Nate Camp and Company are dancing into the semi-finals (Image: Spencer Coronis)
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. GARGLING WITH THUMB TACKS
That’s about what the ol’ voice sounds like after a fun week of HS playoff action – by yesterday, I was throwing Halls into my mouth like Iike an ‘80s baseball player grabbing amphetamines . If you tuned in and wondered why Bea Arthur was doing a game, my bad.
9. THE SPAULDING PORTSMOUTH GAME WAS NUTS
Clock malfunctions (the scoreboard and the table unit connect via wifi, and there were so many cell phone signals in the gym it was interfering), some odd calls (Taveres had 4 fouls and should’ve maybe had 2, Spaulding was called for 4 offensive fouls and 1 was legit), Arie’s shot to take the lead, Hewitt’s follow up for the win, the premature court storm… it was nuts. And I never want to speak of it again.
8. D2 BELONGS TO THE HANOVER GIRLS
A 21-1 campaign culminating in a 52-41 win over Kennett in the finals to get Hanover their first title since 2008. A 20-0 bench point differential for the deep Marauders made the difference, as did 15 from Maddie McCorkle. Congrats to Hanover!
7. BRITTANY BIG SHOT’S HEROIC 3
There were a lot of kids that made Portsmouth’s run to the finals possible in their first year as a D1 Squad – Arianna Hebert being a sparkplug all season. Abbe Laurence and her dominant play, the big minutes Tim Hopley got from Riley Valez in the semi-final, but the one that will stick out for me was Brittany Graham’s 3 from the right wing to send the game against #2 Pinkerton to OT. The PHS girls were disappointed with coming up short against BG in the finals, but they should be proud of a heck of a run.
6. JACKSON COX FOR THE WIN
The only time I’ve seen Londonderry in person this season was their win over Winnacunnet in the regular season – Ethan May got the headlines (rightly so, he was outstanding in that game), but I was really impressed with the play of Jackson Cox – he would crash to the basket in a fearless manner despite the much bigger kids inside for the Warriors waiting in the paint for him.
Friday night there was Jackson, in the paint for what proved to be the game winning put back against Winnacunnet, to send Londonderry to the Final 4. I’m sad for my good friend Jay McKenna and the Warriors, but I look forward to seeing what Jackson and the Lancers can do on the big floor against Exeter.
5. AS IN 5 TITLES FOR ERIC SAUCIER
Conant played their best game of the year Saturday night, getting out and running early and often en route to a decisive 61-38 win over defensing champ Somersworth. For the majority of the game (meaning about 30 of the 32 minutes) it was the starting 5 for Conant who got the job done as all 5 starters where in double figures. It’s the 12th overall title for Conant, and the 5th for head Coach Eric Saucier, and maybe the most impressive of the title wins.
4. AS IN 4 IN A ROW FOR THE BG GIRLS
BG was a wrecking crew this year, beating not only all comers in NH, but going on a tour of the Northeast and beating other states defending state champions. Not only that, but BG is graduating just one senior, so they could be just as tough to deal with next season. Congrats to Brad Kreick and the Cards on a great year!
3. SALEM HELD OFF A NORTH TEAM THAT MIGHT BE PRESEASON #1 NEXT YEAR
Give North credit- they got down 15-2 at Salem, and a lot of young teams might have packed it in at that point, but the Titans kept fighting, and gave the Blue Devils one hell of a fight in the Quarter-Finals. Ultimately Salem had too much, including a thunderous dunk from Ben Laycock to put Salem up 8 late. The Blue Devils reward is the 2 time defending champion Portsmouth Clippers at UNH, but they will gladly take it.
2. EPPING BEATS LITTLETON IN A RARE D4 TITLE GAME SHOOTOUT
Usually the final score of the D4 title game ends up looking like a high scoring NFL game – 43-40 last year, 45-43 in 2017, 38-36 in ’16… you get the picture. But the Blue Devils and the Crusaders both lit the scoreboard up in an electrifying 72-61 win. All year long, most thought it would be Littleton an Newmarket, but Nick Fiset and his kids brought home the trophy. Congrats to the Blue Devils!
1. KEARSARGE SHOCKS THE STATE
A 9 seed, on the road, playing a stacked 1 seed, and getting a bomb with .5 left from a Freshman to get to UNH, a year after they had the stacked team that was bounced before Durham? You can’t write this stuff, which is why March is so crazy. I said in one of the 8 podcasts Dave and I have done over the past few days that I thought Kearsarge could be the most dangerous lower seed, but there’s no way I thought they’d beat ORHS.
And as if the story can’t get crazier, Kearsarge could punch a ticket to the finals by beating MV, the team that KO’d the Cougars run last year. March in NH, there’s nothing better…
ALSO RECEIVING VOTES: Con-Val is at UNH for the first time since 2000, Hannah Muchmore’s half court shot to end the 3rd in the D1 final, Tamrah Gould’s And1 after reinjuring her foot, Pembroke back to the final 4
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