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The Adrenaline Fundraising Division III Basketball Preview

By Dave Haley, 12/06/17, 6:15AM EST


Bryton Early and Somersworth come in at #2

 With its last three champions all currently residing in Division II there is a feeling around Division III that a trip to the final four in March now feels more like a possible landing-spot rather than a pipe dream.

 Pelham, champions in 2014 & 2015, moved on to Division II last season while defending champion Kearsarge and its five returning starters made the move over the summer. “I’ll miss Camper (Kearsarge longtime head coach Nate Camp),” said one  Division III head coach. “He’s one of the best guys in the game, but I won’t miss facing his team.”

 The absence of Kearsarge opens the door for what looks like a wide-open race.

 Division III does have a clear favorite from Day 1, another team that returns all five of its starters, but if the belief is once you get to the big floor at Southern New Hampshire University it’s anyone’s game applies, there is going to be a fairly crowded mad dash for the title.

 “Whoever gets to the final four this season won’t have a ton of experience to fall back on; Somersworth and Hopkinton have one or two players but even Stevens lost all five of their starters from last year."

 There is a feeling when you talk to coaches that if you are peaking at the right time and stay relatively healthy, you’ve got a shot to get to the semifinals.

 Today we break down the largest division in the state in our second of four pre-season previews.

 (You can watch both Berlin and Somersworth on Saturday in our 5th Annual Coaches for a Cause Jamboree at NHTI)

 Division III Predicted-Order









9.Mascenic Regional


Lurking outside the Top 10: St Thomas, White Mountains, Fall Mountain, Inter-Lakes & Laconia

A quick explanation of our coverage: Our team of six will bring you five columns per week, statistics & scoring leaders for the entire division and up to four games per week with video highlights & a post-game interview with the entire winning team. If you are a registered user you will see every single article and video highlight in addition to the player or players in your home being featured in our Players Locker Room and Monday Performance Roll Call. If you are a Gold Level member you will be listed as such throughout the year and have access to the fully produced full-game videos of every single game we cover.

 To join today and become a member of NHsportspage, choose your level and you will hear from me via email shortly afterward.

 For non-members there will be articles and possibly videos you will not have access to this season. We hope as a regular reader you’ll join our other subscribers and we’ll set the player in your home up as a featured member with a picture for his/her player profile page.

 Click to choose your registration level


 When Dave Morrissette took over as head coach at Berlin for his good friend Don Picard three years ago he knew the experience of sitting one seat down from one of the best coaches in the state would serve him well going forward.

 Well in the 2017-18 season if Morrissette wants to pick Picard’s brain about the out of bounds play he ran in 2010 against Conant all he has to do is yell down to the other end of the floor. “I’d certainly call Don one of the most over-qualified assistant coaches in the state,” joked Morrissette. “Just having him around the program again has been a shot in the arm for everybody.”

 Picard returns after coaching at New Hampton Prep. Just in time to see another Arsenault come through the storied program.

 Evan Arsenault is the rare four-year starter and does it at maybe the most important position in high school basketball, point guard. “Every Arsenault brother really is unique in how they play, but I truly believe out of all of them Evan has a chance to be the best defender, even better than Curtis (a 1,000 point scorer in both high school and for Plymouth State). He has fully committed to being a great defender and taken it upon himself to set the tone, effort-wise, for this team on a daily basis.”

 The weapons around Arsenault allow him to focus on handling the ball without turning it over and becoming an elite defender. Seth Balderrama, at 6’2, has as good a stroke as any player in the division and improved his ability to get to the rim over the summer. “Seth is going to be difficult to handle for other teams,” said Morrissette. “He’s just a natural scorer. Whereas when he was younger he was more of a spot up shooter he has added to his game and if you overplay his jumper, he’s going around you.”

 6’4 Joey Fodor is a bruiser in the middle who can step out and knock down jumpers to spread out the defense and create driving lanes for his teammates. “It’s important in this division to have the size to match up with big men on the block and Joey gives us that,” said Morrissette. “He’s a player who does whatever you need on a nightly basis to win.”

 Junior Sinciere Davis also had a good summer and will play a key role in the Mountaineers ability to guard in the half court. Michael Moore has the trust of his head coach and can knock down shots when given the opportunity. “This is a very unselfish group, it always has been,” said Morrissette. “I get on Evan to actually shoot more but his focus is on getting his teammates going offensively.”

 Damien Larachell gives Berlin another good rebounder off the bench as they try to get back to the final four after a two-year absence. “These guys spend a lot of time together off the court as well as on it. They know we have some very tough teams to face and right now it’s about getting better every day.”

 Somersworth head coach Rob Fauci, our 2017 Coach of the Year, knows he has a lot of weapons coming back including the pre-season player of the year. He also knows how valuable his team’s depth was a year ago as the Hilltoppers advanced to the final four.

 In 2017-18 depth is going to have to be something that develops over the next three months.

“Graduation losses hit us, like anyone else, and then there were players who didn't come out to play this season and that has a kind of a ripple effect,” said Fauci. “I worry about our depth but I also know we have the players capable of making an impact if they work hard for it.”

 What Fauci won’t have to worry about is scoring. Guard Bryton Early can give the Hilltoppers that, often in a hurry. “When he is feeling it, it’s something to see,” said Fauci. “So far in the pre-season, he has made more of an effort to move the basketball, to get his teammates involved and not turn it into ‘The Bryton Early Show’. We appreciate all that he does for us but it’s going to be tough for us to win without a bunch of different guys contributing.”

 Junior Evan Gray may be ready for a breakout year, giving Somersworth a badly needed second option. “He improved so much over the course of last season. He was really our X-Factor when we got the semifinals.”

 Gray will be joined in the starting lineup by do-everything guard Tyler Clark, a favorite of opposing coaches. “He’s so unselfish,” said Fauci. “He realizes that there are a lot of different ways to help your team win besides scoring points. He can score and he will score, but he focuses on defense, rebounding, passing, all the little traits that make up a great teammate.”

 Colby Grant will get time at center after the graduation of Chance Ennis last season. Ethan Johnson may be the team’s best communicator out on the floor while Kaleb Witham is another player like Clark, who fills whatever role Fauci needs night to night.

“If we pick-up our intensity and execution on defense we have a chance to get back to SNHU again,” said Fauci. “If we try and outscore every team we play then we are going to be on the wrong end of a lot of 66-62 games. Defense is what we need to get better at if we want to repeat the success we had last season.”

 Heavy graduation losses could make it difficult for Hopkinton to make a third consecutive trip to the final four but second-year head coach Steve Signor realizes if you are going to start over, you might as well start with a center & a point guard. “We are fairly set at those two critical positions,” said Signor of his Hawks. “It will come down to how the rotation fills in around them.”

 Kevin Newton-Delgado returns as the best shot blocker in the division and one of its most exciting players. The 6’4 center got by on raw ability a year ago, but with more attention headed his way this season his head coach wants to see his development pay off. “He is seeing the floor a lot better this year. We’d like him to post up more but he is another modern big-man who wants to square up,” said Signor. “He has the ability to do it (face the basket) but I think he could be a beast on the low block. Right now it’s about working on footwork and not drawing charges when he goes to the rim with his head down. He’s working hard on developing those skills.”

 Zach Signor returns to run the point for his father. Even if the senior guard is playing out of position he’s still one of the top point guards in the division. “I’d like to be playing him off the ball more to take advantage of his ability to knock down shots but right now we need him running the point. He makes good decisions with the ball. His assist to turnover ratio is very good and that’s pretty crucial to your offensive efficiency.”

 Junior Caleb Yianakopolos will play a very big role for the Hawks just as older brother Henry did a year ago during an all-state campaign. “He has the ability to help us in a lot of different ways this season,” said Signor.

 Kevin McGrath and Dustin Rose both return after contributing a year ago while Michael Baer should allow Signor to play off the ball at times on the wing. Senior Jake Tomlinson will give Hopkinton rebounding and the ability to bang on the low block off the bench. “We have a lot of confidence in both Dustin and Kevin, like everyone else it is about consistency,” said Signor.

“We have times where we look dominant for 10-minute stretches and then we tend to float for the next ten minutes and let the other team back in the game. We’re not consistent yet. If we find that level and stay at it we have a chance to be pretty good again.”

 Conant head coach Eric Saucier, the winner of four Division III championships, feels like his Orioles are a year away from title contention. In a wide open division though Conant’s next final four trip may come a little earlier than he thinks. “I really like this group a lot but we’re very young,” said Saucier. “I have a good feel for the areas we will be good in. The challenge is improving our weaknesses over the course of the season.”

 Ryan Smith steps into the leadership role after leading scorer JP Record graduated a year ago. Smith is the lone senior on the Conant roster. “Ryan is a player who has been in the system for three years so he understands what we are trying to accomplish on the floor. He is our best defender and has been a very vocal leader already this season. He is someone who we will depend on a lot this year.”

 Anthony Gauthier will run the Orioles offense from the point guard spot (“He is our best communicator out on the floor,” said Saucier) and is joined in the backcourt by Jake Drew and shooting guard Peyton Springfield. “Peyton was primarily a spot up shooter as a freshman but he has improved his game over the off-season,” said Saucier. “He’s a double threat now with his ability to take you off the dribble to the rim if you close out on his jumper.”

 Gavin Motuzas has had a good pre-season and might be the shooter, opposite Springfield, Conant needs to space the floor.”Gavin has shot the ball really well and he’s a very big compliment to Peyton with his ability to draw out the defense.”

 Connor Hart is another sophomore who is going to get a chance to contribute right away. “For us, it always comes down to how are we going to defend? That’s how I know if we have a team good enough to compete and beat the best teams in the division. We’re a young team but there is a lot of experience with this group after playing last season on the varsity level.”

 “Offensively this is a more balanced unit than we had a year ago when we at times sat back and let JP (Record) carry the scoring load. This is a group with a chance to accomplish a lot if we come together.”

 Since the day he took over as head coach at Campbell Sudi Lett has preached pushing the pace. In 2017-18 a talented group of guards will have the Cougars in the mix once again, and most likely playing very fast.

 “I want our players playing quicker and being able to play free doing it,” said Lett. “For me, it’s about getting them to the point where they can think the game out and play faster because of it. Once they have my system down everything comes together.”

 Senior guard Joaquin Heller is set up for a big year (“He’s playing very well for us right now”, said Lett) and will be joined in the starting lineup by Jake Scafidi and 5’10 forward Spencer Stanium. “We don’t have a lot of size but we have some athletes who can rebound and allow us to get out in transition.”

 Players Locker Room member Carter Vedrani will be a presence in the post for the Cougars when he shakes off some lingering injuries from a championship football season. “This is a balanced group where I think you’ll see a different player carrying the offensive load night to night,” said Lett. “We have a lot of different guys who I’m confident will contribute over the course of the season.”

 Monadnock head coach Jim Hill is not big into predictions, all he knows is he likes what he sees every day at practice and that he has as good of a closer as any team in the division. “I’m really excited about this group, especially our underclassman,” said Hill of his Huskies. “The kids are coming in ready to work every day and that gets contagious as a team. We also know what we have in Joe and we appreciate the kind of player he is for us.”

 Joe would be all-state guard Joe Minson who will compete for player of the year honors in the division. Minson is terrific getting to the rim and will be able to play off the ball in Hill’s offense. “We want to get him good looks and plays going towards the basket to take advantage of his abilities.”

 Zack Morrill will run the point for Monadnock and be spelled by backup Jacob Kidney. Morrill is as quick as any guard in the division and has come into the season focused on the defensive end of the floor. “He understands what an asset it is to have a player who can stop the ball & dribble penetration so that has been his focus.”

 The revelation of the pre-season has been 6’2 forward Tim Santaw, last seen on NHsportspage throwing passes at Wildcat Stadium in Durham during the team’s run to the Division III football title game. “He’s matured both physically and as a person, he’s been a real highlight of our pre-season,” said Hill. “He’s in great shape and really goes after the basketball. Right now we are working with him on his footwork and when he gets that down I think he is set up to have a big year.”

 6’4 Tom Pouliot gives the Huskies a true presence in the paint while Quinn Grover, a new arrival from Pioneer Valley HS in Massachusetts, leads a very good freshman class that will get a chance to contribute right away. “Our freshman group had a lot of success at the middle school level so as they adjust to the speed of the varsity level I’m excited to see what they can bring to this team.”

 MY Gilford Golden Eagles could end up with one of the best eight-man rotations in the division, the trick this season will be figuring out which eight players. “ There is a really good balance with this group, as far as size, athletic ability, and players that can create their own offense,” said longtime head coach (so longtime he coached me for four years) Chip Veazey.

 Shooting guard David Hart, forward Patrick Carr and 6’4 center Greg Madore are the only players returning that saw major minutes a year ago. Jumping into the mix will be a 6’3 sophomore Adrian Siravo and 6’2 Prep transfer Logan Bell. “Logan is a player who can do a lot of things to help us, on both ends of the floor,” said Veazey. “Adrian is a very good athlete, someone who catches your eye with his ability. We’d like to see him become a big contributor after a good year on the JVs last season.”

 Nate Hudson and Korey Weston both made an impact at times a year ago and will get their shot to contribute right away from the guard spot. Carr is a good defender who can guard the post with his strength and experience. “Right now we are not a very good defensive team but to be fair we haven’t gone over it a lot as the season just began,” said Veazey. “I do think this is a team that could be very good in that area by the end of the season.”

 Jonathan Nelson is one of the team’s most improved players and will get his shot to contribute right away, as will sophomore Logan Hughes. “How we do this season depends on how we develop. We have some shooters right now who can knock down shots from the mid-range and enough size where we should be able to compete on the boards every night.”

 It will be an entirely new cast for Stevens when they take the floor opening night than the team we saw go to the wire with Kearsarge in the Division III title game last March. “We lost six players to graduation and two to prep school,” said Cardinals head coach Matt Baird-Torney. “I’m sure a lot of people will assume we’ll be way down, and with good reason, but I think this group has a chance to make their own mark.”

 A very good JV team now gets their time on center stage as point guard Derek Stanhope and shooting guard Drew Grenier will lead the way for five new starters. “ Derek is a traditional point guard in that he understands where everyone needs to be on the floor and will slow the game down when things get out of control,” said Baird-Torney. “Drew has made maybe the biggest leap from the end of last season to the beginning of this one of any player I’ve coached in my four years here. He is constantly moving on offense and has developed into a very good outside shooter.”

 Tanner Durkee and Derek Roy will each contribute right away for a team with a very good flow on offense early on. “There is better ball movement than we had a year ago when we had a lot of talented players going one on one,” said Baird-Torney. “We are running stuff offensively that I couldn’t a year ago and that’s exciting for the group.”


Division IV Gold Level Coaches and Families: Mike Rathgeber of Inter-Lakes Basketball, Jim Cilley of Belmont Basketball, Jim Hill of Monadnock Basketball, Tom Bourdeau of Newfound basketball, Mike Donnell of Franklin Basketball, The Vedrani family of Campbell and The Reese Family of GILFORD


 A team annually known for their ability to score feels like they will be more diverse in 2018. Head coach Jay Starr likes what he sees early on from his Mascenic Regional Vikings. “This is a really tight group, both on and off the court,” said Starr. “There has been very good communication out on the floor, better than a lot of teams I’ve had here and I think that is a very good sign.”

 Sophomore Sammy Stauffeneker takes over as the team’s first option on offense and will be joined in the backcourt by senior point guard Drew Rines. “ Sammy has been dynamite so far in the pre-season,” said Starr. “ He has taken a major jump physically going from a freshman to a sophomore and he knows it falls on him to score for us night to night. He’s ready for that challenge.”

 “Drew is a terrific leader. He sees the floor very well and if you leave him open he has the ability to knock down jumpers and make you pay.”

 DJ Turner is the Vikings best defender and gives Starr the ability to slow down opposing scoring threats. “ He was part of our state champion cross country team so he can run for days,” said Starr. “Defense is certainly about technique but it comes down to effort a lot of the time and DJ is terrific in that respect.”

 Jake Zina is one of those glue guys you win games with and might help shake the label that Mascenic is a team that will just try and outscore you every night. “ This group is making a commitment to defend and if we do that over the course of the season I think we can be very successful,” said Starr. “Because I know we are going to score.”

 Jim Cilley’s Belmont Red Raiders gave Stevens everything it could handle on their home floor during the Division III quarterfinals a year ago and should be in the mix again in 2018.

 Graduation losses aren’t the only thing this team will have to overcome as junior point guard Derek Stevens (who scored 22 points in the loss to Stevens) has been advised not to play this season after a serious health scare last spring. “ Not having Derek is obviously a big loss for us because I think he was just beginning to see his own potential as a player,” said Cilley. “ His health and well-being is the most important thing to us so we want him around the program even if he can’t play right now.”

 “ We can’t dwell on what we lost,” said Cilley. “ We have to have the attitude that we can be better than the team we had a year ago. I certainly think we are capable of that.”

 Shooting guard Matt Pluskis steps into the role as the team’s go-to guy, and maybe even at times its point guard. “ This is Matty’s fourth year in the program so he understands what we are trying to do on both ends of the floor,” said Cilley. “ I believe he can be one of the best guards in our division, he can score in a lot of different ways, he just has to make better decisions. I need him to be more efficient offensively.”

 Griffin Embree will take over point guard duties after being a key reserve a year ago. “ He was the first guard off the bench last season and this season I think he can be a game changer on defense,” said Cilley.

 Freshman Nate Sottack has a ton of potential and will contribute right away at the guard spot. “I’m excited about him as a player. He’s a very good athlete, he comes from a family of athletes. Once he gets used to the speed of the varsity game I think he’s really going to help us a lot.”

 The X-factor will be 6’3 center Dylan Gansert who has been slowed by nagging football injuries in the pre-season. Gansert is a terrific athlete and has the speed & strength to be dominant on the low block and getting to the rim. “ He’s a physical presence for us and when he has got a head of steam going to the rim he is very tough to stop. He’s another player like Pluskis that we need consistency out of because I really think he can have a big year.”

 Caleb Burke and Matt Thurber will contribute right away as the Red Raiders face Gilford on opening night. “ We’ve been largely inconsistent in the pre-season and I think there are a lot of factors to that, including Dylan’s health. I know if we come together we have the pieces to get back to a high seed again this season.”

 Sean Murphy hasn’t completely scrapped the Grinnell Offense but the St Thomas head coach wants to concentrate on utilizing his top three players and feeding his big man in the low post. “ I have a lot of confidence in our core guys,” said Murphy. “ For us, it will be about how the players develop in our rotation. We have a lot of athletic ability  and I want to see us translate that on to the court.”

 Shawn DeKorne is poised for a breakout year at the guard spot while football teammate Tim Bouchard will ensure the Saints never have to worry about not having enough speed on the floor. “ Shawn really has improved to the point where I think you’ll see his game really take off this year,” said Murphy. “With Tim, it’s always about how hard he works out on the floor and if anything I want him to be more aggressive this season.”

 6’5 center Andrew Cavanaugh is the rare big man that actually wants to play with his back to the basket. Giving the Saints a huge weapon as players struggle to know how to play post-defense in the age of Kevin Durant. “ He caught teams by surprise last season and so he has to be ready for game plans against him this year,” said Murphy. “ We have a lot of confidence in him and when he gets going, it opens up the floor for the rest of the team.”

 Jack Benelli will give the St Thomas rebounding while Exeter transfer Matt Toth should crack the rotation as well. “ Matt is one of those tough as nails kids that we can slot in anywhere and know he is going to give you something positive,” said his head coach.

 Ethan Johnson will be another piece of a solid rotation that will look to get their athletes out on the open floor. “ We lost a lot of production to graduation last year so it will be interesting to see how we develop,” said Murphy. “ We aren’t deep enough to go five guys in, five guys out but I think we have the weapons to be pretty effective with a shorter rotation.”

 It will be a transition year for Mike Rathgeber and his  Inter-Lakes Lakers, but that doesn’t mean the quarterfinalist from a year ago aren’t a sleeper candidate in the division. “ It’s a big adjustment when you lose a player like Zach Swanson ( a 1st team all-state forward last year). When we absolutely needed a basket we got the ball to Zach in the low post and he delivered,” said Rathgeber.

 In 2017-18 Zach’s younger brother Eli, a starter last year as a freshman takes over as the new go-to guy. “ No one works harder than Eli,” said Rathgeber. “ He is a full-time basketball player, year round. We will lean on him pretty heavily this year but it will take some time for him to find his role. When to make sure everyone is involved and when we need him to score for us.”

 “ Eli is a 6’3 guard so he’s going to be a match-up problem for a lot of teams in our division.”

 Davis Jollimore is the Lakers other returning starter and gives Rathgeber experience in the backcourt. “Davis isn’t a natural point guard but we need him handling the ball for us. He does such a good job of reading the floor without the ball and finding the open spot.”

 6’2 forward Jayden Lara could be the surprise of the team as the power forward joins the basketball program after another standout football campaign. “ He has really been a pleasant surprise for us,” said Rathgeber. “ He hasn’t played in three years but with his athletic ability and effort level he has been really good on the boards and the low block.”

 Tae Miller will contribute right away, as will blue-collar forward Quinn Taylor. Rathgeber is also excited about the potential of his best JV player a year ago, Eli Dupigney, “ He has really played very well in spurts,” said his head coach. “ He has to get used to the speed of the game but once he adjusts I think he will really help us this season.”

 Mike Curtis returns as head coach at White Mountains Regional with a young nucleus that may sneak up on the division in 2018. “We start three juniors and two sophomores,” said Curtis who coached the Spartans to a 2012 final four appearance. “ So it’s a group with a lot to learn but also a lot of upside. We feel like we have enough size to give some teams trouble match-up wise.”

 The frontcourt of 6’4 Zeke Pribbemow and 6’3 lefty Griffin Crane should hold their own on the glass. Pribbemow will set up on the low block while Crane has shown the ability to attack the rim from the wing. “ We’re developing as a half-court team,” said Curtis, “ we want to try and slow the game down to utilize our size.”

 Sophomore guard Jack Curtis, the coach’s son, will play slightly out of position at the point, “ I’d like to get him open looks off the ball,” but gives White Mountains a good ball handler for teams that will try and speed the Spartans up. “ Our goal is to control the pace and keep the game in the 40’s.”

 Buddy Lachance gives Curtis another good athlete on the wing while sophomore Connor Bosse will start from Day 1. “ My goal with this group is to develop a bench as the season goes along,” said Curtis. “ If we do that and keep working we might be able to surprise some people.”

 The youth movement continues in Laconia where head coach Steve McDonough will lean heavily on a very good group of underclassman. “ It’s a good group and there has been a lot of daily competition for the top 8 spots in the rotation,” said McDonough. “We have a couple of players who could be ready for breakout years.”

 Leading that list is 6’3 junior Ryan Paiva, “ He’s really had a great pre-season and he’s grown a lot, both physically & with his maturity,” said McDonough. “ He’s worked very hard to improve his game and I can see that he realizes this is a group ready to take that next step.”

 Paiva will give the Sachems strength on the low block while forward Jake Steele has the athletic ability to clean up missed shots on the offensive boards. “ Jake can jump out of the gym so when you put him and Ryan down low together it’s a pretty tough combination.”

 Christian Gaspa is a three-year varsity player who will run the point for McDonough while sophomore Ryan Chandler gives him a weapon on the perimeter. “ He was our best shooter a year ago and remains so today but what has impressed me most about Ryan is the ability now to get to the rim. He needed to add that to his game because I think more & more teams will be keying on him this season.”

 The trio of sophomore Ryan Dee, senior Jack Maher, and junior Kelby Brooker are going to play right away and McDonough sees all three making an impact. “ We are confident in the rotation we are going to have out on the floor every night. Our issue in the past has been in scoring points so it remains to be seen if we can get over that hump but I believe we will. We have the pieces to be a pretty good basketball team.”

 After putting a scare into Hopkinton in last year’s Division III first-round Mike Donnell wants another shot at the post-season for his Franklin basketball team, and possibly even a longer stay. “ They got a taste of the post-season a year ago and there was enough to be taken away from how we competed to feel pretty good as we go into a new season.”

 It begins with all-state guard Jayden Torres who will be among the leading scorers this year as a senior.

“ He is our leader on the court and I think Jayden is one of the best pure shooters in the state, let alone our division,” said Donnell. “ He understands that defenses are going to be keying on him so he needs to be smarter with his decisions on the floor. He will have to work a little harder to get his looks but I’m very confident he will do both.”

 RJ Smith might be a difference maker after deciding to come out for the team this winter. Smith gives  Donnell a power forward that can rebound and create second-chance opportunities, something Franklin lacked a year ago. “ I don’t even think he realizes how good he can become if he puts the work in. I think he is really going to help us a lot this season.”

 Harrison Clark and Ben LaFrance will both start for the Golden Tornadoes and each will be able to spread the floor with their ability to knock down jumpers. “ We have a really good junior class and they’re a strong group. Physically I think we will hold up in games even better than we did a year ago.”

 Life after Alex Schwarz (our co-player of the year last season) will have its challenges for Jim Barry and his Mascoma Royals. Namely scoring enough points on a nightly basis to get back to the post-season again. “ We are struggling to score right now and so that has to change in a hurry,” said Barry. “ If we don’t hold teams to under 40 points we have almost no chance to win.”

 Killian Dowd and Dakota Decocq are both returning starters who were role players a year ago. With Schwarz and two other starters gone they now will have to set the tempo on the defensive end. “ We will have to create easy baskets with our defense,” said Barry. “ Alex scored over 50% of our points last season so we need a few new players to step up over the course of the season.”

 Tom Bourdeau, who coached Prospect Mountain to a Division III title game appearance in 2012, begins his second season at Newfound with a lot of new faces and optimism to where the program is headed. “We had 33 kids come out for tryouts after a really great summer so that was really encouraging to see,” said Bourdeau.

 AJ Muse and Mason Dalphonse lead a group that includes shooting guard James Shokal, & center Mike Doan. “ AJ& Mason have been scoring consistently in the pre-season and I expect to see that continue into the season. James is a shooter who can spread the floor for us and Mike is an undersized center who really works extremely hard for us.”

 After two wins over the past three seasons, Bourdeau hopes the Bears can contend for a playoff spot in 2018. “ I’d love to see us compete night to night but we have a very tough schedule again this year. It’s a fun group to work with every day, we’ll see how we do when the games begin Friday night.”


 Pre-Season Player of the Year: Bryton Early of Somersworth


 Pre-Season First Team All-State

 Bryton Early of Somersworth

 Evan Arsenault of Berlin

 Joe Minson of Monadnock

 Kevin Newton-Delgado of Hopkinton

 Seth Balderrama of Berlin


  Second Team

 Jayden Torres of Franklin

 Eli Swanson of Inter-Lakes

 Sammy Stauffeneker of Mascenic Regional

 Matt Pluskis of Belmont

 Peyton Springfield of Conant


With apologies to: Joey Fodor of Berlin, Ryan Smith & Jake Drew of Conant, Davis Jollimore of Inter-Lakes, Zach Signor of Hopkinton, Joaquin Heller of Campbell, David Hart & Adrian Siravo of Gilford, Ryan Paiva  of Laconia, Dylan Gansert of Belmont, DJ Turner of Mascenic Regional, Drew Greneir & Derek Stanhope of Stevens, Shawn DeKorne & Andrew Cavanaugh of St Thomas, Evan Gray & Tyler Clark of Somersworth, Kyle Mann of Winnisquam, Griffin Crane & Zeke Pribbemow of White Mountains


The New Hampshire High School Hoops Show returns Saturday morning at 9:07 am. Pete Tarrier & Dave Haley re-cap every game from the Friday night schedule while covering all four divisions. We’ll have two coaches on the show every week and you can listen in right here on our homepage by clicking the LISTEN LIVE BUTTON. The show comes to every week on 99.9 FM & 1370 WFEA radio in the Manchester area or listen in on your TuneIn Radio App.


This Saturday morning we will be broadcasting live from NHTI, site of our 5th Annual Coaches for a Cause Jamboree with six games between the best teams in the state beginning at noon.


 Next Tuesday: Division II


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