Boston High School: Sam Donahue

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.

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.