Choate, Tilton, & NMH Take NEPSAC Titles
The NEPSAC finals returned to Rhode Island College on Sunday as champions were crowned in classes A, AA, and AAA. Here’s a rundown of the action:
Class A – Choate Rosemary Hall 59 Milton Academy 56
It was a story of two different halves as the first 16 minutes were an absolute shootout while the second half was a defensive grind. Milton led for the vast majority of the game until back-to-back shots from Choate seniors Brad Landry and Caden Dumas gave them the lead in the final minutes of the game. Jaylan Sandifer, a post-graduate who is committed to Yale for football, earned MVP honors while Jake Sullivan made several critical passes and Jayden Nixon delivered a number of athletic plays before going down with injury. Cormac Ryan led Milton with 22 points, but scored 20 of those in the first half, while Cameron Shockley-Okeke showed his impressive offensive arsenal as well. Overall, it was a gritty effort from an unselfish Choate team that has overachieved all season long in order to become more than the sum of their individual parts.
Class AA – Tilton School 99 St. Andrew’s School 92
What was a 44-43 lead for St. Andrew’s at the half turned into a 12 point lead for Tilton midway through the second half following a 10-0 run for the Rams. Marcus Zegarowski, who went for 57 points in Saturday’s semifinals less than 24 hours earlier, scored 19 of his 23 in the second half to solidify the championship after falling in the finals a year ago. While Zegarowski’s brilliance was the story of the weekend in Class AA, the collective unselfishness, floor spacing, passing, and three-point shooting was huge for the Rams. Cameron Parker scored 21 points and handed out numerous assists while Eric Beckett and Max Zegarowski both drilled shots for 17 points each while Cal Connelly added 10. St. Andrew’s got great production for their stars as well as Cole Swider finished with 28 and Brycen Goodine had 27 including a number of high level plays. Brandon Kolek provided a spark off the bench as well with 16. The Saints cut it to as few as 4 in the final minute of the game but the Rams sealed it at the free-throw line.
Tilton wins a highly entertaining AA Championship over St. Andrews. After those 2 games, you might want to tune in to the @NEPSAC Class AAA Championship. https://t.co/OtYJy7dJ1L pic.twitter.com/E1T5dzUij7— YurView New England (@YurViewNE) March 4, 2018
Class AAA – Northfield Mount Hermon School 68 New Hampton School 59
New Hampton came in riding a huge wave of momentum having already scored a pair of road wins earlier in the week and were able to control the tempo of the game to give themselves a chance late to complete their Cinderella run. NMH responded though, delivering a late 5-0 run after seeing their lead shrink to just 3. Nate Laszewski didn’t have his normal shooting stroke on the day but still finished with 22 points and numerous rebounds as he found other ways to score and impact the game. Ryan Greer finished with 15 points and was especially big in the first half while Kai Toews added 12. Chuck Hannah had 10 but his contributions far exceeded what came up on the stat sheet including arguably the biggest bucket of the game on a Noah Kirkwood touch pass. Dyondre Dominguez scored a team high 15 points including a huge dunk and a couple of threes while Mike Adams-Woods scored 10. The championship was NMH’s second in the last three years while New Hampton’s run this week was nothing short of New England’s own Cinderella story and a sign of things to come for this young program.