mystery, but has suddenly put the state on notice after knocking off No. 1 overall seed North Andover last night. Pick: Brighton

Division 3 North
Danvers (18-4) vs. Saugus (14-9)
I said this was Danvers' bracket to lose at the beginning of this tournament, and the Falcons have done nothing to prove me otherwise. Saugus beat red-hot Arlington Catholic by 16 last night to advance to the finals, but I still think George Merry will provide too much of a matchup problem. Pick: Danvers

Division 1 South
Brockton (21-2) vs. Madison Park (19-2)
True, the MP Machine is the No. 2 seed in this bracket, but how many predicted the Cardinals would make it this far? Brockton has had some close calls, such as Wednesday's semifinal win over Newton North. But as they showed in their quarterfinal against Catholic Memorial, they can turn it on in a snap. The key here might come down to depth, where I think the Boxers hold an advantage. Excited to see the big-man matchup between Brockton's Sayvonn Houston and MP's Dakim Murray -- two true post players who are among the region's most physical. Pick: Brockton

Division 2 South
Stoughton (19-4) vs. Hopkinton (17-6)
Beware Hopkinton's dribble-drive motion. Just ask King Philip, which succumbed to the Hillers in last year's D2 South Final and again in this year's quarterfinals. We all know about Stoughton's athletic prowess, spearheaded by one of the state's best backcourts in juniors Aaron Calixte and Marcus Middleton. But do not sleep on the Hillers' point guard Barrett Hanlon, a two-time Tri-Valley League MVP who has been terrific this postseason. Pick: Stoughton

Division 3 South
Wareham (23-0) vs. Martha's Vineyard (21-2)
Between Wareham's dogged waterbug point guard Darien Fernandez and Vineyard's electric junior Jack Roberts, this could be one of the day's fastest games. The Vikings are constantly uptempo -- and have one of the state's best lead guards in Fernandez, to do the damage -- while the Vineyarders can run off points in bunches pretty quickly. The key might come down to foul trouble -- Tyler Gomes was the star for Wareham in the semifinals, but they can't afford to have Fernandez on the bench for long stretches again. Pick: Wareham

Division 1 Central
St. John's of Shrewsbury (18-5) vs. St. Peter-Marian (19-5)
If St. John's wins again, for an unprecedented fifth straight Central Mass. title, they may have to rename this tournament the Bob Foley Memorial Bracket. Again and again, Foley's troops have proven that no matter the personnel, bodies graduated, or overall record, they can win out as long as they get in. SPM's Matt Mobley will likely command a sophisticated defensive look, which is why the Guardians' bigs like Steve Flynn and Brian Foley are going to need to be in peak form. Pick: St. John's

Division 2 Central
Quabbin (20-3) vs. St. Bernard's (14-10)
Once one of the state's few remaining unbeatens, Quabbin lost three games but won the Clark Tournament to give themselves some momentum headed into this bracket. It's paid off, as the Panthers have beaten opponents by an average of 24 points in the tournament. Either way, this should be a terrific coaching matchup, between Quabbin's Dennis Dextradeur and St. Bernard's Mark Pierce. Pick: Quabbin

Division 3 Central
Whitinsville Christian (16-5) vs. Littleton (18-6)
Another bracket where I initially pegged a top seed as an overwhelming favorite, and nothing has convinced me to think otherwise. Sorry Littleton, but WC has been playing some of its best basketball, beating each of its opponents by 17 points or more in this tournament. Pick: Whitinsville Christian

Division 1 West
Springfield Central (21-1) vs. Springfield Commerce (16-6)
In these two teams' first matchup, Central survived a tough one, 52-43. When they met three weeks ago, Tyrell Springer nailed four 3-pointers in the second quarter and Central blew out the Red Raiders by nearly 40. I don't think that will happen again, but like Brockton, Central can turn it up in a hurry -- just ask West Springfield, which led Central by three after the first quarter of Wednesday's semifinal, only to lose by 27. Pick: Springfield Central

Division 2 West
South Hadley (13-9) vs. Mahar (19-3)
South Hadley's nine losses are misleading. They earned the No. 2 overall seed in this field, and beat their first two opponents by an average of 17 points. Can Mahar, which survived an overtime thriller to get here, buck the Tigers' trend? Pick: South Hadley

Division 3 West
St. Joseph Central (18-5) vs. Lee (18-5)
This is a St. Joe's team that nearly beat Holy Name back in December, and while I admit I haven't seen too much of this field, I like their chances. An average margin of victory of 26 points so far in this tournament backs this assertion up. Pick: St. Joseph Central


Division 1 North
Andover (24-0) vs. Masconomet (20-3)
Again, as good as Masco has been in this tournament -- getting Super Team production out of William & Mary signee Brooke Stewart, and great complimentary play from junior Claudia Marsh -- the freight train that is Andover and All-Everything guard Nicole Boudreau will continue to roll its way through. But unlike some of the Golden Warriors' earlier tournament results, I expect the Chieftains to throw haymakers and take the Warriors to the ropes. Pick: Andover

Division 2 North
Reading (22-0) vs. Arlington Catholic (21-3)
Another juggernaut matchup in the fold here. Both teams have gone through some dominant stretches, and AC is the defending state champion here. But the Rockets are a year wiser after last season's disappointing end, and behind Olivia Healy and Morgan O'Brien this team rattles off points in bunches. Pick: Reading

Division 3 North
Pentucket (20-4) vs. Ipswich (18-4)
Win or lose, this is a major step forward for the Ipswich program under head coach Mandy Zegarowski. Unfortunately, their reward is running into the Pentucket machine. Sachems are rolling on defense, allowing just 28 points per game in the playoffs with an average margin of victory of 27 points. So tell me...what's new? Pick: Pentucket

Division 1 South
Franklin (21-2) vs. Braintree (21-2)
Led by senior Paige Marshall, Braintree is playing arguably the state's most inspired defense. Consider the Wamps allowed just eight points -- that's eight points total -- in their first-round win, and are allowing just 22.6 points per game and the playoffs. Will that be enough for Catie Phelan to overcome, or are the defensive stats misleading? Pick: Braintree

Division 2 South
Scituate (23-0) vs. Natick (18-5)
Will Lady Luck run out on Natick, or are the Red and Blue better than we projected? Either way, this is one tough Scituate squad they're about to encounter. The Lady Sailors haven't allowed an opponent to get out of the 30's in nearly a month, and routinely pick up 40 or more rebounds a game. Pick: Scituate

Division 3 South
Archbishop Williams (20-5) vs. Fairhaven (21-2)
Kara Charette will get her points for Fairhaven, but we have to wonder if it it will be enough to overcome Archies' size, which is among the state's biggest. The Bishops are green, but talented, and are playing some terrific defense right now. Pick: Archbishop Williams

Division 1 Central
Holy Name (22-0) vs. Wachusett (17-5)
After some close calls, Holy Name's magical season lives on. The Mountaineers might be Holy Name's toughest opponent to date, and are one of the region's longest. Look for the Naps to key on Bri Schnare and Shannon Holt. Pick: Wachusett

Division 2 Central
Tyngsborough (21-1) vs. Nashoba (20-2)
The top two seeds of this bracket go head-to-head, and it's hard to tell which team has been more dominant so far. The Tigers, who have allowed just 30 points a game in this bracket; or Nashoba, which has had an easier path but has won each game by double-digits. Probably can't go wrong with this one. Pick: Tyngsborough

Division 3 Central
Sutton (19-4) vs. Hopedale (18-4)
Another matchup that is even on paper. But when you knock off Quaboag, that's big points in my book. Pick: Sutton

Division 1 West
Holyoke (20-2) vs. Longmeadow (15-7)
5-foot-2 point guard Monique Heard is the most exciting player nobody in Eastern Mass. is talking about, and a potential Super Team candidate for Holyoke. I like a good story as much as the next scribe. Let's keep this one rolling. Pick: Holyoke

Division 2 West
Mahar (21-1) vs. Palmer (18-4)
Another matchup pitting the bracket's top two seeds against one another. Mahar has survived some gutsy close calls to get here, but beware of Palmer's stingy defense, which is allowing 32 points per game. Pick: Mahar

Division 3 West
Lenox (18-4) vs. Sabis (19-5)
Sabis no doubt has revenge on its mind -- and some unfinished business -- after coming up short in this bracket last year following a dominant regular season. But any time you knock off Lee -- the region's top seed, and the golden standard for Western Mass. small-school basketball since the 1980's -- that's big points in my book. Pick: Lenox

2012 Hoophall Classic schedule set

October, 21, 2011
The Basketball Hall of Fame has unveiled the schedule for the 11th Annual Hoophall Classic, annually one of the nation's top high school invitationals, at Springfield College's Blake Arena, and once again it's a loaded list.

Traditionally held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day Weekend, the invitational has now expanded to five days, with a slate of local Western Mass. teams facing off on Thursday to kick things off.

St. Mark's, Oak Hill (Va.), Findlay Prep (Nev.), Bishop Gorman (Nev.), St. Anthony (N.J.), St. Patrick (N.J.) and DeMatha Catholic (Md.) all return for the second straight year, and all will be involved in key matchups. Some of the more enticing local matchups include Northwest Catholic (Conn.) and its prized 6-foot-8 junior Kuran Iverson takes on national power DeMatha, led by ESPNU 100 stars Jerami Grant (Syracuse) and James Robinson (Pitt).

A trio of New England prep school matchups also highlight the weekend, with Tilton (N.H.) and Brewster Academy (N.H.) squaring off early Sunday evening, followed by Notre Dame Prep and New Hampton (N.H.). Monday afternoon, Wilbraham & Monson will face St. Thomas More (Conn.).

Here is the complete schedule for the weekend:

4 p.m. - Springfield Commerce vs. Springfield Sci-Tech
5:30 p.m. - Springfield Cathedral vs. Central Catholic
7 p.m. - Springfield Central vs. Springfield Putnam
8:30 p.m. - Mahar vs. Hampshire

3 p.m. Sabis vs. Springfield Central (Girls)
4:30 p.m. - Sabis vs. New Leadership
6 p.m. - West Springfield vs. Cicero North (N.Y.) (Girls)
7:30 p.m. - East Longmeadow vs. Christ the King (N.Y.) (Girls)
9 p.m. - East Longmeadow vs. Longmeadow

Noon - Springfield Central vs. Windsor (Conn.)
2 p.m. - St. Patrick (N.J.) vs. LaVerne Lutheran (Calif.)
4 p.m. - Gonzaga College (D.C.) vs. Riverside Academy (La.)
6 p.m. - Oak Hill (Va.) vs. Prestonwood Christian (Texas)
8 p.m. - Northwest Catholic (Conn.) vs. DeMatha Catholic (Md.)

10 a.m. - Our Savior New American (N.Y.) vs. Mount St. Joseph (Md.)
Noon - St. Thomas More (Conn.) vs. Wilbraham & Monson
2 p.m. - St. Mark's vs. Friends Central (Penn.)
4 p.m. - Tilton (N.H.) vs. Brewster Academy (N.H.)
6 p.m. - Notre Dame Prep vs. New Hampton (N.H.)
8:30 p.m. - Skills Challenge

11 a.m. - St. Anthony (N.J.) vs. Miller Grove (Ga.)
1 p.m. - DeMatha Catholic (Md.) vs. Bishop Gorman (Nev.)
3 p.m. - Simeon (Ill.) vs. Findlay Prep (Nev.)
5 p.m. - Christ The King (N.Y.) vs. Mater Dei (Calif.)
7 p.m. - Granby vs. St. Joseph's (Pittsfield)

Sunday's Bay State Games results

July, 17, 2011
Courtesy of Bay State Games media relations director Peter Cohenno:

Emmanuel College – Boston, MA
Boys Scholastic 11/12 Grade
Gold Medal Game
Coastal 106, West 104

Coastal came back from a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter led by Nelson Baptiste (Falmouth, Falmouth HS) who had 42 points on the way to the gold medal with a 106-104 win over West. Coastal also got 20 and 19 points from Tyler DeMelo (East Freetown, Apponequet) and Chris Green (Taunton, Taunton HS), respectively. West had three players with 20 points or more including Jose Allen (Amherst, Amherst HS) with 23, Phil DePhilips (Orange, Mahar HS) with 22, and Jesse LeCroix (Orange, Mahar HS) with 20.

Boys Scholastic 9/10 Grade
Gold Medal Game
Coastal 58, Southeast 52

Coastal hung on to edge Southeast 58-52 and capture the gold medal. Tony Pires (Carver, Carver HS) led the winners with 17 points and Tucker Bouchard (Kingston, Silver Lake) chipped in with 11. Southeast’s Rory Donovan (Canton, Cardinal Spellman HS) netted 14.

Girls Scholastic
Gold Medal Game
West 60, Northeast
Alexis Chappell (Springfield, Sabis HS) and Jill Ritrosky (Pittsfield, Pittsfield HS) both scored 19 points to help West capture the gold medal with a 60-50 victory over Northeast. Carlene Kluge (Reading, Reading HS) 20 points was not enough to lift Northeast.

Waltham High School – Waltham, MA
Southeast 3, Central 0

Southeast’s Maggie Travers (Scituate, Scituate HS) had a goal and assist to lead her squad over Central, 3-0. Emily McColgan (Walpole, Southfield HS) and Mackenzie Hudson (Stoughton, Stoughton HS) collected the other markers. In net, Carolyn Cook (Medfield, Medfield HS) and Katie Kelley (Walpole, Walpole HS) combined for their third shutout of the tournament.

Coastal 1, West 1
West claimed the bronze medal with a 1-1 tie against Coastal. Emily Medeiros (Wilbraham, Minnechaug Reg. HS) netted the score for West, while Katherine Sypek (Hingham, Notre Dame) tallied the equalizer for Coastal.

Gold Medal Game
Metro 2, Southeast/Coastal 1
Metro took home the gold medal with a hard-fought 2-1 victory against Southeast/Coastal. Alexa Baumgartner (Newton, BB&N) and Nicole Woods (Beverly, Beverly HS) netted the scores for the winners. Caroline Feeley (Walpole, Walpole HS) scored Southeast/Coastal’s lone goal.

Boys Scholastic
Wentworth Institute of Technology – Boston, MA
Bronze Medal Game
Coastal 5, Metro/Southeast 0

The Coastal defense and goalie Ryan King (Lakeville, Apponequet Reg. HS) posted a rare shutout to help their squad to the bronze medal with a 5-0 win over Metro/Southeast. Coastal’s offense was led Brett McAvay, who netted a pair of goals.

Gold Medal Game
Northeast 9, West 4

The Northeast squad took home the gold medal with decisive 9-4 win over West. Brian Walsh (Lowell, Lowell HS) continued his hot streak, by leading Northeast with four goals. In addition, Brendan Gilgun (Woburn, Woburn Memorial HS) scored two goals and had an assist to help lift Northeast over West.

Girls Scholastic
Waltham High School – Waltham, MA
Bronze Medal Game
West 15, Northeast/Central 8

West’s Nicole Beliveau (Westfield, Westfield HS), Alexa Allen (East Longmeadow, East Longmeadow HS) and Alicia Busco (Agawam, Agawam HS) had three goals apiece to pace their squad to the bronze medal with a 15-8 win over Northeast/Central. Isabella Gitto (Leominster, Leominster HS) and Micaela Sanborn (Chelmsford, Chelmsford HS) each had two goals in the losing effort.

Gold Medal Game
Southeast/Coastal 15, Metro 9

Southeast/Coastal captured the gold medal with a 15-9 victory over Metro. Kristen Hickey (Dedham, Ursuline Academy) and Madison Hughes (Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard Reg. HS) had three goals each for the champions. Metro freshman Shannon Fitzgerald (Newton, Newton North) completed a strong debut in Bay State Games with four tallies, and teammate Michelle Kudlate (Waltham, Waltham HS) added a pair.

Final Standings
1. Southeast/Coastal
2. Metro
3. West
4. Northeast/Central

Saturday's Bay State Games results

July, 17, 2011
Courtesy of Bay State Games media relations director Peter Cohenno:


Boys Scholastic 11/12 Grade
Emmanuel College – Boston, MA

Southeast 103, Metro 77
Sayvonn Houston (Brockton, Brockton HS) poured in 37 points to propel Southeast to a 103-77 win over Metro. Jaleel Moise (Brockton, Brockton HS) and Jon Perez (Weymouth, Weymouth HS) added 20 and 19 points respectively for the winners. Metro had three players in double figures led by Kenny Ramos’s (Mattapan, East Boston HS) 14 points. Adam Zakaria (Arlington, Arlington HS) and Paul Brooles (Arlington, Arlington HS) chipped in with 12 apiece.

Coastal vs Northeast
Coastal declared winner due to a Northeast forfeit.

West 78, Central 54
West ran away with a 78-54 victory over Central. For the winners, Jesse LeCroix (Orange, Mahar HS) led all scorers with 26. Casy White (Easthampton, Easthampton HS) and Jose Allen (Amherst, Amherst HS) netted 14 apiece. Central’s Matt Kneece (Shrewsbury, Shrewsbury HS) paced his squad with 16 points.

Coastal 104, Southeast 97
Chris Green (Taunton, Taunton HS) tallied 30 points to help Coastal edge Southeast, 104-97, in a fast-paced, offensive battle. Nelson Baptiste (Falmouth, Falmouth HS) contributed to the assault with 22, and Andrew Kenyon (Swansea, Case HS) put up 20. Southeast big man Sayvonn Houston (Brockton, Brockton HS) led all scorers with 33. His teammates, Damien Lugay (Weymouth, Weymouth HS) and Jon Perez (Weymouth, Weymouth HS), added 18 and 14 points, respectively.

Northeast vs Central
Central declared winner due to a Northeast forfeit.

West 109, Metro 63
West had two players score more than 20 points as they destroyed Metro 109-63. Metro kept the game tied at 18 through the first quarter. However, West came alive in the second, scoring 36 points, and went into halftime leading 54-33. In the second half, West forward Jose Allen (Amherst, Amherst HS) netted 21 of his 23 points and was the game’s leading scorer. West guard Jesse LeCroix (Orange, Mahar HS) added 22 points of his own. Metro’s Mo Magras (Medford, Medford HS) tallied 12 points and led the team in scoring.

Boys Scholastic 9/10 Grade
Wentworth Institute of Technology – Boston, MA

Metro 65, Southeast 62
Metro defeated Southeast 65-62 in a close game that went down to the final minutes. Metro scored early and had an 18-12 lead at the end of the first quarter. However, Southeast pulled within two at the half. Going into the fourth quarter they were tied at 48. Southeast guards Jonathan Joseph (Brockton, Brockton HS) and Andrew Reardon (North Easton, Oliver Ames HS) combined for seven of the team’s final 13 points. Guard Lutjy Mondesir (Brockton, Brockton HS) led the team with 10 points, while Metro’s Tyler Sullivan (Arlington, Arlington HS) led all scorers with 16 points.

West 65, Northeast 40
West played a balanced game and limited its mistakes in a 65-40 win over Northeast. West forward Justin Crosby (Westfield, Westfield HS) scored a team-high 12 points while guard Kamil Stasiowski (Palmer, Palmer HS) added another nine points in the second half. Northeast shooting guard Jordan Mendez (Salem, North Shore Tech) led all scorers with 18 points, 15 of which he scored in the second half.

Coastal 67, Central 46
Coastal’s defense limited Central to five first quarter points on their way to a 67-46 win. Coastal’s defense, anchored by center Owen Murphy (Plymouth, Plymouth North), played strong the entire game and only allowed 12 first half points. Coastal’ offense was led by guard Andrew McGill (West Falmouth, Falmouth), Murphy and forward Tucker Bouchard (Kingston, Silver Lake) each scored 12 points. In the second half, Central finally started to find the net, scoring 17 points in each of the final two quarters.

Southeast 76, West 74
Southeast is going for the gold after defeating West, 76-74. Southeast was up 12-7 at the end of the first quarter, though West pulled within three, 27-24, at the half. The game remained tight into the fourth quarter when things really got interesting. With West down and seconds remaining on the clock, forward Justin Crosby (Westfield, Westfield HS) drilled a three to send the game into overtime. Despite allowing the game to be tied, Southeast played aggressively in overtime and West found themselves down again with just five seconds remaining. However, there wouldn’t be any miracles this time. West bobbled a pass and the ball went out of bounds. Southeast guard David Harrison (Weymouth, Weymouth HS) led all scorers with 28 points, while Crosby scored a team-high 22 points for West.

Central 75, Northeast 26
Guard Isaiah Tatum (Worcester, Holy Name) led all scorers with 16 points as Central beat Northeast, 75-26. Central was ahead 37-17 at the half and never looked back. Central guard Jesse Meresca (Sterling, Wachusett) added another 12 points, while Northeast point guard John King (Swampscott, Swampscott HS) led the team in scoring with 10 points.

Coastal 76, Metro 72
Coastal held off a late charge by Metro to secure a 76-72 win. Coastal’s Tucker Bouchard (Kingston, Silver Lake) and Metro’s Matt Woods shared the honor of game’s high scorer with 22 points apiece. Jesse Bunting (Plymouth, Plymouth North) chipped in with 15 for the winners, while Kevin Foley netted 16 in the losing effort.

Girls Scholastic
Reggie Lewis Center – Boston, MA

Northeast 66, Metro 41
Northeast opened up a huge halftime lead and never looked back on the way to a 66-41 decision. Northeast got scoring from its entire roster with Carlene Kluge (Reading, Reading HS) tallying the most points with 13. Metro’s Gena Restiano (Revere, Revere HS) notched a game-high 15 points.

West 55, Southeast 42
Forward Alexis Chappell (Springfield, Sabis HS) was the only West player in double figures, netting 14, but her team was still able to come out on top, 55-42. Kayla Corshia (Medway, Medway HS) and Ashley Snyder (Foxboro, Foxboro HS) each scored 12 for Southeast.

Central 81, Coastal 70
In a high-scoring affair, Central hung on for an 81-70 victory over Coastal. The bulk of the winner’s points came from Sammie Battaini (Leominster, St. Bernard's Central Catholic) and Raegan Muhlerin (Baldwinville, Narragansett Reg HS), who dropped 25 and 23, respectively. Coastal’s Jen Rock (Byfield, Triton) nailed five 3-pointers to finish with 21 points, and Angelique Martinez (Taunton, Taunton HS) was in double digits with 13.

Waltham High School – Waltham, MA

Metro/Northeast 2, Central 1
Metro/Northeast defeated Central, 2-1, on Saturday morning. Junior Erika Kelly (Watertown, Watertown HS) scored both of Metro/Northeast’s goals to propel her squad to victory. The lone goal for Central was scored by freshman Justine Sheehan (Shrewsbury, Shrewsbury HS) with an assist from junior Haylie Dolan (West Brookfield, Quaboag Reg. HS).

Southeast 2, West 0
Southeast earned a 2-0, shutout victory against West on Saturday morning. Junior Katy Cronin (Franklin, Franklin HS) broke the game open for Southeast with an unassisted goal. Southeast extended its lead, when sophomore Brenna Spolidoro (Franklin, Franklin HS) scored with an assist from junior Mackenzie Hudson (Stoughton, Stoughton HS). Sophomore Carolyn Cook (Medfield, Medfield HS) and junior Katie Kelley (Walpole, Walpole HS) combined for the shutout in goal for Southeast.

Metro/Northeast 5, Coastal 2
After falling behind by a pair of goals, Metro/Northeast scored five unanswered including two from Erika Kelly (Watertown, Watertown HS) to upend Coastal, 5-2. Brittany Oliver (Chelmsford, Chelmsford HS), Nicole Woods (Beverly, Beverly HS) and Alexa Baumgartner (Newton, BB&N) each potted a goal. Maggie Johnson (Tisbury, Martha's Vineyard Reg HS) netted both scores for Coastal.

West 2, Central 0
Emiko Barker (Hatfield, Smith Academy) and Emily Medeiros (Wilbraham, Minnechaug Reg. HS) each scored a goal to pace West in its 2-0 win over Central. In net, Sarah Cote (Athol, Athol HS) and Jill Newton (Feeding Hills, Agawam HS) combined for the shutout.


Boys Scholastic
Wentworth Institute of Technology – Boston, MA

Northeast 10, West 7
Northeast survived a barrage from West to take a 10-7 victory. The undefeated Northeast squad took an early 4-0 lead before West came storming back in the second and third quarters with seven goals to take a 7-5 advantage. Northeast, unaccustomed to trailing, awoke from its slump and scored five unanswered in the fourth quarter to salvage the win and remain undefeated. Brian Walsh (Lowell, Lowell HS) was the top scorer for the winners with three, and Brendan Gilgun (Woburn, Woburn Memorial HS) and Cole Connolly (Woburn, Woburn Memorial HS) added two goals apiece. Brady Aitken (Pittsfield, Pittsfield HS) potted three for West in the losing effort.

Coastal 16, Central 6
Coastal dominated the entire contest on the way to a 16-6 win. James McCleod paced the offense with five goals and Ethan McCullough (Brewster, Nauset Reg. HS) contributed four markers for Coastal.

Coastal 14, Metro/Southeast 7
Coastal took a 10-2 advantage into halftime and never looked back on the way to a 14-7 win. Brett McAvay had an outstanding game for Coastal with seven goals scored. James McCleod added four tallies. Metro/Southeast got four goals and an assist from Ryan McCarthy (Medford, Medford HS). The two teams will play again on Sunday in the bronze medal game.

West 16, Central 2
West earned a berth in the gold medal game Sunday against Northeast with an impressive display against Central that resulted in a 16-2 victory. Junior goalie Tyler Walsh (Northampton, Northampton HS) was the cornerstone in the strong defensive showing. Brady Aitken (Pittsfield, Pittsfield HS) led the offensive charge with five goals.

Girls Scholastic
Waltham High School – Waltham, MA

Metro 18, Northeast/Central 11
Metro routed Northeast/Central, 18-11, in a high-scoring, offensive showcase on Saturday morning. Junior Michelle Kudlate (Waltham, Waltham HS) and freshman Shannon Fitzgerald (Newton, Newton North) led the Metro squad to victory with seven and six goals, respectively. Junior Katie McKenna (Danvers, Danvers HS) was the top scorer for Northeast/Central with four goals.

Southeast/Coastal 11, West 6
Southeast/Coastal played tight defense and got balanced scoring to defeat West, 11-6. The winners had four players with two goals including Hope Kelley (E. Walpole, Walpole HS), Natalie Devine (East Walpole, Fontbonne Academy), Madison Hughes (Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard Reg. HS) and Alexandrea Bergamo (Plymouth, Plymouth North HS). Alexa Allen (East Longmeadow, East Longmeadow HS) had a pair of tallies for West.

Southeast/Coastal 17, Northeast/Central 4
Southeast/Coastal outgunned a gutty Northeast/Central squad, 17-4. Natalie Devine (East Walpole, Fontbonne Academy) was the game’s high scorer with five goals. Jackie Connors (Ashland, Ashland HS) added three scores, while Megan Kiley (Braintree, Archbishop Williams HS) and Kristen Hickey (Dedham, Ursuline Academy) each chipped in with a pair of tallies. Northeast/Central’s Isabella Gitto (Leominster, Leominster HS) netted three of her teams goals.

Metro 11, West 10
Metro edged out West, 11-10, in a tightly contested match-up in the final game of the day. Shannon Fitzgerald (Newton, Newton North) continued her stellar performance in the tournament with three goals for Metro, and Bridget Wack (Waltham, Waltham HS) and Jordan Sullivan (Malden, Mystic Valley) had a pair of tallies each. West’s Ashley Owen (Westfield, Westfield HS) netted two goals in the losing effort.

Basketball, Lacrosse, Field Hockey, BB&N, Chelmsford, Swampscott, East Longmeadow, Plymouth North, Taunton, Newton North, Holy Name, Oliver Ames, Reading, Falmouth, Nelson Baptiste, Leominster, Medfield, Walpole, Danvers, Archbishop Williams, Minnechaug, Arlington, Mahar, Silver Lake, Revere, Martha's Vineyard, Franklin, Weymouth, Jonathan Joseph, Stoughton, Medway, Shrewsbury, Wachusett, Sabis, Northampton, Beverly, Watertown, Smith Academy, Medford, Amherst, East Boston, Lowell, Quaboag, Erika Kelly, Narragansett, Ursuline Academy, Foxborough, St. Bernard's, Ashland, Woburn, Jon Perez, Alexis Chappell, Waltham, Carlene Kluge, Sayvonn Houston, Westfield, Kayla Corshia, Gena Restiano, Kenny Ramos, Cole Connolly, Agawam, Case, Athol, Palmer, Bay State Games, Nauset, Chris Green, Jose Allen, Jesse Bunting, Jordan Mendez, North Shore Tech, Carolyn Cook, Katie Kelley, Ryan McCarthy, Brian Walsh, Andrew Kenyon, Justin Crosby, Ashley Snyder, Sammie Battaini, Pittsfield, Angelique Martinez, Triton Regional, Katy Cronin, Isabella Gitto, Natalie Devine, Fontbonne, Shannon Fitzgerald, Jaleel Moise, Adam Zakaria, Paul Broles, Jesse LeCroix, Casey White, Easthampton, Matt Kneece, Damien Lugay, Mo Magras, Andrew Reardon, Lujy Mondesir, Tyler Sullivan, Kamil Stasiowski, Owen Murphy, Andrew McGill, Tucker Bouchard, David Harrison, Isaiah Tatum, Jesse Meresca, John King, Raegan Muhlerin, Jen Rock, Justine Sheehan, Haylie Dolan, Brenna Spolidoro, Mackenzie Hudson, Brittany Oliver, Nicole Woods, Alexa Baumgartner, Maggie Johnson, Emiko Baker, Emily Medeiros, Sarah Cote, Jill Newton, Brendan Gilgun, Brady Aitken, James McCleod, Ethan McCullough, Brett McAvay, Tyler Walsh, Michelle Kudlate, Katie McKenna, Hope Kelley, Madison Hughes, Alexandrea Bergamo, Alexa Allen, Jackie Connors, Megan Kiley, Kristen Hickey, Bridget Wack, Jordan Sullivan, Mystic Valley, Ashley Owen

N'Bridge controls glass to punch D2 final ticket

March, 17, 2011

WORCESTER, Mass. -- There is cleaning up on the glass. And then there is flat out owning.

In last night's Division 2 Central/West boys basketball state semifinal at the DCU Center, Northbridge might as well have fallen unto the latter. The Rams controlled the glass, especially defensively, holding a 39-15 advantage over Western Mass champ Sabis International as they used a strong third quarter to cruised to a 57-41 victory.

Northbridge (20-5) moves on to face Eastern Mass champ New Mission in Saturday's Division 2 state championship at the DCU Center.

"We knew we had to control the game, because they (Sabis) are very tenacious," said senior forward Thomas Murphy, who combined with his younger brother, junior Harrison, to pull down 14 rebounds. "We focused on helping, because we knew they were going to beat our guards at some point; and rotating, because as long as we help and rotate, we'll still be able to get a hand up, and then we'll still be on the box. It doesn't matter if you're covering somebody else's man, as long as you're covering somebody we'll still get the rebound."

Said Northbridge head coach Paul Baker, "They (Sabis) are very athletic, they get on the glass, and we really focused on rebounding tonight. We've been a good rebounding team all year, but we really went after it tonight."

While at times Murphy's assertion of the backcourt play by Sabis (15-9) proved true, with Jahson Hollett (13 points) and Xavier Garcia (13) giving trouble with their dribble penetration, it was the play of one of Northbridge's own guards in the third quarter that lifted the spirits. Senior Corey Pryor (24 points) sparked an 11-1 run to open the third quarter and extend their lead to 35-20, with three nifty baskets.

First, he took a handoff from Thomas Murphy on the right wing, planted and sunk an 18-footer near the corner. Pryor then grabbed the loose board on the ensuing Sabis possession, ran the length of the court and lofted up a soft finger roll while twisting his body to avoid a charging call. He then capped the run and made it 35-20 with a three-pointer just a few feet behind the spot he had just sank an 18-footer a few possessions ago.

"I just tried to let the game come to me," Pryor said. "I don't try to force shots -- if someone's there, I try to give the ball off to them. But just lately, everything's been falling for me, so I'm just going with it."

In all, Northbridge outscored Sabis 19-9 in the third quarter, including a 13-2 advantage on the glass. And all of it left Sabis head coach James Mack dejected afterwards.

"I thought we lacked energy the first three quarters," Mack said. "I don't think it was just the third. We didn't do a great job on the boards, we didn't do a great job of containing, our transition defense was not very good. I think that let us down."

Instant Analysis: Central/West semi's

March, 17, 2011
ESPNBoston high school editor Brendan Hall breaks down all three MIAA Central/West boys basketball finals alongside correspondent Neil Carroll and's Ben Larsen:

Clean sweep for Central boys at DCU

March, 16, 2011
All done here at the DCU Center. Central Mass made it a clean sweep tonight, with all three of its participants winning their respective divisions in the Central/West boys basketball state semifinals. Here's how it went down:

D1 Boys: St. John's (Shrewsbury) 56, Northampton 43
Northampton cut it to within four in the second half, but the Pioneers finished strong in the third quarter -- keyed by some big shots by Matt Harrington -- and were able to keep that momentum going in the fourth, and the rest of the way. Harrington led the way for the Pioneers with 18 points, including four 3-pointers. Meanwhile, Richard Rodgers contributed 12 points and Matt Palecki added 10. Northampton was led in scoring by Jarrod Neumann, with 13 points, while sharp-shooting senior Jake Laga also added eight points.

St. John's moves on to Saturday, where it will face St. John's Prep for the Division 1 state title. This marks the Pioneers' fourth straight appearance in the Division 1 state championship game, having won it in 2009 over Lynn English and lost to Central Catholic in both 2008 and last year.

At halftime, St. John's Rodgers has six points and six rebounds, but more importantly has limited Northampton's Jarrod Neumann to four points and three rebounds. Northampton's offense has had success getting into the lane, but has failed converting layups at the basket. With Neumann having little success in the until the last few minutes of the half, it will be interesting to see if 'Hamp can get back in the game.

Second in scoring for the half was St. John's Matt Palecki with six points to go along with four rebounds.

Pretty even score sheet so far for the Pioneers, but Richard Rodgers definitely swung momentum midway through the first with a thunderous block, charging across the lane and promptly slamming the ball into press row.

We've got an interesting battle of student sections, between the robust and creative red-clad Pioneer faithful and Northampton's camo-clad supporters. Yes, that's right, the Hamp students are here in full force, head to toe in military gear. Coulda sworn that army surplus store on Route 9 closed down a few years ago, no?

D2 Boys: Northbridge 57, Sabis 41
Out and out dominance on the boards by Northbridge, as they've seemingly gotten every defensive rebound in the fourth quarter. Corey Pryor led all scorers with 24 points for N'Bridge in the win, while Thomas Murphy had nine rebounds.

Northbridge will face New Mission for the D2 state title on Saturday at 4 p.m.

Once again, Northbridge controlled the glass, holding a 13-2 advantage on the boards in the third quarter. The Rams have started off the third quarter strong, extending their lead to 32-20 with an 11-1 run. Corey Pryor made it a 12-point lead when he took a handoff from Thomas Murphy on the right wing and sank an 18-footer, then he grabbed a loose board, ran the length of the floor and landed a soft finger roll as he avoided a charge. He then capped the run with a three-pointer two steps back from where he hit the long two just a few possessions earlier, for a 35-20 lead.

After struggling on the boards in the first quarter, Sabis is picking up steam with Davonte Johnson and John Williams extending possessions with big offensive boards. The Bulldogs are attacking the rim with abandon -- now if only they could hit their free throws. Corey Pryor leads Northbridge at the half with 11 points, while Thomas Murphy has seven points. Xavier Garcia leads all scorers at the break with 12 points for Sabis, while the Rams hold a 17-12 advantage over Sabis on the glass.

The Rams controlled the boards in the first quarter, with an 11-5 advantage in rebounds. Corey Pryor has seven points so far to lead Northbridge, while Xavier Garcia leads Sabis with six.

D3 Boys: Whitinsville Christian 57, Lenox 41
All done here, what a clinic by WC's tandem of 6-foot-9 senior center Hans Miersma (18 points, 13 rebounds, five blocks) and sophomore point guard Colin Richey (16 points). Whitinsville moves on to Saturday's Division 3 state final against Watertown, slated to start at 12:30 p.m.

Kevin Carpenter led Lenox with 12 points in the loss.

Once again, Lenox has started the fourth quarter hot, sparking an 11-2 run to cut WC's lead to 44-38. But Hans Miersma just answered with a thunderous two-handed slam. Three straight layups from Taylor Bajema have extended the Crusaders lead to 57-39 with 1:44 to go in the ball game, capping an 11-1 run -- that should about do it.

Lenox started off the third quarter on a 10-1 run to cut the Crusaders' lead to 32-23, but the Crusaders have answered behind transition baskets from sophomore point guard Colin Richey. Through three quarters, Miersma has 15 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks, while Richey has 13 points.

The Millionaires quite simply do not have an answer in the post for Whitinsville's 6-foot-9 senior center, Hans Miersma, and it's showing up on the stat sheet in dividends. So far, the big guy has 10 points, nine rebounds and four very loud blocks. Meanwhile, sophomore point guard Colin Richey leads all scorers with 11 points, while Chris Bravo leads Lenox with four points.

Lenox's Chris Bravo had four points for the Millionaires in the first quarter but Whitinsville Christian's Colin Richey ended the first quarter hot by scoring eight points in the last two minutes. Six-foot-9 big man Hans Miersma is already cleaning up on the boards, with four rebounds and three blocks in the first quarter.

Hoophall: No. 8 New Mission cleans up boards

January, 16, 2011
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Coach Cory McCarthy is not happy.

“We were 15-25 from the free throw line,” the New Mission boys’ basketball coach repeated three times after the game. Despite the No. 8 Titans defeating Sabis Charter School (Springfield) 61-38 at the Hoophall Classic, McCarthy was upset about the free throws as well as missed layups.

“I am completely confused as to why we would miss so many layups. We missed 24 layups,” McCarthy said.

How many times did he repeat ‘24’? Think of Allen Iverson’s infamous ‘practice’ press conference from 2002.

“Not just put backs, easy layups. 24. We missed 24 layups!”

Sabis (5-6) coach Jim Mack saw an upside to the Titans' inability to make good on their offensive rebounds.

“We got lucky with that,” said Mack. “If they scored underneath, it would have been worse than it actually was.”

And the game was not a total wash for McCarthy, either.

“The best thing about tonight’s game is that we held a good basketball team to ten field goals for an entire game,” said McCarthy of Sabis, which put up 45 field goal attempts. “That’s a good accomplishment.”

New Mission (6-3) junior Leroy Hamilton led the charge, keeping the Bulldogs from getting to the hoop, with four steals.

“He’s going to be my leader next year,” added McCarthy of Hamilton, who scored seven points, but according to McCarthy had a tough game, as he's usually in double digits. “But he made up for it on defense.”

Offensively, New Mission was led by the game’s MVP, senior Kachi Nzerem (23 points, 9 rebounds).

“It’s more of a team win,” Nzerem said. “Most of my points came from my teammates…passes from Darius [Davis], Charles [Gunter] and Samir [McDaniels].”

New Mission executed their half-court press and stifled Sabis, but Mack could not to get his Bulldogs biting the way he had hoped.

“I think our biggest issue is we play in spurts,” said Mack. “Not being able to sustain any type of energy is starting to really hurt us...We tried to trap early, but it’s hard to develop any kind of press when you turn the ball over as many times as we did.”

The leading rebounder for New Mission was Darius Davis (10), who also added nine points.

“Coach tells me that I have the length, so just outwork guys, not letting any team out-rebound us,” said Davis, whose Titans beat the Bulldogs off the glass, 46-30.

This philosophy is shared by McCarthy, who despite watching his team struggle to make the easy baskets, was not worried because their rebounding and pressure defense was ever-present.

“Once we’re aggressive, there aren’t too many teams that can play with us because of our size,” McCarthy noted. “When we’re rotating and moving well, I know [our offense] is going to come. We may not be scoring a lot of points, but we’re turning teams over. Our whole game plan is to wear teams out with our half-court press and then go with our man to man strong for the second half.”

“The average height for our starters is 6-4,” added McCarthy. “For those guys to be able to dribble the ball and play like guards is very helpful. For whatever it’s worth, New Mission is not a flashy basketball team. We’re about second chance points and managing the game.”

Late in the fourth quarter, New Mission senior Charles Gunter missed a free throw, making him 4 of 8 for the game.

“I was going to yell at him for missing another free throw,” said McCarthy. “He never misses free throws! That was four in a row.

“But before I could even get it out of my mouth, he knew it was coming. He read the ball off the rim, which is something that we practice, and he put it back in. I was happy about that.”