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Division III, Division IV boys’ basketball outlook for Concord area teams


Friday, December 08, 2017
Belmont

Division: III

Coach: Jim Cilley (4th year)

Last year: 16-4, lost in quarterfinals

Returning starters: Matt Pluskis, sr., G, 6-1; Dylan Gansert, sr., F, 6-2; Tom Pare, sr., C, 6-4

Top newcomers: Aidan Rupp, jr., F, 6-3; Matt Thurber, jr., C, 6-4; Caleb Burke, jr., G, 6-0; Nate Sottak, fr., G, 5-9

Outlook: The Red Raiders lost a lot from last year’s quarterfinal team, including D-III First Team pick Trevor Hunt. But Belmont won’t use roster turnover as an excuse.

“We have to find our identity on both ends of the floor, but I really like this group,” Cilley said. “I think they are dynamic and can score from a lot of spots on the floor. I think come March most teams will not want to see us on their side of the bracket.”

Teams to beat: Berlin, Somersworth, Hopkinton, Monadnock, Campbell, Conant

Franklin

Division: III

Coach: Mike Donnell (2nd year)

Last year: 9-10, lost in first round

Returning starters: Jayden Torres, sr., G

Top newcomers: R.J. Smith, sr., F

Outlook: The Golden Tornadoes were dealt a blow in the offseason, losing 6-foot-4 T.J. Laramie to Tommy John surgery, but have a high scorer in Torres (28 points away from his 1,000th career point) and speed from newcomer Smith. Add in senior guard Oliver Lemay, junior forwards Ben Lafrance, Harrison Clark and C.J. Gaslin, and Donnell expects Franklin to be competitive, with the goal to return to the D-III tournament.

Teams to beat: Berlin, Hopkinton, Somersworth

Gilford

Division: III

Coach: Chip Veazey (32nd year)

Last year: 11-8, lost in first round

Returning starters: David Hart, Greg Madore

Top newcomers: Adrian Siravo, Logan Bell, and Logan Hughes

Outlook: The Golden Eagles figure to have a balanced offensive attack with regular contributions coming from multiple spots. Veazey expects the defense to improve as his team gains more understanding and experience when it comes to things like closeouts, rotations and communication.

“Our willingness to work to get better has been good, and this will continue to be a key to our continued improvement,” Veazey said.

Teams to beat: “The Lakes Region is always competitive with strong rivalries and upsets will happen all season depending on who gets hot, avoids foul trouble, and of course, injuries,” Veazey said. “Berlin and Somersworth seem to be getting the most talk so far.”

Hillsboro-Deering

Division: III

Coach: Carl Doucet (1st year)

Last year: 0-18, did not make tournament

Returning starters: Elijah Winters, jr., G, 5-8; Zack Rowell, sr., G, 5-9

Top newcomers: Trajon Davis, G, 5-7; Ben Ketterer, G, 5-8

Outlook: After a winless campaign last season, the program is in transition under first-year coach Doucet. The Hillcats will look to use their speed to their advantage, but Doucet wasn’t afraid to recognize that the team will likely be viewed as an “obvious underdog” to many opponents in Division III. Still, it’s a fresh start for a program engineering new ways to play the game with confidence and unselfishness.

“The ability to be composed will be a big factor,” Doucet said. “While intensity and effort will have to meet new standards to compete.”

Teams to beat: “Hopkinton has a program that enters as a favorite with a lot of confidence among a few other teams,” Doucet said.

Hopkinton

Division: III

Coach: Steve Signor (2nd year)

Last year: 18-3, lost in semifinals

Returning starters: Kevin McGrath, sr., G/F, 6-2; Zachary Signor, sr., G, 6-1

Outlook: The Hawks may have lost a pair of talented players from last year’s semifinal team in Henry Yianakopolis (D-III First Team) and Cam Cyr (D-III Second Team), but they still have plenty of talent coming back. McGrath and Signor earned D-III Honorable Mention recognition last year, and 6-4 sophomore Kevin Newton-Delgado and 6-3 senior Dustin Rose saw plenty of important minutes last season and will slide easily into the starting lineup to provide help on both end of the floor. “I am very excited with this year’s team as we are faster than we were last year and they love to run,” coach Signor said. “We do like to shoot the ball from deep and are working on creating an inside presence. We are still getting accustomed with playing together, learning each other’s roles and improving our basketball IQ.”

Teams to beat: Berlin, Somersworth, Belmont, Mascenic, Campbell

Inter-Lakes

Division: III

Coach: Mike Rathgeber (8th season)

Last year: 15-5, lost in quarterfinals

Returning starters: Eli Swanson, so., capt., 6-3; Davis Jollimore, sr., capt., 5-11

Top newcomers: Quinn Taylor, jr., 5-10; Jaden Lara, sr., 6-2

Outlook: There will be a lot of new bodies in varsity uniforms for the Lakers, but Rathgeber believes the rebuilding process can be a quick one. “The upcoming players have had successful JV years, so we’re hopeful we can have a quick learning curve and maintain what we accomplished the last three seasons,” Rathgeber said.

Teams to beat: Berlin, Somersworth

Laconia

Division: III

Coach: Steve McDonough (7th year)

Last year: 3-15, did not make tournament

Returning starters: Christian Gaspa, sr., 5-9; Jakob Steele, jr., 6-2; Ryan Paiva, jr., 6-3; Ryan Chandler, so., 6-1

Top newcomers: Kelby Brooker, jr., 5-10; Ryan Dee, soph., 5-8; Noah Dickey, jr., 6-1; Caleb Petell, jr., 6-0; Matt Lefebvre, sr., 5-11; Joey Lennon, jr., 6-0; Ryan Hebert, soph., 5-8; Ryan Chiasson, jr., 5-8

Outlook: Last year’s three-win season meant that plenty of the young Sachems got plenty of playing time, and McDonough believes that experience will pay off this season. “Several players have stepped up in the preseason and looked really good in our scrimmages,” McDonough said. “We hope to develop as the year progresses and be a team that can compete on any given night.”

Teams to beat: “Berlin, Somersworth, Gilford, Hopkinton and whoever we play next,” McDonough said.

Newfound

Division: III

Coach: Tom Boudreau (2nd season)

Last year: 1-17, did not make tournament

Top returning players: Cam Anderson, sr., G, 5-10; AJ Muse, sr., G, 6-4; James Shokal, sr., F, 6-2; Mike Doan, sr., C, 5-11; Colby Miles, jr., F, 6-2; Mason Dalphonse, jr., F, 6-1

Top newcomers: Stine Williams, jr., G, 5-10; Justin Shokal, jr., G, 5-7; Tyler Boulanger, fr., F, 6-2; Matt Plummer, fr., F, 6-1

Outlook: The Bears have won just two games in the last three seasons, but they had 33 kids show up for tryouts, so the program is healthy. The team has looked good in preseason at times, but has also made some mistakes that could cost them games once the season starts.

“With a little luck and an injury free season, I am hoping for these kids to get to six or seven wins and get into the playoffs,” Boudreau said.

Teams to beat: Berlin, Somersworth

Winnisquam

Division: III

Coach: Kevin Dame (7th year)

Last year: 9-11, lost in second round

Returning starters: Avery Hutchinson, sr., 6-0; Kyle Mann, jr., 5-11

Top newcomers: Angelo Glover, jr., 6-0; Evan Judkins, jr., 6-0; Gunnar Horman, so., 6-1; Phil Nichols, fr., 5-7; Garret Mango, fr., 5-7

Outlook: The Bears lost three starters from last year’s team who each played close to 30 minutes a game. Winnisquam also lacks height, but the Bears will try to make up for that by playing team defense and looking for offense in transition.

“Hopefully we can play solid defense and use our team speed to get up and down the court. The players have been working hard in the early season, and we will look to improve every day.

Teams to beat: Berlin, Somersworth, Gilford, Campbell

Pittsfield

Division: IV

Coach: Jay Darrah (16th year)

Last year: 16-3, lost in first round

Returning starters: Casey Clark, sr., G, 5-10; Dylan Bocash, jr., G, 6-0; Josh Whittier, sr., F, 6-3; Garrett Guerrero-Hadley, sr., G, 5-10; Cam Darrah, sr., G, 5-10

Top newcomers: Brandon Bojarsky, sr., F, 6-4; Corey Gilleney, jr., F, 6-0; Devin Bedell, so., G, 5-8

Outlook: The Panthers return almost all of the contributors from last year’s team that lost just twice in the regular season, including 1,000-point scorer and D-IV First Team pick Cam Darrah, D-IV Honorable Mention Whittier and the D-IV Coach of the Year, Jay Darrah. Whittier and Cam Darrah will get plenty of help from starters Bocash, Clark and Guerrero-Hadley, and Pittsfield has excellent depth with Matt St. Geroge, Bedell, Bojarsky and Gilleney all coming off the bench.

“People are saying a lot of nice things about us this season, but I can promise you that no one has higher expectations for us than ourselves,” coach Darrah said. “This group has been playing together since kindergarten. They have a chemistry that will be hard to duplicate. If they can put a consistent defensive effort on the floor night in and night out they should make a deep tournament run.”

Teams to beat: Newmarket, Woodsville, Groveton