NHIAA Season in Review
NHIAA Division 1 – Trinity 50 Bishop Guertin 46
Trinity earned hard fought wins over Nashua South in the semis and over Bishop Guertin in the finals. In both wins (and all season long) the Pioneers were led by senior forward Mabor Gabriel and junior wing Carmen Giampetruzzi (committed to Boston College for baseball. Gabriel put on a dominating performance in the semi-finals with 26 points and 14 rebounds, and Giampetruzzi was the MVP of the title game with 18 points and 13 rebounds.
Bishop Guertin game Trinity all they could handle in the finals. They were in the game the whole way and only trailed by 2 with 30 seconds left. Senior forward Jeff Lunn did a good job defensively on Gabriel, plus scored 15 points and had 10+ rebounds. Also contributing for Trinity was Brad Rhoades, Patrick Keefe, Wenyen Gabriel and Ryan Otis.
NHIAA Division 2 – Pembroke 49 Souhegan 41
Pembroke was the only undefeated boys basketball team in the NHIAA this season. They were the clear cut favorites in this division all year long and even though they played all year with a target on their back they got the job done. The Spartans were led by their ‘Big 3’ of Patrick Welch, Rene Maher and Matt Persons, plus got strong performances by forwards Jordan Williams and Dominic Timbas.
Welch, considered by many to be the best player in the NHIAA, exploded for 28 points in the semi-finals, when Pembroke crushed Coe Brown 62-31. In the finals Pembroke came back from a 9 point 2nd quarter deficit to win it. Souhegan was led by point guard Brandon Len who had 21 points in the semis vs. Lebanon and 13 points in the title game.
NHIAA Division 3 – Conant 66 Campbell 46
It was a dominating performance in the Final Four by Conant, who won their 6th state championship in the last 8 years. The Orioles won both their semi-final and title games by 20+ points, proving that not only are they the hands down best team in D-III but they are one of the top teams in the whole state.
Conant was led by Devin Springfield, who had 26 points in the semi-finals and Robert O’Brien who had 21 points in the finals. Their only loss all year came when they played without starter Jake Carlson. Playing well on both ends of the floor for the runners-up Campbell was senior point guard Max Gouveia.
NHIAA Division 4 – Lisbon 38 Derryfield 36
Lisbon trailed 30-23 with 6:23 left in the 4th quarter of the title game, but they made a gutsy come back to pull out the win. It is Lisbon’s second D-IV title in the last 3 years, and junior Chad Knighton has been the starting point guard of both of those teams. Knighton led the comeback with some clutch hoops and a team-high 14 points.
NERR’s All-NHIAA Team
Patrick Welch, 6’1 junior (Pembroke) – This kid just keeps getting better. He is the prototypical shooting guard, if he was taller he would have D-I colleges begging him to play for them. Even still Welch has developed into a lethal weapon with his ability to score at will on the fast-break, and is also a deadly outside shooter. Welch has an extra gear most players don’t have, and can score in bunches.
Mabor Gabriel, 6’7 senior (Trinity) – Gabriel is long, athletic and this season he played harder than ever before. He always had the size, athleticism and talent, but this season he really played with a purpose on a nightly basis, crashing the offensive glass, never giving up on a play and hustling over from the weak side to block shots. If he does a PG year he could definitely end up being a scholarship player.
Eric Gendron, 6’3 junior (Merrimack) – With most of the talent from last year’s championship team graduated or at a prep school (Dimitri Floras), Gendron had to carry the team. He responded to the challenge by raising his game up to another level and leading Merrimack to a 13-5 record. Gendron is long, fearless, can hit the 3 or take it to the rim.
Troy Pelletier, 6’3 senior (Manchester Central) – Will he play basketball or football in college? That’s the big question, as Pelletier is getting recruited in both sports (a wing in basketball and a wide receiver in football). Pelletier was the best player on a team that went 15-3 during the season, and he is the best all-around player in the state.
Tim Preston, 5’11” junior (Nashua South) – A third year starter at point guard, Preston has a terrific feel for the game and plays at a very fast pace. He always pushes the tempo but never gets out of control, and also makes good decisions as far as when to dish it off and when to take it himself. An intriguing point guard prospect for the Class of 2014.
Dominic Paradis, 6’5” senior (Spaulding) – In the preseason we referred to him as Mr. Fundamental, because while of his fundamentally sound skill set and techniques. Over the course of the season though he got even better, as Paradis got more comfortable away from the basket, whether facing up and hitting 3’s, taking his man off the dribble or helping out in the back court to break the press.
Brandon Len, 5’10” senior (Souhegan) – It’s him or Tim Preston for the title of best point guard in the NHIAA. While Preston is a year younger and a little taller, Len is a better passer and 3-point shooter. Len is the best passer in the state, controls the tempo of a game and really plays the game with heart. Like Preston, Len is also very good at running the pick-and-roll to get quality looks.
Jack Preston, 6’5” senior (Nashua South) – it’s definitely rare for two brothers to both make the short list of the state’s top prospects, but both Prestons are deserving. While Tim is the point guard, Jack is the big man. Both of them thrive in an up-tempo game, as Jack excels at running the floor and beating the opposing big down the floor. He can then slam down a thunderous dunk, finish a tough and-1, or hit a spot-up 3. Not as polished but more athletic than most bigs, Jack is a senior but is still scratching the surface of his potential.
To read more of Jeremy's coverage of the New Hampshire basketball recruiting scene, visit the New Hampshire Notebook at www.nhnotebook.com