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Jeff Spellman (31 points) shoots Beaver Country Day past Pingree 81-64

Jeff Spellman (31 points) hit five long ones in a twenty-five point first half

Jeff Spellman (31 points) hit five long ones in a twenty-five point first half

Jeff Spellman drives on Alonzo Jackson

Jeff Spellman drives on Alonzo Jackson

(Hamilton MA) Talented Jeff Spellman (31 points) led Beaver Country Day School past Pingree, 81-64, on a rainy Friday night in Eastern Independent League action.

The win gives BCD (19-1) an undefeated league season as well as their fifth straight EIL championship.

Pingree (16-6) had an enthusiastic crowd (It was their senior recognition game) but no first-half defensive answers for guard Jeff Spellman.

Beaver was missing point guard Keyshaun Jacobs so that meant Jeff Spellman handled the ball more than usual.  In this game, that change spelled disaster for Pingree in the first half.

Jeff poured in a remarkable twenty-five points in the first sixteen minutes.  He hit three’s from five different spots.  He made driving layups in traffic and added free throws.  It was quite a show, to say the least.

Kyle Lentini (10 points) had the Highlanders up, 8-7, after 2 1/2 minutes.  The next four minutes of playing time belonged to the Beavers.  The visitors put a 19-3 segment together and vaulted ahead, 26-11, with eight minutes left in the first half.

Jacquil Taylor (14 points) gets set to dunk

Jacquil Taylor (14 points) gets set to dunk

6-9 Jacquil Taylor (Purdue) cashed three straight layups.  On one Jacquil (14 points) was assisted by Kevin Scarlett, another was a rebound putback, and the third was a jam off of a steal.

Jeff Spellman closed the scoring in this separation segment with two straight long ones.  He made the first from the top of the key and the second from the corner off an inbounds play.

The separation segment pushed Pingree down by double digits and they would never get inside that barrier the rest of the way.

Jeff Spellman closed the first half with a buzzer-beating three to give Beaver a 47-23 bulge at halftime.

Pingree was able to win the second half, 41-34, and did get to within ten points (72-62) with two minutes left.  However, BCD sealed this one by making 9-of-10 free throws the rest of the way.

Justin Assad in the lane

Justin Assad in the lane

Beaver won the first meeting at Brookline, 71-43.  This one didn’t go in that direction because Pingree played the second half with crowd-pleasing intensity.

Down 66-48 with 5 1/2 minutes remaining, the Highlanders’ pressure started to pay off.  Remember that the Beavers’ point guard was missing.  Also off the floor was shot-blocker Jacquil Taylor (injury).

The Highlanders started to get turnovers and took the ball to the basket.  Johnny Spears and Justin Assad were a big part of the 14-6 Pingree rally that cut Pingree’s deficit to ten points and fired up the crowd.  BCD coach Juan Figuero burned a couple of timeouts during the Pingree comeback.  The Beavers, however, recovered by taking better care of the ball in the two final minutes and Pingree was forced to foul.  Outstanding BCD free throw shooting finished off Pingree’s comeback.

Impressive game by Pingree’s Alonzo Jackson.  The Highlanders’ big man collected eighteen points on the inside.

Johnny Spears led a second half rally

Johnny Spears led a second half rally

Johnny Spears (13 points) showed his lightening speed in the second half on offense.  Sometimes he would get to the basket and other times he would spot teammates while he was airborne.  Johnny can take games over and Pingree will need that to happen if they are to do very well in the Class C tournament.

Beaver Country will be in the Class B tournament.  If they have all of their starters ready to go they could end up winning a title.

BCD’s lone loss was to Hoosac School by two points (54-52) on January 22nd at UMass Boston.  I tried to find out how the Owls had pulled that one off.  That’s where I got acquainted with a player named, Unique McLean.  The sophomore guard from Brooklyn put thirty-two points on Beaver including the game-winner at the buzzer.  Coach Figueroa told me before the Pingree game that Unique was the best player he’s seen this season.  Hoosac School (on NY/VT border) has won the Class D title two straight years.

Griffin Beal and Kyle Lentini each had ten points for Pingree.

Beaver Country Day School box

Pingree box

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

Jeff Spellman finishes

Jeff Spellman finishes

Alonzo Jackson (18 points) shoots in traffic

Alonzo Jackson (18 points) shoots in traffic

Kyle Lentini and Connor Reardon

Kyle Lentini and Connor Reardon

Connor Reardon chases Jamie Kennedy

Connor Reardon chases Jamie Kennedy

Jacquil Taylor looks for a pass

Jacquil Taylor looks for a pass

Jeff Spellman saves

Jeff Spellman saves

Kent Ellertson shoots over Griffin Beal

Kent Ellertson shoots over Griffin Beal

Reese Fullmer and Kevin Scarlett

Reese Fullmer and Kevin Scarlett

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Beaver Country Day School overwhelms Pingree 64-36 in Eastern Independent League boys basketball

Jherson Colon (12 points) covered by John Spears (10 points)

Jherson Colon (12 points) covered by John Spears (10 points)

Mo Taylor above the crowd

Mo Taylor above the crowd

(Hamilton)  Beaver Country Day School (12-3) made easy work of Pingree, 64-36, on Wednesday night in Eastern Independent League action.

Even without top star Jacquil Taylor (foot surgery out six months), Beaver still had too much of just about everything for the outmatched but game Highlanders.

Right away it was evident that the visitors would run at every opportunity and had the jets to beat Pingree (11-5) in transition.

It also became quite clear that if necessary Beaver could run organized offense and get good shots out of it.

BCDS bolted out to a 20-5 lead in the first seven minutes and never were threatened thereafter.  Jordan Scurry (11 points), Joe Connelly (14 points), and Jeff Spellman (7 points) connected long range in the fast start.

Beaver hit Pingree with another big splash of points later in the first half.  This time is was twelve unanswered points in two minutes and the Pingree deficit of thirteen (25-12) suddenly was twenty-five (37-12) with four minutes left in the first half.

Breakaway jam by Jeff Spellman

Breakaway jam by Jeff Spellman

The damage doers for Beaver in this run were Jordan Scurry (layup and a three), Jherson Colon (layup and an old-fashioned three), and Jeff Spellman with a steal and a breakaway jam.

Pingree put together their best offense of the day in the rest of the half getting all nine points scored in the final four minutes to trail at halftime, 37-21.

Nino Leone tallied two layups and two free throws in this segment and John Spears cashed a three.

Joe Connelly dashed any Pingree hopes early in the second half by personally outscoring the Highlanders 11-2 over the first 3 ½ minutes.  Three of his scores were well-setup, long range shots.

Joe Connelly scored the first eleven points for Beaver in the second half

Joe Connelly scored the first eleven points for Beaver in the second half

Joe’s scoring tear pushed Pingree back to a 48-23 deficit and the rest of the game was heavily influenced by the reserves from both squads.

Beaver is still undefeated in the EIL (8-0) and likely to stay that way the rest of the way.  They have won the league three straight seasons.

Pingree was ahead by a point last year at halftime in the game with Beaver played at Pingree but had an atrocious second half and lost, 54-36.

Minus Jacquil Taylor I thought maybe Pingree could make things interesting but it never happened.

Jacquil’s brother, 6-6 Mo (North Carolina A&T) was a force on the defensive end and had moves inside and outside on the other end.

Heavily recruited Jeff Spellman was very content to develop his point-guard skills seldom forcing his offense.  He was efficient at penetrating the Pingree defense and then finding teammates open along the three-point line.

Jherson Colon

Jherson Colon

The player that caught my attention was Jherson Colon (12 points).  I have seen Pingree’s John Spears (10 points) several times and he is certainly very fast.  However, matched up with Jherson it was hard to tell which one was quicker.

Pingree (7-1) picks up its first loss in the EIL and will have to face Beaver again at Beaver on February 13th.

The team from Brookline has the enrollment to be  Division B while Pingree is Division C when it comes to the post-season NEPSAC tournaments.

Pingree’s next game is at Concord Academy on February 1st.  Beaver visits Lexington Christian Academy on the same day.

Beaver boxscore

Pingree boxscore

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

Mo Taylor goes at Connor Reardon

Mo Taylor goes at Connor Reardon

Jordan Scurry and Connor Reardon reach for a loose ball

Jordan Scurry and Connor Reardon reach for a loose ball

Mo Taylor will attend North Carolina A&T

Mo Taylor will attend North Carolina A&T

Justin Assad breaks through for two

Justin Assad breaks through for two

Leo Connelly

Leo Connelly

Nino Leone

Nino Leone

looking for a rebound

looking for a rebound

Jeff Spellman

Jeff Spellman

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