Mather Kipka got the bucket and the belt (Image: Con-Val Boys Hoops Twitter)
It’s back! The Winter edition of the Top 10 is here. The listicle you can’t live without. Just remember– this is a STATE WEBSITE and I expect you to send me ideas for this list. YOU GOT THAT?!?!?!
The Top 10 is brought to you by TJ’S in Portsmouth! My absolute favorite spot in Portsmouth to catch a game. Tell Bethany that McIsaac sent you
10. A FISTFIGHT FOR THE 3 SEED
Spaulding and Winnacunnet had themselves a knock down, drag out brawl with the 3 seed on the line Friday night – the teams and coaches know each other so well that there’s no secrets when they get together. A 27 point performance from Adopted Nephew Arie Breakfield, and clutch FT’s from Dante McKenney were the difference in the end, as SHS gets the 3 and Winnacunnet lands at the 5 seed.
9. SPEAKING OF D1, HERE’S MY PICKS FOR EVERY FIRST ROUND GAME SO GET YOUR HATE TWEETS READY
These are based on Jay McKenna’s bracketology, so if the seeds are different blame him:
Picks are in BOLD
# 1 Exeter over #16 Bye - Bye doesn’t have the horses to keep up with Exeter. I don’t see how Bye’s coach keeps his job year after year.
# 9 Alvirne at # 8 Concord I’m going with the Tide, if Canellas is healthy I might go Alvirne here.
# 13 Nashua South at # 4 Londonderry Ethan May gets 25 here
# 12 Dover at # 5 Winnacunnet - I’m not going to be completely shocked if Dover pulls an upset here, but I think this is a bad matchup for DHS
#15 Goffstown at #2 Salem This one might be uncomfortable for a bit, but Salem at home is too much
#10 Nashua North at # 7 Keene The Titans young guns pull over a road upset
#14 Merrimack at # 3 Spaulding Lol you already knew. I asked Mike Whaley when the last time Spaulding lost a home playoff game, he answered “Not since I’ve been with the paper”, and that goes back to about 1943, so it’s been a while (Love ya Whaley).
#11 Manchester Central at # 6 Portsmouth I’ve heard some calling for an upset here, I think it’s close but betting against Portsmouth in a home playoff game is unwise.
Only one road upset… and I’m wrong a lot, so let the chaos begin…
8. DOGS BEAT CATS
Not only as pets (I’m a dog guy, get out of there with your cat nonsense), but in the D3 Girls title game, as Monadnock prevailed over Fall Mountain 51-44. Zoe Utton of Fall Mountain did everything she could scoring 21 points, but the dogs had their day, lead by Caitlyn Boucher with 18. Congrats to the Huskies!
7. LANCE LEGERE HAD THE LITTLETON GIRLS DO THE WE UNDEFEATED DANCE AND I’M AFRAID PETE TARRIER MIGHT TAKE HIM OUT WITH A STEEL CHAIR
There are some simple rules to life: You don’t tug Superman’s cape, you don’t spit into the wind, you always double down on 11, never get less than 12 hours sleep, never play cards with a guy who has the same last name as a city, and PETE TARRIER MUST BE PRESENT FOR ALL UNDEFEATED DANCES!!!
(Unless he can’t make it then I guess it’s ok)
6. MATHER KIPKA KEPT THE COUGARS STREAK ROLLING
Win number 16 in a row needed a 3 pointer from the man with the Rec Specs, as the Con-Val Cougars continued to be the best story in D2, grabbing the 2 seed after years of futility. And they went into the playoffs in style, with a great win at a tough road opponent.
5. SPEAKING OF D2 HERE’S MY PICKS FOR ALL THE D2 PLAYOFF OPENING ROUND GAMES, HATE TWEETS AT THE READY
Nate Camp did the bracketology, so if the seeds are wrong blame him. Picks are in BOLD.
#1 Oyster River over #16 Bye - Bye continues to be the most underachieving team in HS Basketball
# 9 Kearsarge at # 8 Souhegan total homer pick as I did a bunch of Kearsarge games, but the Cougars are dangerous if they play like they can.
#13 Hollis Brookline at # 4 Pelham The snakes hold serve at the snake pit
#12 Coe-Brown at # 5 Merrimack Valley Sorry Jen
# 15 Milford at # 2 ConVal One team has 16 straight wins, the other has 7 straight losses. I’m playing the numbers here.
# 10 Bishop Brady at # 7 Lebanon The Raiders could be the most dangerous lower seed
# 14 John Stark at #3 Pembroke Pembroke wants another crack at Durham BAD
# 11 Hanover at # 6 Kennett Mostly chalk is boring, but what do I know?
4. HERE’S MY WAYYYYYYY TOO SPECIFIC D4 PICKS FOR TONIGHT
With the caveat that I’m usually wrong, so congrats on getting to the title game if I picked against you
#2 Littleton 48 #3 Newmarket 46 - I’m basing this pick on the fact that “tails” came up when I flipped a coin. I tried to get Avery Chick Ruth to be in a video with me to take the heat off, but she was napping or something.
#1 Epping 62 #4 Woodsville 50 - I really like the Blue Devils, and I think with the exception of Littleton, the south in D4 is much stronger than the north this year.
3. HERE’S MY WAYYYYYYY TOO SPECIFIC D3 PICKS FOR WEDNESDAY NIGHT (I JUST LIKE GETTING YELLED AT, EVIDENTLY)
You’re going to be shocked, SHOCKED by the fact that I’m picking both Seacoast teams…
#3 Saint Thomas 47 #2 Conant 45 - Andrew Cavanaugh might be the best player in NH that hardly anyone talks about.
#1 Somersworth 55 #4 Campbell 50 - I actually really like this Campbell team, but I’m not betting against the champs, nor Evan Gray, who is one of my favorite kids ever.
2. MARCH IS BS
Luckily there’s March Madness, and NHIAA playoffs, because March is sneaky the worst month to live in New England. You get all excited to make it through February, and somehow we always forget that there’s still another 3.5 weeks of the worst weather ever on deck. Meanwhile, you see the Red Sox playing spring training games on TV and it’s like 83 degrees in Ft Myers, and you’re STILL WEARING 4 LAYERS AND A BLANKET INDOORS.
1. TAMRAH GOULD WOULDN'T BE DENIED HER CELEBRATION
Tamrah Gould of Manchester Memorial is only 5-4, but plays like she thinks she’s 6-4; fearless. Blocking shots, getting rebounds, taking charges – she’s one of my favorite players in NH Girls hoops. Tamrah went down with an ankle injury late in Memorial’s QF win over a scrappy and young Londonderry team (Memorial is also pretty young; they graduated 8 seniors last year), and it looked really bad for Tamrah – helped off the floor, tears streaming, the worst was feared.
But she wasn’t going to let that stop her from charging into the locker room (with one foot in a splint) to be with her teammates and celebrate a trip to the final 4. Some players say “I’M GOING TO DISNEY WORLD”, but Tamrah hopped in and said “I’M GOING TO URGENT CARE!” One of my favorite moments since I’ve been calling sports.
ALSO RECEIVING VOTES: Portsmouth Girls in the Final 4 in their first year in D1, A Spaulding – Portsmouth rematch in the Q-Finals would be awesome, Dave driving to Keene on a Tuesday is nuts, I’m at pants-wetting concern about the Celtics.
Justin McIsaac writes the Top 10 every week (usually). He is the 2018 NSMA NH Sportscaster of The Year. He has 1,000 jobs, including radio color commentary for UNH Football, Producer of "NH Today with Jack Heath", HS play by play for MOSN, The McIsaac On Sports Network, college play by play for Dartmouth, St Anselm’s, UNE, Harvard, and whoever else will cut the check. Follow him on Twitter: @justin_mcisaac