Category Archives: Merrimack

Manchester Central escapes with the D1 title 60-58 in OT over Merrimack

Manchester Central realizes that they are the 2016 New Hampshire Division 1 champions

Manchester Central realizes that they are the 2016 New Hampshire Division 1 champions

Was the shot good or not?

Was the shot good or not?

(Durham NH) This game was so close that the losing team celebrated after the game ended.

But that celebration by Merrimack was short-lived as they learned that Noah Beygelman’s 3-pointer had not beaten the buzzer.

Manchester Central, thereby, escaped (barely) with a 60-58 overtime win and claimed the New Hampshire Division 1 title for the second time in three years.

The Saturday encounter at UNH was a delight to watch and there were plenty on hand at the Lundholm Gym doing exactly that.

Jaylen Leroy (25 points and 10 rebounds)

Jaylen Leroy (25 points and 10 rebounds)

The Little Green (15-4) started fast riding three-pointers by Evan Macdonald, Jaylen Leroy, and Osiah Lewis to a 20-12 advantage one minute into the second quarter.

The Tomahawks (13-6) used the next 3+ minutes to run nine unanswered points and take the lead (21-20).  Ian Roberts and Ian Cummings put all the points together for Merrimack.

The rest of the game was tight….very tight.  How tight was it?  Neither team led by more than four points.  There were sixteen lead changes and nine ties the rest of the way.  That’s tight!

The 2016 Player-of-the-Year (Jaylen Leroy) led all scorers with twenty-five points.  The 6-3 senior added ten rebounds and three steals.  He also found himself at the free throw line sixteen times, including late in regulation and late in overtime.

Jaylen drained two freebies with 32 seconds left in regulation to get Central to overtime.  His 3-of-6 in the final minute of OT gave the Little Green the stay-ahead points in crunch time.

Be certain that the outcome of this tense struggle was not decided until the referees ruled off substitute Noah Beygelman’s 3-point shot, after the game ended.

Andrew Wojciak fires and hits a three late in OT

Andrew Wojciak fires and hits a three late in OT

In the final nineteen seconds of the four-minute overtime, Zack Kerr (21 points) and Jon Makori (14 points) tallied two free throws each.  Jon’s two gave MC a 59-55 lead with sixteen second left.

In the next possession Zack looked as if he wanted the shot but instead found teammate Andrew Wojciak wide open in the left corner.  Andrew (11 points) fired a three.  The shot hit the rim, went straight up, and fell through.  Now the Tomahawks were within one with eight seconds left.

You knew a foul was coming with five seconds to go and Jaylen Leroy was fouled.

Jaylen missed the first and made the second to up MC’s lead to two (60-58).

With no timeouts left, and five seconds to work with, Zack Kerr hurried up the left side with freshman Osiah Lewis covering him.

Zack Kerry guarded by Osiah Lewis in the last five seconds of OT

Zack Kerry guarded by Osiah Lewis in the last five seconds of OT

My pictures suggest that Zack wanted to drive but Jaylen Leroy slid into the lane as an extra defender.  So Zack put on the brakes, intent on going up long range.  However, defender Osiah deflected the ball out of Zack’s hands and it caromed over to Noah Beygelman.  Noah took a dribble toward the middle and had an open look at a three. mema-A9-Osiah-Lewis-deflects-the-ball-away-from-Zack-Kerr

mema-A8-Noah-Beygelman-about-to-shootNoah’s shot went up and the shot went in but the red light on the backboard had gone on before Noah’s release.

Evan Macdonald and Jaylen Leroy celebrate

Evan Macdonald and Jaylen Leroy celebrate

You never saw such a mood swing.  One moment the Merrimack team/crowd was screaming and jumping in ecstasy and the next thing it was Manchester Central’s turn.

I can guarantee you that Noah was not the designated last-second shot taker because he had only come into the game for the very first time with just five seconds left.  I have no doubt, however, that the senior is a 3-point shooter or Coach Goodridge wouldn’t have inserted him. Noah was a split-second away from being a huge hero.

Ian Roberts (11 points/10 rebounds) had a double/double for Merrimack.  Jaylen Leroy (25 points/10 rebounds) did the same for Manchester Central.

Impressed with Jaylen Leroy and Zack Kerr.  Jaylen had a terrific demeanor.  Didn’t get overly excited, just let the game come to him.  When he had the ball one-on-one you guessed that he could get a shot off from anywhere with a good chance for it to go in.  Zack (6-1) had all the shots and was not afraid to dart to the hoop.

On February 16th Manchester Central had a 69-53 win over Merrimack.  Jaylen Leroy had twenty-two in that one.

Zack Kerr (21 points)

Zack Kerr (21 points)

Manchester Central now has nineteen state titles.

This was the third time the two teams have met in the title game in the last six years.  Merrimack won in 2012.

Both teams were content to weave the ball on the exterior looking for openings.

I am used to a 30-second clock but there was never a need for one in this game.

The fans were loud and both teams had a flag carrier.

Game Box

I am deeply indebted to the UNH stat crew.  They provided the stats that made this write-up possible.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Jaylen Leroy fouled by Ian Roberts

Jaylen Leroy fouled by Ian Roberts

Zack Kerr guarded by Evan Macdonald

Zack Kerr guarded by Evan Macdonald

Jaylen Leroy elevates for two

Jaylen Leroy elevates for two

Zack Kerr, Mike Dudash, Andrew Wojciak, Ian Roberts

Zack Kerr, Mike Dudash, Andrew Wojciak, Ian Roberts

Ian Cummings (14 points) defended by Osiah Lewis

Ian Cummings (14 points) defended by Osiah Lewis

Ian Roberts (11 points) looks for room against Jaylen Leroy

Ian Roberts (11 points) looks for room against Jaylen Leroy

Jon Makori

Jon Makori

Noah Beygelman

Noah Beygelman

March to the foul line

March to the foul line

Jon Makori (13 points)

Jon Makori (13 points)

Merrimack celebrates but notice the referee

Merrimack celebrates but notice the referee

Evan Macdonald, Coach Wheeler, Jaylen Leroy with D1 trophy

Evan Macdonald, Coach Wheeler, Jaylen Leroy with D1 trophy

Manchester Central team picture

Manchester Central team picture

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Manchester Central, Merrimack

Winnacunnet wins with surprising ease (62-31) over Merrimack in boys basketball

High scorer Quinn Parker lines up one of his seventeen points

(Hampton NH) If the win/loss records had been reversed, this one would have made sense……but there was 5-10 Winnacunnet beating the daylights out of 11-4 Merrimack, 62-31, on a rainy Friday night.

Jackson King and Dimitri Floras watch from the sidelines

Granted the Tomahawks were missing two very good injured players (Dimitri Floras and Jackson King), but those two might not have been enough on this night.

The Warriors (6-10) had it going on both ends early.  They held the visitors scoreless for nearly five minutes while putting up eight points of their own to take the lead from the get-to for good, as it turned out.

Winnacunnet had layups from Rich Ruffin (6 points) and Ryan Gigliotti (11 points) plus a jump shot and a converted rebound by high scorer Quinn Parker (17 points).

Down eight points and a timeout later, the Tomahawks (11-5) finally got on the board (two Jeff Giannelli free throws) and matched the Warriors for a few minutes.  A nifty backdoor cut by Tyler Gendron (9 points) with an assist to Brad Jarry put the Merrimack deficit at 14-8.

Because Winnacunnet was carrying a six-game losing streak, my thinking was that this would be a back-and-forth contest the rest of the way.

It didn‘t turn out that way at all! The next five minutes of playing time, stretching to the 4:17 mark of the second quarter, was completely dominated by Winnacunnet.  And similar to the start,  the damage to the Tomahawks was on both ends.  They didn’t score for the 5+ minutes while the Warriors rolled up eleven straight.

The home team was really in command, by the time Tyler Gendron hit a free throw to stop the bleeding.  The Warriors lead was, 25-9, and there were still 2 ½ quarters left.

Ryan Gigliotti (11 points) hits in the lane

During the eleven unanswered, Ben Gareau (10 points) contributed a free throw while Ryan Gigliotti added a spinning layup and a free throw.  Ryan also set up Sam Knollmeyer (10 points) for a long one that ended the first quarter.  Sam added an end-to-end layup and two free throws.

As you can see, Winnacunnet was getting scoring from everywhere while Merrimack struggled to connect from even in close.  It certainly didn’t help that the Tomahawks recorded six turnovers during the lengthy scoring lapse.

The lead was 32-14 at the half, 48-26 after three periods, and 62-31 when it was over.

This was clearly a game that was won early.  Let it be noted that there wasn’t a letup in the effort by either squad despite the large lead.

Minus a shot clock, the Tomahawks had to extend their defense in an attempt to start some sort of a rally.  Here again, the team with the five wins and the six-game losing streak showed the ability to deal with double teams and full court pressure remarkably well.  Instead of getting closer, Merrimack lost more ground.

Sam Knollmeyer (10 points) finds space

Not having Dimitri Floras was huge for Merrimack.  The junior led Division 1 in scoring last season.  He is supposed to be back in March.  His scoring was badly missed by Coach Tom Goodridge and his Tomahawk team versus Winnacunnet.

Merrimack has now lost three straight.  They will host Bishop Guertin on Tuesday night.

Winnacunnet broke their six game losing stretch.  They had been 0-for-February before tonight’s win.  They host Manchester Central on Tuesday.

This was the first New Hampshire high school game I have seen.  Most of the games I cover have been in Massachusetts.  Two differences between the two states are the lack of a shot clock in NH and the fact that all the players have mouth guards in NH.

I did see, arguably, the best team in New England (Brewster Academy) defeat Tilton on Monday afternoon at Wolfeboro.

Winnacunnet boxscore

Merrimack boxscore

(All of the pictures above and below enlarge significantly if you click on them.)

Rich Ruffin fires from the wing

Eric Gendron defended by Sam Knollmeyer

Ben Gareau defended by Tyler Gendron

Tyler Gendron (9 points) shoots

chuck-a-duck judging

young dribbler

midcourt scramble

Spencer Kennedy

1 Comment

Filed under Merrimack, Winnacunnet