Tag Archives: Justin Assad

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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Pingree overwhelms Winchendon 75-49 in New England Class C quarterfinals in boys basketball

Freshman Justin Assad (26 points) dunked twice against Winchendon

Freshman Justin Assad (26 points) dunked twice against Winchendon

Johnny Spears (12 points) chased by Batu Oztahtaci

Johnny Spears (12 points) chased by Batu Oztahtaci

(Hamilton) “I don’t think we could play any better,” was what I overheard afterwards from the Pingree School coaching staff.

And who on hand at Pingree School could conclude otherwise.

The Highlanders (19-7) did everything right to decisively defeat Winchendon, 75-49, on a rainy Wednesday afternoon at Pingree in front of a noisy crowd.

The victory moves Pingree on to the New England Class C semifinals on Friday.  They’ll face either Wheeler or Kent’s Hill.

The home team was missing starter Alonzo Jackson because the freshman had the misfortune of tearing his ACL in practice the day before.  With a teammate down, the rest of the Pingree team seemed determined to step up.  Their passing, shooting, rebounding, and defending were exceptional all game long.

Winchendon (12-7) hung around for the first ten minutes, trailing only 22-20, thanks to fifteen points by Malcolm Smith.  The Pingree scoring, however, never let up and they led by twelve (38-26) at the half.

Malcolm Smith (22 points) gets to the basket in the early going

Malcolm Smith (22 points) gets to the basket in the early going

The Highlanders started the second half with an 11-2 segment, covering 3 ½ minutes, to stretch their advantage to, 49-28.  Winch did well the rest of the way just to keep a rolling Pingree squad from only adding five points to their lead by game‘s end.

Justin Assad (26), Kyle Lentini (17), Connor Reardon (12), and Johnny Spears (12) all reached double figures for the Highlanders.

Malcolm Smith (22) and Mustafa Ozgumus (10) reached double figures for the visitors.

Anyone on hand for the first ten minutes wouldn’t have dreamed that Pingree would win by twenty-six points.

Blame Malcolm Smith.  The 6-3 junior had fifteen points in those first ten minutes including a jam and a three long ones and Winchendon was definitely in contention (22-20).

But the rest of the way?  Pingree just kept on putting up points but the tightened Highlander defense kept Winchendon from doing the same.  Switching freshman Justin Assad to cover Malcolm Smith limited the Winch star to seven points over the last twenty-two minutes.

Kyle Lentini (17 points) gets two

Kyle Lentini (17 points) gets two

Justin had fifteen points in the first half and Kyle Lentini had eleven.  The Pingree lead was twelve (38-26) at the half.

The Highlanders put the game out of reach quickly in the second half.  Two Johnny Spears’ free throws, a Reese Fulmer three, a Justin Assad jump shot, and two Connor Reardon layups were the points in an 11-2 run.  This collection of offense gave Pingree a twenty-one point spread (49-28) and the suspense about the winner ended.

I have seen Pingree play a few times and seen them look good on occasion.  They were collectively “good” in this one, in my opinion.

The reason?  The team put out a little extra effort in all areas to make up for the loss of freshman Alonzo Jackson.  Pingree was also helped by having plenty of student support in the stands.

Justin Assad had an eye-catching twenty-six points.  In Pingree’s half-court offense he could get any shot he wanted.  He was also quick enough in the open floor to fill a passing lane on Highlander fastbreaks.  The freshman had crowd-pleasing jams in both halves.

This was the best game I’ve seen Connor Reardon play.  The junior had plenty of rebounds and didn’t hesitate to take the ball to the basket.

Johnny Spears ahead of Isaiah Ruffen

Johnny Spears ahead of Isaiah Ruffen

Best player?  Had to be Johnny Spears.  The blazing speed and the in-your-face defense on the other team’s ball handler are to be seen in every game he plays.  The difference today?  He played more like Rajon Rondo.  How? He seemed determined to set up teammates rather than looking for his own scoring chances.  He set up teammates off the dribble, on the fly, as well as long-range and nearby.  It was pretty to watch and a big reason why the Pingree offense looked so good all game long.

Pingree’s defense tightened considerably after the first ten minutes.  Winchendon settled into perimeter offense and on this day the long ones weren’t falling.

Reese Fulmer took over as 5th starter and hit two three’s.

I knew that I was at a private school game when the student section was allowed to have noisemakers.  Believe me, those noisemakers were hard to miss!

Pingree Boxscore

Winchendon Boxscore

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

Connor Reardon and Mustafa Ozgumus

Connor Reardon and Mustafa Ozgumus

Malcolm Smith guarded by Justin Assad

Malcolm Smith guarded by Justin Assad

Mustafa Ozgumus defended by Connor Reardon (12 points)

Mustafa Ozgumus defended by Connor Reardon (12 points)

Malique McLaren launches from long range

Malique McLaren launches from long range

Senior Lucas Reeve shoots a free throw

Senior Lucas Reeve shoots a free throw

Opening tip with Pingree student section in the background

Opening tip with Pingree student section in the background

Nino Leone and Seamus Bell

Nino Leone and Seamus Bell

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Pingree School cruises past Concord Academy 62-47 in EIL boys basketball

Kyle Lentini (17 points) blocks Malin Segal (21 points)

Kyle Lentini (17 points) blocks Malin Segal (21 points)

Sam Stogdon (14 points) and Kyle Lentini battle

Sam Stogdon (14 points) and Kyle Lentini battle

(Hamilton) Pingree School gained twenty-point separation from Concord Academy early in the second half and cruised to a 62-47 win on Friday night in Eastern Independent League boys basketball action.

Pingree (10-3) combined a turnover-producing defense with segment of 6 ½ minutes of nearly unanswered offense to get the job done.

The visitors found themselves in double teams almost anywhere they had the ball. Steals and bad passes were frequent as CA registered, by my count, twenty turnovers in the first half and ten more in the second half.

If CA could have subtracted a certain 6 ½ minutes of this game, they would have been in a tight game (like last year) but unfortunately for Concord they couldn’t and had to live with the effects of a 19-2 Pingree run.

CA (6-3) made enough shots in the first thirteen minutes (Malin Segal has ten points including two 3’s) to trail by a very manageable two points, 23-21.

Griffin Beal gets in clean for two

Griffin Beal gets in clean for two

What Pingree did to Concord over the last three minutes of the first half, and the first 3 ½ minutes of the second half, will not appear on any season-highlights video on the campus of Concord Academy.

Let’s take care of the final three minutes of the first half first.  The Highlanders scored the last ten points of the first half despite missing five free throws.  CA registered seven of their twenty first-half turnovers during this segment.  CA also missed the front end of two one-and-one free throw attempts.

Kyle Lentini (17 points) hit a jump shot, stole a CA pass, and made a layup in the final twenty seconds.

Pingree had a 33-21 lead, as a result, at halftime.

Concord had the first points of the second half (Sam Stogdon layup) but then were victimized by another scoring drought.  The next three minutes of playing time saw only Pingree points go up…….nine of them.  At the end of it, what had been a competitive game earlier (23-21), became out of hand (42-23).

Justin Assad (13 points) floats in the lane

Justin Assad (13 points) floats in the lane

During the early second-half run of Pingree offense, Justin Assad (13 points) had a three and a layup, while Kyle Lentini converted a rebound, and Alonzo Jackson made two free throws.

Concord did score more points than Pingree the rest of the way but as they say in farm country, “The cows had left the barn.”

Malin Segal (21 points) and Sam Stogdon (14 points) reached double figures for CA.  Many of their points came against the Pingree reserves in the second half.

CA employed a 1-3-1 half court zone.  Pingree’s willingness to make extra passes turned up juicy shots for teammates closer to the basket.  The Highlanders made just one three (Justin Assad) but didn’t need the long ball in this game.

Johnny Spears

Johnny Spears

The constant Pingree pressure forced CA to play a lot faster than I suspect they were comfortable with.  Good defense is a team thing but Johnny Spears stands out in the Highlander defense.  He is as capable of stealing the ball, even from good dribblers, as anyone I’ve seen this season.

The two teams meet again on February 1st at Concord Academy.  If CA can upgrade their ball management that meeting could well produce a closer game than today’s was.

Those of us who like to chase the good matchups might want to get January 30th circled now.  That’s when Beaver Country Day School visits Hamilton.  Both teams are currently undefeated in EIL play.  I saw Beaver defeat Pingree, 54-36, last February at Pingree.

Pingree boxscore

Concord Academy boxscore

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

Alex Bernardi

Alex Bernardi

Jack Anderson goes for the block

Jack Anderson goes for the block

Johnny Spears surrounded

Johnny Spears surrounded

Malin Segal entertains Reese Fulmer

Malin Segal entertains Reese Fulmer

Kyle Lentini shoots over Sam Stogdon

Kyle Lentini shoots over Sam Stogdon

Lucas Reeve

Lucas Reeve

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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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Filed under Bancroft, Pingree