Tag Archives: John Spears

Pingree easily over Berwick 97-47 in Eastern Independent League boys basketball

The trapping defense of Pingree gave Berwick plenty of trouble.

The trapping defense of Pingree gave Berwick plenty of trouble.

John Spears (4) leads a break

John Spears (4) leads a break

(Hamilton MA) Pingree School routed Berwick Academy, 97-47, on Wednesday night in Eastern Independent League action.

This was a competitive game for two minutes before Pingree racked up fifteen straight points and built on the resulting, 20-6, lead the rest of the way.

In the last four minutes of the half, the Highlanders put a 12-1 run together and had a very comfortable, 52-26, advantage.

Pingree (2-2) had six players reach double figures with the starters getting limited minutes.

Kyle Lentini (13 points) gets a layup

Kyle Lentini (13 points) gets a layup

Berwick (2-5) struggled early to handle Pingree’s trapping defenses.  The Highlanders were quick to turn first-half Bulldog miscues (11 turnovers) into layups.

This was not a game in which things ever got closer in the second half.  Softball has a mercy rule.  Just sayin’.

Pingree has all five starters back and have added 6-5 Erik Fyrer (transfer from Ipswich) to the mix.  The team was 19-8 last year and you have to think that they could better that in the 2013-14 season.

The Highlanders’ trapping defense was something I never saw last season.  But with veteran players with good defensive instincts it makes perfect sense.  The successful pressure was a key in the Pingree victory.

Stephen Sherbahn (26 points) gets off a fancy pass

Stephen Sherbahn (26 points) gets off a fancy pass

Even in the loss, Berwick’s Stephen Sherbahn (26 points) was impressive.  On this evening, the BA senior scored from just about anywhere he found an opening.

A stand-out statistic from the scorebook was that the team from South Berwick, Maine only committed seven fouls in the entire game.  Maybe I’m misreading the scorebook?  The whistles were few and Pingree never slowed down but that few fouls in a losing effort is hard to imagine.

Kyle Lentini, Connor Reardon, and Erik Fyrer each scored thirteen points.  Justin Assad, John Spears, and Reese Fullmer each added eleven points.

The structure you can’t help but see getting built when you come onto the Pingree campus is the $21 million gymnasium.  That facility will have three gyms in it.  The hope is that construction will be finished before the 2014 part of the Pingree season is over.

Erik Fyrer (13 points) gets off a shot in the lane

Erik Fyrer (13 points) gets off a shot in the lane

Connor Reardon has signed on with Worcester Politech.

John Spears has agreed to play football for D3 Trinity (CT) but that could change if he gets a scholarship offer from a D2 school.

Credit 10-year Pingree coach Steve Gibbs for doing his part to keep the score down in the second half.  Besides clearing his bench early, he also was heard at various times telling his team to stop fastbreaking, pressing, and taking three’s.

I expected a better game based on last year’s results between the teams.  The Bulldogs lost all three meetings but one of them was only, 46-40, in February.  Berwick was 14-12 last season despite the three losses to the Highlanders.

Both Justin Assad and Stephen Sherbahn had dunks in this game.

Thanks to Berwick coach Rory Early for making a team roster available.

Pingree will be playing Bancroft on Friday at Bancroft.  Berwick will play on the same day at Middlesex School versus Thayer Academy.

One week until Christmas………but you’re not worried since all your shopping is done.

Pingree boxscore

Berwick boxscore

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

John Spears (11 points)

John Spears (11 points)

Justin Assad (11 points)

Justin Assad (11 points)

Thomas Lennon (11) defends Josh DuPont (3)

Thomas Lennon (11) defends Josh DuPont (3)

Erik Fyrer (5) blocks the shot of Luc Linemayr (21)

Erik Fyrer (5) blocks the shot of Luc Linemayr (21)

Reese Fullmer (11 points) in close with Stephen Sherbahn

Reese Fullmer (11 points) in close with Stephen Sherbahn

Griffin Beal (21) drives on Mark Hoyt (4)

Griffin Beal (21) drives on Mark Hoyt (4)

Sam Salvati

Sam Salvati

Kyle Lentini passes ahead

Kyle Lentini passes ahead

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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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Filed under Beaver Country Day, Pingree

Pingree routs Bancroft 79-32 in Eastern Independent League boys basketball

Luke Alley (14) heads for the hoop with Alonzo Jackson (3) closing fast

Luke Alley (14) heads for the hoop with Alonzo Jackson (3) closing fast

Lucas Reeve (14) in close

Lucas Reeve (14) in close

(Hamilton) Softball has the Mercy Rule.  This basketball game was begging for a similar arrangement.

Pingree routed Bancroft, 79-32, in an Eastern Independent League mismatch on Friday night at Pingree.

The Highlanders (2-2) ran off the game’s first thirteen points and never were seriously challenged by the team from Worcester.  Pingree is now 2-0 in the EIL.

While Pingree rolled up thirteen points in the first four minutes, the Bulldogs (1-5) were registering seven turnovers. Two of the early Bancroft miscues led to John Spears’ (11 points) layups.

PJ Lidonde (12 points) surrounded by Highlanders

PJ Lidonde (12 points) surrounded by Highlanders

The Highlanders man-to-man defense forced twenty-nine turnovers during a game in which everyone in uniform played plenty.

Pingree had the long-shot available and made six (three by Reese Fulmer) but seemed content most of the game to make the extra passes to get teammates layups and high-percentage shots.  It was classic unselfish basketball.

Dylan McDonough (4 points) broke the ice for Bancroft with a layup.

Later in the half Pingree had another string of unanswered points (nine) and were up, 32-6, with three minutes left in the half.  Reese (11 points) had a three and a layup off a turnover in the run.

The home team put another run of nine together in the second half extending their lead to, 59-17.  A layup and two free throws by Griffin Beal (8 points) were part of that run.

Pingree coach Steve Gibbs had his bench cleared in the first half and so there was plenty of PT for the Highlander reserves in the second half.

Justin Assad (24) draws a charge

Justin Assad (24) draws a charge

PJ Lidonde led Bancroft’s scorers with twelve points.  He also had one of the harder charges you’ll ever see when he ran over Justin Assad (13 points) in the first half.

Alonzo Jackson (11), Nino Leone (9), and Kyle Lentini (7) were other scorers for Pingree.

I was impressed with Pingree in my first look at them this season.  Last year they were 19-6.  This year’s team has added four excellent freshman – Alonzo Jackson, Griffin Beal, Justin Assad, and Nino Leone.

John Spears?  I would like to know a player faster than this junior.  He is definitely not someone the other point guards on the Pingree schedule look forward to facing.

Pingree’s next opponent is Berwick (EIL game) on Wednesday (4PM) at Pingree.

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

Freshmen Nino Leone (34) and Matt Zujewski (11)

Freshmen Nino Leone (34) and Matt Zujewski (11)

Griffin Beal (21) gets a fancy pass from Reese Fulmer (0)

Griffin Beal (21) gets a fancy pass from Reese Fulmer (0)

Freshman Griffin Beal in traffic

Freshman Griffin Beal in traffic

Freshman Justin Assad had thirteen points

Freshman Justin Assad had thirteen points

John Spears (11 points)

John Spears (11 points)

Connor Reardon finds an opening

Connor Reardon finds an opening

PJ Lidonde slices between Kyle Lentini (22) and Connor Reardon (15)

PJ Lidonde slices between Kyle Lentini (22) and Connor Reardon (15)

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Strong second half gets Beaver past Pingree (54-36) in EIL boys basketball

John Spears (14 points) caught in the air with 6-8 defender Jacquil Taylor looking to block.

Joe Connelly (14 points) shoots over John Spears

(Hamilton) The Pingree boys played a terrific half of basketball against Beaver Country Day School.  Unfortunately, for the Highlanders, there was the other half.

Beaver defeated Pingree, 54-36, on Wednesday afternoon in Eastern Independent League boys basketball action.

This was a one point game at halftime (27-26) with the final outcome far from certain.  Beaver had beaten Pingree (65-41 on February 1st) so you figured that they might get stronger in the second half.

Tied at 30-30, the visitors from Chestnut Hill displayed why they came in 18-2 and undefeated (11-0) in the EIL.  They  went on an impressive 13-0 run over the next 7 1/2 minutes and Pingree never recovered.

The Beaver 2-3 zone, with 6-6 Maurice Taylor and his 6-8 brother Jacquil on the inside, limited Pingree to long range attempts.   That defense was less of a problem in the first half when Pingree connected on four triples.  During the six minute drought the long ones weren’t falling.

Kyle Lentini (8 points) leans on driving Jeff Spellman (15 points)

Meanwhile, Beaver registered points from Jacquil Taylor (dunk on a rebound), Joe Connelly (a layup and two jumpers), and Jeff Spellman (a layup and an old-fashioned 3-pont play) to pull away 43-30 and have needed separation with 8:40 left.

A Brendon Ashe triple narrowed the gap to 45-36 in the last three minutes but Beaver answered with a Jacquil hook in the lane and seven free throws to close out the scoring.

Exciting John Spears (14 points) had steals, assists, darts to the basket, and a triple and led the Highlanders to the front, 24-17, with five minutes left in the first half.  The sophomore’s knack of getting open among players much taller than he is was very entertaining to the overflow home crowd.

However, the interior of the Beaver defense did a much better job protecting the inside after halftime.  If John got by one shot blocker there was quickly another one ready to show some tall defense.  Unable to get open space to the rim, John was held to just two points in the second half.

Junior Jeff Spellman (15 points) led all scorers.  He proved to be more than capable of handling some very tight defensive pressure as the primary ball-handler for Beaver.

Joe Connelly blocks speedy John Spears in breakaway layup attempt

Joe Connelly tallied eleven of his fourteen points in the second half getting six in the surge that broke this game wide open.  The highlight I took away from his game was his hustle in running down a streaking John Spears in the second half and blocking the speedster’s layup attempt.

Maurice Taylor led Beaver with ten rebounds while Isaac Carp grabbed twelve for the Highlanders.

Beaver is now 19-2 overall and 12-0 in the EIL with two more league games left.  Don’t bet against them going undefeated.  They have won the EIL the past two seasons.  Their losses were to St. Mark’s and Brooks.  Brooks is a team they could face in the NEPSAC Division B tournament late in February.

Beaver has won nine in a row and are 10-0 on the road.  I did not see high-scoring Jherson Colon and assume that the Beaver guard re-injured himself.

Pingree is 15-6 overall and 10-2 in the EIL.  They have won nine of their last eleven games.

The Highlanders have three games left starting with a home matchup with Wheeler School (RI) on Friday.  The other two games are EIL games.

It would not surprise me to see Pingree face Beaver again in the EIL tourney final.  That tournament starts on February 25th.  After that tournament, Pingree will be competing in Division C of the NEPSAC tourney.  I’m sure that they will be happy to get away from Beaver.

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

Freshman Jordan Scurry (8 points) shoots over Connor Reardon

Beaver coach Juan Figueroa

Joe Connelly eyes shot. Connor Reardon eyes block.

Jeff Spellman gets off shot with John Spears defending.

Brendon Ashe hit two triples

Kenneth Adinkra and Jeff Spellman

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Filed under Beaver Country Day, Pingree

Kyle Lentini (21 points) leads Pingree past Bancroft 57-42 in EIL boys basketball

Kyle Lentini hits a triple over Peter Bovenzi

Connor Reardon (12 points) layup

(Hamilton) Pingree hit visiting Bancroft with a 14-2, four-minute segment in the first half and that separated them from the Bulldogs. The Highlanders went on to a, 57-42, victory on Saturday afternoon in Eastern Independent League action.

Pingree is now a lofty 15-5 and has a big showdown ahead at home against Beaver Country Day on Wednesday at 4PM.  The Highlanders lone EIL loss was to the undefeated EIL squad from Chestnut Hill (65-41) on February 1st at BCD.  Beaver is 17-2 overall. The rematch should be a good one.

Kyle Lentini (21 points) had a huge game for Pingree.  During the breakaway, 14-2 run, Kyle converted two rebounds, hit a jumper, and assisted on Brandon Ashe’s layup.  The run turned a 15-12 anybody’s game into a comfortable (29-14) Highlander advantage with 3 ½ minutes left in the first half.

The closest Bancroft (from Worcester) could get the rest of the way was eight (42-34) with 8:38 left in the game but Kyle Lentini answered with an old-fashioned three in heavy traffic in close.  John Spears followed with a jump shot in the lane and a converted rebound and the Highlanders were quickly back to the fifteen point spread (49-34).

Pingree (10-1 in the EIL) led 34-23 at the half.

PJ Lidonde (16 points) drive

PJ Lidonde (16 points) showed plenty of quickness and courage slicing into Pingree lane traffic for baskets.  He also had four assists by my count.

DJ Fajana (9 points) had several blocks for the Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs have an eight-man roster and three of the players hardly played at all.

Pingree’s top three scorers in this game (Kyle Lentini, Connor Reardon, and John Spears) are all sophomores.

Bancroft (10-10 overall and 6-6 in EIL) won the NEPSAC Class D championship in 2011.

Pingree boxscore

Bancroft boxscore

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

Isaac Carp

John Spears drives

DJ Fajana and Kyle Lentini

Eastern Independent League

PJ Lidonde dives

Melvin Kaska in flight

Kyle Lentini

Brandon Ashe

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Filed under Bancroft, Pingree

Georgetown Boys Rout Innovation Academy 70-25 in Opener

Early in the third quarter the rout was clearly on. Every Royal ended up scoring.

John Spears led Georgetown with twelve points despite spending three quarters on the bench with Coach Mike Rowinski.

(Georgetown) Georgetown 70 – Innovation Academy 25

Believe me, that final score doesn’t tell you about this game.

It could have been 170-25 if Georgetown coach Mike Rowinski had allowed his starters to play more than about a quarter all told.

The Royals ran off sixteen straight in the first quarter and later put eighteen unanswered together during 5 ½ minutes that started at the end of the second quarter and extended into the third quarter.

The first streak put the visitors from Tyngsboro down 18-2 while the second one dropped them even further behind, 51-9.

The idea of this being a competitive game vanished early.  The Georgetown crowd figured things out early as well.  John Spears drove for a layup to open the scoring and the crowd began chanting, “It’s all over!”  How right they were!

The Hawks committed 29 turnovers during the game while Georgetown had only 12.  Almost every Royal basket was a layup.

Fans of competitive basketball were certainly disappointed.  On the other hand if you wanted a chance to look at all the Georgetown varsity players you had a perfect opportunity.

Actually, every Royal scored.  The last player to make a shot was Calvin Ingraham and he easily got the biggest cheer of the night for his late 3-pointer.

Sophomore John Spears led G’Town with twelve points and numerous steals.  He’s gotten a little taller and, if possible, faster than last year.

Some Manchester-Essex players were in the house hoping for a look at the Georgetown team they’ll be facing during the season.  They left after all the Royal starters were pulled in the first quarter.

Maybe it’s me, but every time I enter the Georgetown gymnasium I look up to see if all the lights are on.  That place is dark by any standards.  Taking an action shot with my Canon Rebel was impossible.

Georgetown cheerleaders performed before a supportive home crowd.

Only in a poorly lighted gym would the opponents be wearing dark numbers on a dark shirt.  No program with their names on it was provided, so the identity of players will remain anonymous.

The Georgetown chanting section successfully met two important qualifications: (1) they were organized, and (2) they were appropriate.

I am looking forward to seeing the Royals again and believe me in won’t be at the rematch with Innovation which is actually on the schedule.

(I keep my own statistics, take my own pictures, and express my own opinions in this coverage.  Any inaccuracies are unintentional.)

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Filed under Georgetown, Innovation Academy