On Saturday December 9th on the campus of NHTI in Concord NHsportspage will hold its 5th annual Coaches for a Cause Basketball Jamboree.
The event, which raises money for the New Horizons homeless shelter, soup kitchen and food pantry in Manchester, was created to match the best teams from Division I against the best teams from the lower divisions.
The games are played in front of over 1,000 people with play by play and introductions by Justin McIsaac. He even has his own Wikipedia page...I have no explanation for why…. Justin McIsaac Wikipedia page.
We will have video highlights and interviews from each game in an event that has become the unofficial kickoff to the New Hampshire high school basketball season.
Last year’s event saw the New Hampshire state champion (Portsmouth) defeat the defending Boston city champion (New Mission), the eventual Division III champion (Kearsarge) defeat the eventual Division I runner-up (Bedford) and Division I Final Four team Winnacunnet defeat eventual Division II champion Lebanon in overtime.
Our NHsportspage team of Pete Tarrier, Jennifer Chick-Ruth, Jon Kesty, Justin McIsaac and I will be on hand for all six games beginning with the season debut of the New Hampshire high school Hoop Show from 9 to 11 am.
Without further ado….the match-ups for the 5th Annual NHsportspage Coaches for a Cause Basketball Jamboree.
Games to played on Saturday December 9th 2017 on the campus of NHTI in Concord
12:00: Alvirne vs Somersworth
The Hilltoppers were a Final Four team a year ago under second year head coach Rob Fauci and return three starters including pre-season player of the year candidate Bryton Early. Evan Gray and Tyler Clark will step into bigger roles for a Somersworth team that will be a Top 4 pre-season pick in Division III.
They’ll face the Alvirne Broncos, a veteran crew led by 6’4 all-state shooting guard Max Bonney-Liles. Coach Brian Lynch happily accepted the jamboree invite before stepping down a month later to take a new position at Merrimack Valley. So while today this is a team without a coach, whoever takes the reigns will have a pre-season Top 10 team in Division I capable of a run to Durham in March.
1:30: Merrimack vs Lebanon
A match-up of two big time programs when Kieth Matte & the defending Division II champions (who come in with a 3-1 record in the jamboree) take on Tim Goodridge and the Tomahawks who have appeared in the Division I championship game three of the last six seasons.
Merrimack will again contend for the Division I title and they’ll do it behind 6’3 all-state guard Ian Cummings. Owen Ploss will step into a bigger scoring role as a senior while Goodridge is excited about the potential of guard Ben Eichman and 6’5 sophomore big man Jared Dyer.
The Raiders have to replace the winningest backcourt in program history in KJ Matte & Ryan Milliken, both now playing sports at the college level. 6’4 Chris Nulty will lead the returners as the availability of 6’4 returning two year starter Matt Eylander will be up in the air until after football season.
Hunter Bienvenu gives Matte an outside threat to keep defenses honest as Lebanon makes its fifth jamboree appearance against a Merrimack team making their fourth.
3:00: Bedford vs Hollis-Brookline
Former Bishop Brady head coach Cole Etten makes his debut as the new head coach of his alma mater Hollis-Brookline. Longtime head coach (and my Division II Bracketologist) Mike Soucy stepped down earlier this month to become the new athletic director at Merrimack.
The Cavaliers lost a lot when the backcourt of Nick Fothergill & Stephen Giaconia graduated after a Final Four run last March but the cupboard is hardly bare. All-state forward Matt Simco returns at power forward along with center Matt Dowling and forward Scott VanCoughnett, giving Hollis-Brookline a team capable of a return appearance in Durham.
Mark Elmendorf’s Bulldogs may be the favorite in Division I after a title game appearance a year ago. All-state guard Max Chartier (an esteemed member of the NHsportspage basketball team) is one of three returning starters that include all-state center Nolan Anderson and defensive specialist Nick Mokas. Look for juniors Liam O’Connell & Harrison LeGoullon to play much bigger roles as the Bulldogs make their third appearance in the Coaches for a Cause Jamboree.
4:30: Manchester Memorial vs Berlin
This might be my favorite match-up of the day. Danny Bryson’s Crusaders take on the favorites in Division III when Dave Morrissette and the Mountaineers come south to make their second jamboree appearance.
Bryson took over head coaching duties at his alma mater when longtime coach Jack Quirk stepped down at the end of last season. Memorial is loaded for a Final four run led by forward Manny Alisandro (ready for a breakout senior season) and guards Michael Roumraj & Jake Santiago. Bryson’s team is deep and they will get up & down the floor in a hurry.
Berlin is led by senior all-state point guard Evan Arsenault, all-state shooting guard Seth Balderrama and 6’4 center Joey Fodor. Four starters return from a quarterfinal appearance a year ago and after a big summer up north Berlin will square off with maybe the best team in the city of Manchester in the fourth game of the day.
6:00: Portsmouth vs Kearsarge Regional
Match-ups like this one are what have made this event what it is as the defending champions from Division I square off with defending champions from Division III and the likely pre-season #1 in Division II.
Jim Mulvey’s Clippers are coming off consecutive 22-0 seasons, making them an all-time team in the state of New Hampshire. There is a ton of production to replace though as Division I player of the year Joey Glynn, all-state point guard Shon Parham and do everything but sell programs in the lobby guard Christian Peete have all graduated.
Three time all-state guard Cody Graham will take the leadership reigns as he closes in on John Mulvey’s all-time scoring mark at Portsmouth high school. Power forward Alex Tavares, one of the best big men in the state, and guard Mike Sanborn both return for a Portsmouth team looking for their third consecutive title in 2018.
Five starters return for Nate Camp’s Cougars led by 6’9 Division III player of the year Tayler Mattos and all-state shooting guard Tommy Johnson. Kearsarge comes back to Division II in 2017-18 as the favorites from day one and with Joe Storozuk & 6’4 Kyle Hernon back in the starting lineup Camp’s team is looking for their second straight win over a Division I power in the jamboree.
7:30: Exeter vs Pelham
The final game of the night will feature a team many are picking to win the Division I title in March.
Senior all-state shooting guard Cody Morissette is joined in the lineup by his little brother, freshman Josh Morissette in what will be the best backcourt in the state of New Hampshire. Bobby Cliche, Cam Clark and a host of returning rotation players will give Jeff Holmes’ team a very good shot to end up in Durham next spring. Cody Morissette will compete for the Division I scoring title again in 2018 while Josh is the most anticipated freshman in the state since Cody Graham four years ago.
They will square off with Mike Larson’s Pythons, a team with their own pair of all-state guards in Blake Woekel (poised for a very big year) and sophomore three point sniper Drew Brown. 6’4 Dylan Andrews gives Larson a rebounder & shot blocker at the back of the Pythons pressure defense as Pelham makes its 5th straight appearance in our Coaches for a Cause Jamboree.