Tag Archives: Pingree School

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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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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