NHIAA Season Wrap-Up
NHIAA Division 1 – Londonderry 47 Pinkerton 46
A thrilling title game between arch-rival schools. Londonderry wins their first boys basketball championship in school history and completes a perfect 22-0 season. They were led all season long by their ‘Big 3’ of Cody Ball, Marc Corey and Jacob Coleman. All three of them can move the ball well, can shoot it from anywhere and defend.
The final was a low-scoring game, as both teams had stretches where they went cold offensively. Londonderry’s Brandon Radford made what turned out to be the winning layup with just under a minute left. Corey scored 17 in the title game, Coleman dropped 16 and Ball was named D-I Player of the Year.
Pinkerton’s Matt Rizzo scored a team-high 12 points, but missed a potential game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer. Teammate Geo Baker put on a show in the semi-finals by pouring in 30 points, but was held to just 10 in the ship’. Both Pinkerton and Londonderry had to make furious 2nd half comebacks in the semifinals, as Spaulding was led by Darian Berry with 22 points and nearly beat Londonderry.#15 seed Nashua North made a Cinderella run to the Final Four before falling to Pinkerton.
NHIAA Division 2 – Bishop Brady 58 Portsmouth 56
A thrilling win for Bishop Brady and a heart-breaking loss for Portsmouth in the finals. Portsmouth led by as many as 10, and with just 1:30 left in the 4th quarter they were up 56-50. Bishop Brady ends the game on an 8-0 run, as Jourdain Bell hits two 3-pointers late to tie it, and then with under 10 seconds left his team got a steal and his brother Joe Bell makes the winning layup.
Bishop Brady was led by their ‘Big 3’ of the Bell brothers and Brendan Johnson. Jourdain Bell dropped 27 points, while freshman guard Cody Graham poured in 17 in defeat for Portsmouth.
The semi-finals were both decided by double digits, as Bishop Brady defeated Goffstown and Portsmouth advanced past Lebanon. Goffstown and Lebanon got strong point guard play from Marcus Haynes and K.J. Matte, respectively.
NHIAA Division 3 – Pelham 51 Conant 42
Pelham completes a 22-0 season by defeating 2-time defending champs Conant in the title game. Pelham had to really work hard for their wins in the semis vs. Campbell and in the ship, but most of their games during the season were blowouts. Pelham was led by six kids who may all go on to play college ball, including D-III Player of the Year Keith Brown, Salem State commit Ryan Cloutier, Dylan Silvestri, Ryan Rondeau, David Rogers and Kyle Frank.
In the championship game win, Pelham was led by Brown with 20 points and 9 rebounds and Silvestri who had 16 points and 8 boards. Josh Degrenier led Conant with 17 points. Campbell gave Pelham a tough test in the semi-finals, as they were led by Harrison Vedrani and Zach Bergeon.
NHIAA Division 4 – Wilton-Lyndeborough 50 Epping 46
Jordan Litts showed why he’s the best player in D-IV, putting the team on his back and leading Wilton-Lyndeborough to its state title in school history. Hit a pair of clutch 3-pointers late, with the second one putting his team in the lead. Then he made a layup with under 10 seconds left to put the game (and championship) on ice.
Litts was awarded D-IV Player of the Year. He scored 19 of his game-high 22 points in the 2nd half, while teammate Trey Carrier chipped in with 15. Defending champs Epping put forth a valiant effort, and were led by Colby Wilson who dropped 19 points in defeat.
NERR’s All-NHIAA Team
Cody Ball, 6’3 senior (Londonderry) – Ball is headed to Saint Anselm’s next year to play ball, all season long he showed why. Very few players in the area have improved as much in the past two years. During that time Ball has grown 3-4 inches, he’s gotten stronger, quicker and his all-around skill set have gotten better. He now has a lethal long range jumper, elevating high off the ground and using a high release. He can shoot off the dribble or the catch, is an underrated passer and a tenacious defender.
Geo Baker, 6’2” sophomore (Pinkerton) – A sure-fire scholarship level prospect, Baker transferred to Pinkerton from Buckingham Brown & Nichols and took their NHIAA by storm. Baker is another kid who has grown a few inches which has helped his game. Baker is a wizard with the basketball in his hands, able to push the tempo and make good reads. He has a deadly long range shot with a high release, but is also a true point guard capable of making his teammates better.
Jourdain Bell, 6’1” junior (Bishop Brady) – Through the years Bell has been known as a player who thrives in transition and using his explosiveness to lead or finish on the break. This season he proved to be equally dangerous in the half court, with his ability to penetrate into the lane and either kick it out to an open shooter or dump it down to a big man for scores. Then in the ship’ Bell showed he could drain the 3, hitting 4 long range shots, including 3 in the 4th quarter to lead his team to the title.
Max Curran, 6’8” senior (Pembroke) –Another player who has improved a ton over the past year or 2, taking his game to new heights. A 6-foot-8 wing, no other player in the NHIAA has the combination of size and skill that Curran possesses. Curran has a smooth stroke from beyond the arc and has a rapidly improving face-up and post-up game. Curran is also a formidable shot blocker. He dropped 44 points in leading his team to a playoff win.
Jordan Litts, 6’0 senior (Wilton-Lyndeborough) – Litts moved up to NH from Texas prior to his junior season. He was the best player in Division IV this season, taking over the finals and leading his team to the title. Litts can play the 1 or the 2, he can slash to the rim or hit the outside shot. He can get high up on rebounds, block shots and has a strong frame for a guard.
Keith Brown, 6’1” junior (Pelham) – Brown won D-III Player of the Year and led Pelham to an undefeated championship season. Arguably the best all-around player in the NHIAA. Brown can score, rebound, pass and defend. He hits clutch shots, he takes charges. He’s a leader. Often times he runs the point for Pelham, but you’ll also see him in the paint either posting up or battling for boards.
Darian Berry, 6’2”, senior (Spaulding) – Spaulding is a team that made up of blue collar, disciplined, fundamentally sound players. Berry embodies all of that, and he is the one who really made that team go. The St. Joe’s of Maine commit led them to the Final Four and was one of the state’s leading scorers. He can slash to the rim or shoot it from 3. He goes 100% every minute he’s out there, but never plays out of control.
K.J. Matte, 6’0”, sophomore (Lebanon) – A true point guard with a good handle, can change speeds with the basketball and sees the floor well. Matte is capable of taking a game over at any time, with his ability to score in bunches and in a variety of ways. Matte has a killer pull-up jumper and is a very good passer.
D.J. Frechette, 6’1”, (Nashua South) – Speaking of kids capable of heating up and scoring in bunches, that’s certainly what you get with Frechette. An absolutely lethal outside shooter with ‘in the gym’ range, Frechette will pull-up at any time, from anywhere on the court. He can also take his man off the dribble.
Joey Martin, 6’3” senior (Manchester Central) – Martin moved up to NH from Florida prior to his junior season, and then when on to win his first 38 straight games in a Central uniform. He’s a winner, and does all of the little things necessary to win games. He sets good screens, plays good team defense, makes the extra pass, is a good rebounder and can drain the outside shot.
Dominic Timbas, 6’5”, senior (Pembroke) – Timbas played center for Pembroke’s D-II championship team a couple years ago. Last year he inside but also out on the wing a little. This year he played point guard for the first team. He’s a versatile player who plays wherever his team needs him and still produces. Few plays in the state have the inside/outside game that Timbas has.
To read more of Jeremy's coverage of the New Hampshire basketball recruiting scene, visit the New Hampshire Notebook at www.nhnotebook.com