Category Archives: Portsmouth

Winnacunnet reaches NH D1 Final Four with 54-43 win over Portsmouth

Brett Marelli battles inside the Portsmouth zone defense

Warriors start to celebrate

(Portsmouth NH) Winnacunnet avoided the upset defeating Portsmouth, 54-43, to gain the Final Four in Division 1.

The Warriors (10-4) will face Trinity on Wednesday (5PM) at Oyster River.

The Clippers (7-6) had lost twice to Winnacunnet in this season of regional schedules.

“Portsmouth was strictly man-to-man the previous two times,” recalled senior Brett Marelli.  “They had some success with a zone defense against Exeter so that is probably why they tried it against us.”

And that Portsmouth zone worked………for 2+ quarters.

The Clippers were up, 32-22, after Coleman Brewster (10 points) made a jump shot at the 5:33 mark of the third quarter.

Timeout Winnacunnet.  “I told the team,” said Warriors coach Jay McKenna, “we didn’t come this far, to come this far.  We couldn’t just be happy with beating Exeter.  We had bigger goals.  Things we wanted to do.”

Elynn Houston (12 points) finds an opening in the lane

What they needed to do, was handle the Portsmouth zone better.

“We struggled with the zone,” said Brett Marelli.  “What we needed to do was move around, pass, and cut into the middle.  It eventually worked and we started rolling.”

Winnacunnet finished the last 5 ½ minutes of the third quarter on a 14-2 run, took the lead (Joshua Schaake three), and held it the rest of the way.

Recalling the turnaround, Elynn Houston (12 points) said, “We brought the energy.  We turned the whole season around”

Six different Warriors contributed points during the crucial segment.  “I liked the way the guys shared the ball and created open shots for each other,” added Coach McKenna.

The Clippers had fallen behind, but they were far from finished in the 4th quarter.

A fallaway in the lane (Carmine Zingariello) reduced the WHS lead to, 38-36.  A minute later a long three by Kevin Cummings (19 points) and the lead was one point – 40-39.

The Clippers, in fact, were just one possession (44-41) away with three minutes to go in the game.

James O’Hara (12 points) gets loose in close in the final quarter

But then the unselfish Warriors found James O’Hara (12 points) twice in close for layups.  Assists to Brett Marelli and Lucas Schaake.

Out of one-possession range the Clippers went, 48-41, and they couldn’t recover in the final minute.

“First half we got down a little bit,” said James O’Hara post-game.  “We had to keep our heads up.  We knew we could battle back.  We’ve done it before after a sloppy first half.”

Senior Kevin Cummings was the key to Portsmouth getting the big start.  He had fourteen of the Clippers first thirty-two points including three 3’s.

“They have two of the best scorers in the state,” said Coach McKenna.  “That we could hold Portsmouth to only forty-three points was a good defensive effort on our part.”

Scramble on the floor as both coaches watch

Portsmouth coach John Mulvey: “Their size affected us, and we ran out of gas.  The purpose of using the zone was to give them one shot and out.  That worked for a while but later on they started getting inside and rebounding and it cost us.”

James O’Hara: “Portsmouth is a great team.  We knew that they can makes 3’s and are streaky.  We knew that we had to lock up, get some turnovers, and convert them into baskets.”

I asked James about his last-second drive to the basket with his team having an eight-point lead.  “I feel bad that I made that last basket, since we didn’t need it.  I just wasn’t sure how far ahead we were.  I was just playing.”

James O’Hara on a late drive

The Warriors now move closer to a championship game next Saturday.  Coach McKenna was well aware that it has been a long time since Winnacunnet has won a boys basketball title.

“The last time we won it was in 1992 and I was on the team,” he said with a smile.

Portsmouth box

Winnacunnet box

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

This story will be posted on my McClelland Miscellanea online blog.  The link to it will be on my Twitter site @McClellandPeter.  I will also post some of the pictures on my Instagram site @McClellandMiscellanea.

Kevin Cummings (19 points) led all scorers

Matt Minckler (7 points)

Tight Clippers defense

Coleman Brewster (10 points) makes a fancy layup in traffic

Carmine Zingariello lines up a three

Brett Marelli (9 points)

Elynn Houston (12 points)

James O’Hara (12 points)

Joshua Schaake

Ryan Minckler (4) and Brett Marelli (24)

Backcourt pressure

Game ends




Leave a comment

Filed under Portsmouth

Portsmouth reaches the D2 finals with 55-46 win over Coe-Brown Northwood Academy

Kamahl Walker (10 points) heads for the hoop

Darren Doyon (20 points) set for inbounds pass

(Durham NH)  It’s on to the D2 finals for Portsmouth as they defeated Coe-Brown Northwood, 55-46, on Wednesday night at UNH.

The (19-2) Clippers return to the finals (Saturday 1PM) for the second straight year.  Last year they were taken out by undefeated Milford.  Their opponent this time around with be #5 seed Bedford.

My preview reading about the Portsmouth/Coe-Brown matchup revealed that the (12-9) Bears had already lost twice (in January) to Portsmouth.  However, the score in the first meeting was 54-53 so, despite being the #11 seed, there existed the possibility that the team from Northwood might be able to challenge the Clippers.

And challenge they did, holding a lead (34-33) midway through the third quarter and being within two points (44-42) with 4 ½ minutes left in the game.

But Portsmouth put together a decisive pull away in that final quarter after Damon Doyle’s triple (off the backboard from straight away) put the Bears within two points.

Kamahl Walker collides with Darren Doyon

The Clippers have the outside game but it was the inside game over the next game-clinching two minutes that gave Portsmouth a run of six unanswered points.  A Charlie Duprey layup, a short jumper from Kyle Dicesare (assist to Kamahl Walker), and a Gregg Tsougranis layup (from Billy Lane) produced the points that gave Portsmouth its largest lead (50-42) with 2:20 remaining.

The Clippers spread the floor thereafter and made five of six free throws the rest of the way to gain a 55-46 victory.

Senior 6-2 Gregg Tsougranis (17 points) quietly led the Clippers in scoring. He had thirteen points in the second half.  Among those points were three converted rebounds.  He totaled nine rebounds.

Darren Doyon (20 points) had a terrific final game.  The 5-11 Bear senior somehow gathered in ten rebounds.  He hit two triples in the last thirty seconds of the first period to give Coe-Brown a 14-11 advantage.

In the second period long ones were big late but this time by Portsmouth.  In the last 1 ½ minutes, Billy Lane (14 points) hit one and twenty second later it was Kamahl Walker’s turn.  That quick six and a Charlie Duprey free throw gave the Clippers a 31-24 halftime margin.

I thought at halftime that #2 seed Portsmouth might pull away in the second half………and they did but it wasn’t until late in the last quarter.

Coe-Brown student section

Coe-Brown had what looked to be almost everyone from the academy in the stands and their support was loud and steady.  The Bears excited their student base by putting together a 10-2 segment to start the third quarter and grabbed a 34-33 lead.

During this productive run of Bear offense, Darren Doyon contributed old-fashioned and new-fashioned three’s sandwiched around two Corey Gerlt free throws and a Skyler Mitchell layin.

The Clippers were not behind for long.  Almost immediately they had a lead-for-good layup by Billy Lane and followed that with Gregg Tsougranis twice in close.  Portsmouth was ahead by two (39-37) after three.

The teams traded five points in the last quarter before the decisive six-spot by Portsmouth put them in the driver’s seat and into the finals on Saturday.

Kamahl Walker had a good news/ bad news double/double – ten points and eleven turnovers.  The Coe-Brown section was quick to chant that the 5-11 senior was “over rated.”

This was my first trip to the Lundholm Gym at UNH.  The site was well managed and the seating fit the crowd.

Both schools brought bands but no cheerleaders.  I was very impressed with the music produced.

Almost all the games I cover are in Massachusetts where there is a 30-second shot clock.  The game is different in NH minus that clock.  A couple of times I was aware that Portsmouth was holding onto the ball on the perimeter for over thirty seconds because the Bears were in a zone.

stat sheet

(The pictures above and below enlarge significantly if you click on them.)

Skyler Mitchell (10 points) in close

Portsmouth student section

Kamahl Walker shoots over Darren Doyon

Billy Lane (14 points)

Corey Gerlt runs into Billy Lane

Bear coach Dave Smith

Corey Gerlt (11 points) caught in Portsmouth traffic

Leave a comment

Filed under Coe-Brown Northwood, Portsmouth