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The really, really early favorites for 2021…
Your 2020-21 favorites: Division I in no particular order Goffstown (Robenson Beguidy, Jack Kelly plus Aidan O’Connell and the growth spurt that is coming with him)….Portsmouth (Coleman Brewster, Kevin Cummings, and Tommy Weir return)…….Dover (Kingsley Breen and a very good nucleus returns for Matt Fennessy’s team)……Nashua North (Curtis Harris, Nate Kane, Connor Dunning and their jamboree game is going to be played in a 50-degree gym so they never slip again)………Winnacunnet (they will return 96% of their 2020 scoring…I’m terrible at math but that seems good)……….Manchester Central (they were very young this year…Baril Mawo returns and I really like freshman Angel Castro)………..Keene (Liam Johnston, Jonathan Kelly, and Alex Charles should return)……Manchester Memorial (Danny Bryson’s team has taken its lumps but will be back next year)…Bishop Guertin (Dylan Santosuosso & Jordan Robichaud and a good nucleus return)………..Division II: Hanover (The Jai White breakout season is coming and Henry Pikus will be a big-time scorer)…….Manchester West (Kur Teng and 10 underclassman return) Lebanon (they are always good and Calvin Bates returns)……….Bow (Matt Lamy and key returnees)………..Souhegan (Ditto Matt McCool and the Sabers)…………Pembroke Academy (they might be a year away but they have some really good young talent and Rich Otis does a really good job)…….Division III: Winnisquam (four starters and Garrett Mango return for Kevin Dame’s team) Belmont (Jackson Ruelke, Nate Sottak and a good nucleus return for Jim Cilley’s team) Kearsarge Regional (Sam Carl & Adrian McCarthy return for Nate Camp’s team)……….Mascoma (Ben Seiler, Connor Thompson return for what should be a Top 5 team)……….Monadnock (Everyone returns for Jim Hill’s team)………….Gilford (might be a year away but 8th grader Isaiah Reese will join brothers Malik & Jalen along with Riley Marsh, Curtis Nelson and Alex Cheek)……….Division IV: Newmarket (Jamie Hayes returns a good group and I’m not wrong about Colby Bost)……Littleton (Landon Bromley & Josh Finkle lead the way)…..Woodsville (four starters return for Jamie Walker)……..Groveton (four starters return for Mark Collins but Josh Wheelock is a big loss and they need to develop depth…it killed them this year.
To the coaches……
I want to thank all the coaches who sent me scoring statistics after every game.
Do you know what isn’t a lot of fun? Working all week to prepare your kids for a big game, losing that game, and then getting a text from Dave Haley at 10 pm simply saying ‘stats?’
That’s got to be annoying. So thank you to each and every one of them and you can see from the statistics on our website who those coaches are because their scoring is represented on the team pages and division scoring leaders.
In the pre-season, I interviewed 71 of the 87 boys’ coaches in the state for our 25,000 plus word basketball previews. These are people who work tirelessly for the kids with often very little thanks and a lot of unwarranted grief.
These are good people who are not in it for the money, they’re in for the kids and I appreciate all the work they do because I know how much they care and how much time & effort they put into it.
I also have to figure out our Gold Level Membership and may have to change it after only 42 of 87 coaches chose to support us this year. If we are going to remain the only free website of our kind we need to get that number back up to the 70% range it was just three years ago.
It’s been a steep decline in support and we have to figure out why.
A huge thank you to the coaches who went out of their way to reach out to parents who might own a business and would sponsor of our coverage of the kids. Coaches like Jay Darrah of Pittsfield, Frank Moreno of Bow, Kieth Matte of Lebanon, Trevor Howard of Littleton, Jeff Holmes of Exeter, Mike Curtis of White Mountains, Kevin Rines and all the great people at Mascenic Regional, Mark Collins of Groveton, Jim Hill of Monadnock, Jamie Hayes of Newmarket, Mo Reese, the Nelsons, the Cheeks and the great people of GILFORD, Jim Cilley of Belmont, Mike Rathgeber of Inter-Lakes, Nick Fiset of Epping, Nate Camp of Kearsarge, Rich Otis of Pembroke, Marty Edwards of Alvirne, Sean Murphy of St. Thomas (who fired 5 assistants on Wednesday and hired back 3 after lunch…..ruthless), The Mascoma basketball boosters, Jay McKenna of Winnacunnet, Matt Fennessy of Dover, Jamie Walker of Woodsville, Lorne Lucas and the Oyster River boosters, Mike Larson of Pelham, Leo Gershgorin of Con Val, Frank Girginis of Campbell, Ryan Cowette of Goffstown and others I’m sure I am forgetting and will sneak in and add later.
For me the relationship and friendships with these coaches is a big part of loving what you do for a living. Thank you to all the coaches who gave me their time this season.
This and that plus Ellen Degeneres…………………
If I had the power to move teams from division to division here is who would be packing their bags: Timberlane goes back to Division II, Pinkerton goes down to Division II as well (I’m kidding come on!! We need laughter more than ever..)….Stevens and Kearsarge are already heading back to Division III and Laconia should be going with them, Nate Camp’s Cougars by enrollment while Stevens has petitioned down…….Littleton and Newmarket should be in Division III, both teams would have won between 12 to 14 games this year in Division III and the truth is they have outgrown Division IV. I cannot see how it is fun to win 95% of your games by 30 points or more……..Now what you have all been waiting for…The John Zavala All-Glue Guy Team named after Colebrook legend and American hero Johnny Zavala: Matt Cardarelli of Bow, Shea Zina of Mascenic, Malik Reese & Alex Cheek of Gilford, Gabe Buxton of Nashua North, Tim Greene of Bedford, Hayes Waddell of Winnacunnet, Chris Corliss of Groveton, Jonathan Kelly of Keene, Ken Healey of Dover, Connor Bosse of White Mountains, Tyler Hebert of Monadnock, Nick Bryan of St. Thomas, Brady Grzanna of Kearsarge, Matt Crowley of Pelham and TJ Dutton of Goffstown. Best team interviews: Bow, Nashua North (Curtis Harris slowly saluting at the end the video kills me…you can see it at the end of our video with the kids from Wednesday), Bedford, Pittsfield, Belmont, I didn’t interview them but Pete really like the Hanover kids so...Hanover…Exeter (with props) and Portsmouth while scarfing down pizza…..these kids are awesome and we never ever take it for granted that we are allowed into their locker rooms after a big win by the coaches and those kids. Thank you………..’The Franchise’ Jennifer Chick-Ruth and Nichole Marrero begged and pleaded with me a year ago to utilize Instagram and man were they right. We had well over 100,000 views on the post-game clips of the kids going nuts on camera with us and it has become a huge part of what we do. Those videos are awesome to go back and re-watch and yes, the girls are better than the boys but it’s very close……..speaking of Jennifer the Greatest Games Special Volume II is being worked on and we hope it will be out sometime in late April. Last summer we had all the former players come back along with the coaches and if you love high school basketball even a little, it’s going to be something you are going to want to watch over & over again. The featured games are Pelham over Campbell in the 2015 Division III semifinals, Oyster River over Pembroke Academy in the 2018 Division II semifinals, Dover over Exeter in the 2018 Division I semifinals and our highest viewed game of all-time, Groveton over Littleton in the 2017 Division IV championship…………The Players Locker Room videos were great I just wish there were more of them, I think the Bishop Guertin kids hired the editor from Star Wars to finish theirs…..yes high school kids are still picking Adam Sandler (AGE 53) to play them in movies and yes Riley Marsh picking Ellen Degeneres to play him was the overall winner….I thought Ava Woodman’s video with the entire Concord team and Jake Kidney with the entire Monadnock team was really good....two big coaching vacanies as Peter Rosinski has stepped down at Pinkerton and Rob Fauci has also stepped down at Somersworth. You are going to hear a lot of big names for that Pinkerton job.....stay tuned. Rob did an absolutely terrific job at Somersworth and is one of the most respected coaches in Division III.
People to thank, the parents nearly broke Lance and what’s coming next week
For me it was kind of fascinating to watch Lance Legere go through his first year of covering the entire state for girls’ basketball . First of all he did an incredible job, an incredible job, all while being a full-time student.
He was the first person who saw it all from behind the curtain. I started doing this 12 years ago by myself, it was basically just me for the first 5 years of the website, and so to see it through his eyes all over again was…interesting to say the least.
The first four emails/DMs he got were complaints and he learned very quickly that the player of the week poll is absolutely not something that is fun for the kids and just an opportunity to recognize five players from around the state who had a great performance last week.
Do you know why we no longer have a list of tournament scoring leaders for all four divisions as we do for the regular season?
Because we had a parent emailing us over & over again a few years ago because we didn’t have the stats for one game which would have dropped the top scorers’ average below his sons.
So as we made it all the way to six games at UNH we were still getting emails every day telling us we needed to reach out to the coach who had lost two rounds ago, to get his teams stats, so this person’s son would climb up to 3rd on the list.
Lance dealt with a lot and got very discouraged at times but kept working hard to bring the girls the coverage they absolutely deserve.
Even with a full course load. Jen meanwhile was working a full-time job and filming for UNH on weekends and still they covered the girls every single week. Often with no sponsors.
Lance and Jen did a tremendous job and to those coaches and great families like the Woodman’s who supported them, thank you so much.
Thank you to Justin McIsaac for his tireless work all season podcasting (there’s no one better in New Hampshire unless Joe Rogan moves here), covering games and writing his very popular Monday Top 10.
Thank you to Eliot Bless for all his incredible work behind the scenes year after year.
Thank you to Pete Tarrier on his triumphant return, we missed him, and also to Austin Grass, Nichole Marrero and Joel Johnston for all their talent and hard work.
A big thank you to Ben Conant, Corey McKean, Matt Parker, Mike Whaley and the boys at NH Sports Photography for letting us share their game photos.
Coming in the next two weeks we will have a final Players Locker Room performance Summary, possibly a Justin McIsaac Top 10 plus season highlight videos for the boys’ regular season, the girls’ regular season and then one video of the girls/boys combined for the tournament games we were able to cover before life for all of us changed.
We hope to cover some baseball and softball games this spring plus both the NHsportspage/BABC games and the annual CHaD game.
Next school year we will be adding girls’ volleyball to our coverage.
Thank you to the over 120,000 of you who visited us. We’re not done, we’ll keep pumping out content and giving the kids the platform they deserve.
Next year is season 13 and there is no possible way it can be as unlucky as season 12.
We will hopefully see you at the BABC games when these kids finally have their chance to get back on the court and in front of our cameras again.
Be safe everyone and we hope to see you all soon.