Boston High School: Tilton

New Hampshire Week 1 football preview

September, 5, 2013
Pinkerton Academy football coach Brian O'Reilly had three quarterbacks competing for the starting job throughout the preseason, but few people outside of the O'Reilly household know who will be behind center when Pinkerton opens its Division I season at Bedford on Friday night.

New HampshireThe candidates are all juniors: Jack Hannaway, Conner Holland and Jake Froehlich. Hannaway and Holland were with the Pinkerton program last season. Froehlich transferred to Pinkerton from the Tilton School, where he threw for 1,492 yards and 13 touchdowns in eight games last season.

Choosing from three talented quarterbacks is a problem many coaches would welcome.

“But it is a problem,” O'Reilly said. “They're all pretty good.”

Regardless of who it is, Pinkerton's quarterback will be handing the ball to running back Manny Latimore often Friday night. Latimore, who is widely considered to be the top offensive players in the state, rushed for 1,504 last season. He'll likely have a larger role in the Pinkerton offense this season.

“Based on his senior year, it's possible that Manny could be one of the best running backs we've ever had here,” O'Reilly said. “When you have that kind of weapon you have to use it. I will use it. Trust me.”

Bedford is playing in its third division in as many years. The Bulldogs lost to Portsmouth in the 2011 championship game, and to Winnacunnet in last year's Division II championship game.

The Bulldogs, who have 125 players in their program, made to move to Division I in the offseason.

“This is where I would prefer to be,” said Bedford coach Kurt Hines, who has been Bedford's head coach since the school first fielded a varsity team in 2008. “We're going to find out where we fit in the division Friday night.”


Winnacunnet at Bishop Guertin is another interesting Division I matchup on this weekend’s schedule. The Warriors and Cardinals are scheduled to meet Saturday night (7 p.m.) at Nashua's Stellos Stadium.

Both programs competed at the Division II level last season, but each was placed in Division I when the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association reduced the number of divisions for football from six to three.

Winnacunnet defeated BG in last year's Division II semifinals.

“As long as we stay healthy I think we should be in the playoffs,” BG coach Travis Cote said. “We should be in that first round (quarterfinals) and who knows after that.”

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New England Roundup: Vermont

May, 22, 2013
Rice Memorial's Cassidy Derda has her immediate plans in place.

After spending next season playing for Tilton (N.H.) Prep, Derda will begin her Division I basketball career by joining the St. Francis University program in New York City. Derda, a 6-foot-1 forward, gave a verbal commitment to St. Francis last week.

According to the Burlington Free Press, Derda also considered LaSalle and Farleigh Dickenson.

“I was very indecisive about it,” Derda told the Free Press. “I went back and forth. I believe in my heart that's where I'll be the happiest.

“That's been my goal since I was a freshman – to play at a Division I school. I talked to my family and coaches and we decided it would be be better for college after a year of prep.”

Derda transferred from South Burlington to Rice after his sophomore year. She led the Green Knights to the Division I championship game in her junior and senior seasons. Rice defeated Champlain Valley 46-41 to win the Division I title when Derda was a junior. She led Rice with 14 points and 12 rebounds in that game.

Derda averaged 16.1 points, 7-2 rebounds and two blocked shots per game last season.

Derda's decision to spend a year at Tilton Prep was made, in part, because a scholarship wasn't available at St. Francis until the 2014-15 season.

Former Castleton State College coach Rich Alercio has been named the head football coach at St. Johnsbury Academy.

Alercio served as Castleton State's coach for the program's first two seasons, but resigned after he allegedly violated NCAA rules by arranging student loans for one of his players. Alercio will also serve as St. Johnsbury's assistant athletic director.

“I am honored to be St. Johnsbury Academy's head football coach and assistant athletic director, and am thrilled with the opportunity to have a positive impact on the lives of our student-athletes and particularly the young men in our football program,” Alercio said in a press release. “I look forward to being a part of the Hilltopper community with its dedicated and loyal fan and alumni base.”

Alericio replaces Sean Murphy, who resigned earlier this spring.

Alerico guided Castleton State, a Division III program, to a 3-6 record in 2009 and a 5-4 record in 2010.

Kristen Keene collected four goals and an assist, and Maggie Lague added three goals and an assist as the U-32 girls lacrosse team improved its Division II record to 10-0 by beating Rice, 13-12, last Wednesday.

Rice (7-2-1) beat U-32 in the quarterfinals last year en route to the Division II title.

The 13-goal effort was U-32's lowest offensive output of the season. BFA-St. Albans (9-0) is the only other unbeaten team in Division II. BFA-St. Albans lost to Rice in last year's championship game.

Essex (Division I) and BFA-Fairfax entered the week as the only unbeaten softball teams in the state.

Essex, last year's Division I champion, was 11-0 and had scored at least 10 runs in seven of those games. The Hornets had also held their opponents to two runs or fewer in eight contests.

BFA-Fairfax was 12-0 and had scored 23 runs or more four times.

Connie LaRose of Mount Abraham (girls) and Rutland's Mike Wood (boys) will serve as the Vermont head coaches for this summer's Twin-State Basketball Classic against New Hampshire.

The basketball doubleheader will be played at Essex High School on July 13. The girls contest will begin at 6 p.m., and the boys' game is scheduled to start at 7:45.

Roger Brown is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader, and has been covering high school sports throughout New England since 1992.

New England Roundup: Vermont

May, 4, 2012
Burlington's Centennial Field may be the home of Vermont baseball, but for the last two years it hasn't been the home for Vermont's high school baseball championship games. That will change this June.

VermontAfter a two-year absence, Vermont's four championship games will return to Centennial Field this year. The announcement was made Tuesday during a press conference that included Bob Johnson, president of the Vermont Principals' Association; University of Vermont athletic director Bob Corran; and Burlington mayor Miro Weinberger.

Weinberger played high school baseball at Woodstock, which won a state championship at Centennial in 1987.

“I am one of the hundreds of Vermonters who has had the amazing experience of playing for a high school state championship on Centennial Field,” Wienberger said. “Twenty-five yeas later my memory of that spring evening under the lights in Burlington is one of my most cherished. I am very happy today to mark the return of these championships to our city and to know that hundreds more Vermont high school ball players will participate in this grand Vermont tradition in the years ahead.”

Centennial Field is home to the Vermont Lake Monsters, Oakland's Single-A affiliate in the New York-Penn League. The state's four championship games will be played at Centennial Field for the first time since 2009. The championship games are tentatively scheduled to be played June 8-9.

“The Lake Monsters organization is thrilled to bring the high school baseball championship games back to Centennial Field and the city of Burlington,” Lake Monsters general manager Nate Cloutier said. “The Lake Monsters would also like to acknowledge the efforts from the Friends of UVM Baseball group in helping to return the VPA baseball championships back to Centennial.”

The four championship games were played at Centennial from 1993 to 2009, but were moved to Montpelier's Rec. Field in each of the past two years.

“The Vermont Principals' Association Is looking forward to the return of the high school baseball championships to Centennial Field,” Johnson said. “We appreciate the efforts of the Vermont Lake Monsters in making this happen and we look forward to working with the Lake Monsters in the future.”

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Praise at EYBL for BABC's Noel, Layman

June, 1, 2011
ESPN basketball recruiting analysts Joel Francisco and John Stovall check in today with a recap of last weekend's third session of the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League, at the Hangar Athletic Xchange in Torrance, Calif. Among their notes are two decorated locals playing for the Boston Amateur Basketball Club, Tilton's Nerlens Noel and King Philip's Jake Layman.

Once again, Noel continues to draw high praise for his intuitive shot-blocking ability:

Noel may have been the most promising prospect in the event. His shot blocking ability is simply awe-inspiring. He has impeccable timing and agility at both ends of the floor. His offensive game is still a work in progress, but he is one of the better passing big men in the country and he put together a couple of impressive face-up moves to get to the rim as well.

Meanwhile, Layman was labeled one of the tournament's "Surprise Players", opening many eyes with his awe-inspiring dunk on highly-touted sophomore Julius Randle:

Layman put an exclamation point on his outstanding weekend with a monster baseline throw down on Julius Randle (Dallas, Texas/Prestonwood Christian Academy), the No. 1 prospect in the 2013 class. The willowy, wing-type has great length, very long arms and deceptive quickness. He moves well without the ball and has a feathery 3-point touch. Notre Dame and Providence are his only offers, but others should jump in line as the month of July progresses.

With a 14-1 record, the BABC will move on to July's Finals at the Nike Peach Jam, at the Riverview Park Activities Center in North Augusta, S.C.

National Prep Showcase: Day 3 notes

November, 21, 2010
The best was saved for last on day three of the National Prep Showcase as the final two games of the day featured two New England foes in Tilton and Wilbraham and Monson followed by St. Andrew’s taking on Blair Academy from New Jersey.

Tilton jumped all over Wilbraham from the opening tip, going on an 18-2 run to start the game and then running away with a 97-64 win. While Georges Niang and Wayne Selden stole the show for Tilton a number of different players impressed. Domonique Bull boasted a cut up physique, making him both quicker and more durable, while Goodluck Okonoboh showed excellent progression of his offensive skills, facing up to make mid-range pull-ups and drives to the rim. Nerlens Noel was his normal dominating self on the defensive end, starting the break with his tremendous shot-blocking ability.

The nightcap saw St. Andrew’s dig themselves into an early hole only to chip away and make it a one point game heading into halftime. The second half was an epic battle that was undoubtedly the most thrilling game of the entire weekend. Ultimately, it came down to the final possession as Blair Academy broke the tie with 15 seconds left and scored a stop and quick transition bucket to pull out a 57-53 win.

Georges Niang, 6’6”, PF, 2012, Methuen, MA/Tilton School
Stat Line: 33 pts (14-24 FG, 0-2 3pt, 5-6 FT), 11 reb (3 off), 1 ast/0 to
Niang picked up the 2010-2011 season just where he left off this summer – scoring the ball in every way imaginable. His game is versatile in that he can go inside out, score with his back to the basket, or stretch defenses to the three-point line. He has terrific hands and feet, a super soft touch around the rim, and is a great finisher despite the fact that he rarely gets above the rim in traffic. Niang’s value wasn’t limited to just his scoring as he rebounded very well, grabbing everything with two hands, and was an equally effective trailer against pressure as a secondary ball-handler and decision maker.

Wayne Selden, 6’4”, G/F, 2014, Boston, MA/Tilton School

Stat Line: 26 pts (10-16 FG, 6-9 3pt, 0-0 FT), 5 reb (3 off), 2 ast/2 to
The reclassified freshmen could be the next in a rapidly growing line of prospects from the greater Boston area to crack the national rankings. Selden was known for his break-away athleticism during his years at O’Bryant but has continued to progress athletically and has more explosiveness in virtually all aspects of his game now but especially in regard to his first step off the dribble. While his athleticism has progressed, on Sunday he showcased a much improved perimeter jumper to the tune of six three-pointers.

Michael Carter-Williams, 6’5”, G, 2011, Hamilton, MA/St. Andrew’s

Stat Line: 30 pts (7-15 FG, 2-7 3pt, 14-19 FT), 8 reb (0 off), 2 ast/1to
The Syracuse-bound guard has added a new dimension to his game in each of his seasons at St. Andrew’s. This year, that addition seems to be a more dangerous slashing game enabling him to get to the free-throw line for more easy points. With such great size and length in the backcourt, Carter-Williams is always a threat to shoot over the defense or create space for his mid-range pull-up and that threat causes defenders to constantly be off balance, which he capitalized on to draw contact. “MCW” also showed an improved commitment on the defensive end, getting nice and low to slide his feet and contain the ball when he was so determined.

Five Things We Learned at Elite 75

September, 29, 2010
The third annual "New England Elite 75 Showcase -- Frosh/Soph Edition" took place on Saturday at Boston University’s Case Gymnasium and included many of the top underclassman prospects the New England region has to offer. The event featured two sessions, with the freshmen taking the court in the morning and the sophomores in the afternoon.

Here is a look at five lessons we learned after taking in the day’s action:

1. Noah Vonleh is a Potential Star in the Making

Haverhill High School sophomore Noah Vonleh stood out as the most impressive prospect at the event. What sets him apart is a combination of three factors. First, he has the talent to dominant his peers right now. Second, he has demonstrated the work ethic to consistently improve his game. Third, his physical upside is tremendous. Vonleh only recently celebrated his 15th birthday and already stands 6-foot-7 with a strong body. He could still be growing and is certainly still growing into his body and consequently hasn’t nearly peaked athletically. He has terrific economy of motion, taking the ball off the defensive glass and going coast to coast in three or four dribbles and only requiring a single bounce to get to the rim in a half-court set, to go along with a rapidly developing skill set. If this young man continues to work hard and make good decisions, the sky could be the limit.

2. The Class of 2013 has Tremendous Depth

New England has some very well known talent in the class of 2013. Connecticut native Kuran Iverson is the second ranked player in the country and Everett native Nerlens Noel is third, according to ESPNU’s most recent Terrific 25 list. But beyond the obvious star power of Iverson, Noel, and Vonleh the region, and the state of Massachusetts specifically, has great depth in the class. Beaver Country Day guard Rene Castro already owns a scholarship offer from Boston College, Brimmer & May’s Jake Fay has one from UMass, and a variety of others in action on Friday had the potential to earn similar opportunities including Milton Academy’s Ikemefuna Ngwudo, Cushing Academy’s Andrew Chrabascz, Springfield Central’s Cornelius Tyson, and Weymouth’s Jared Terrell.

3. Getting to Know the Class of 2014

This was our first major opportunity to check out the incoming freshmen and there was plenty to like. Milton’s Jeremy Miller has the size and raw talent to potentially be a high level prospect down the road. Fellow big men Aaron Falzon (Newton North) and Bonzie Colson Jr. (St. Andrew’s) have similar upside. There are plenty of talented local guards including Lawrence Academy’s Johnnie Vassar, Cushing Academy’s Idris Taqqee and Stoughton’s Jonathan Joseph. The state of Connecticut also offers a particularly talented group with the likes of Jared Wilson-Frame, Levy Gillespie Jr., Winston Morgan and Kahari Beaufort.

4. Prep Talent Arriving Earlier than Ever

New England has always been the hub of prep school talent in the country, but it used to be that talented players only arrived for their post-graduate, or sometimes senior, seasons. Saturday’s event showed they are now coming much earlier and opting to play in the NEPSAC for multiple seasons. Some of the event’s top prospects, like Northfield Mount Hermon’s Dekeeba Battee, Worcester Academy’s Asur Madison, Winchendon’s Dennis Green and the Kent School’s Travis Berry are all from outside of the region but are boarding students at local prep schools.

5. One Year Can Make a Big Difference

There was a notable difference between the morning and the afternoon session as the sophomores delivered a significantly higher quality of play. The biggest difference was obviously physical as players were bigger, stronger, faster and more athletic given the extra year of physical maturity. But the other interesting trend was the higher caliber of basketball acumen. Some examples were more obvious as the sophomores tended to both share the ball more as well as play without it, but others were more subtle like looking into the post, using jab fakes or understanding how to defend from the weak side of the floor.