Pembroke’s Welch wins second straight D-II Player of the Year Award
First he led his team to back-to-back Division II championships. And now Pembroke Academy senior guard Pat Welch has won back-to-back D-II Player of the Year Awards.
The New Hampshire Basketball Coaches Organization announced its all-state teams and year-end awards yesterday and Welch was once again recognized as the top player in his division. The 6-foot-1 guard averaged 22.3 points per game, 5 assists and 4.3 rebounds as he helped Pembroke to a 21-1 record and a 49-40 win over Portsmouth in Saturday’s title game.
The only thing left for Welch to do now is decide where he’s going to play and study next year.
“I’m still not sure,” he said. “I’m talking to a Division I school in South Carolina, I’m also talking to St. Anselm and Bentley, and I might go to Notre Dame Prep (in Fitchburg, Mass.). I haven’t made up my mind, but I have some options.”
Pembroke Coach Matt Alosa and Portsmouth Coach Jim Mulvey (the D-II Coach of the Year) both believed that there was no wrong choice for Player of the Year between Welch and his Pembroke teammate, senior forward Kafani Williams. Williams (19.6 ppg, 12.5 rpg) was named to the D-II First Team along with Welch and Bishop Brady junior Jourdain Bell (18.3 ppg). Bishop Brady sophomore Joe Bell earned second-team recognition, while Pembroke junior Dom Timbas, Merrimack Valley senior Ryan Head and Brady junior Brendan Johnson all received honorable mention.
Dave Chase was named the D-III Coach of the Year after guiding Hopkinton to a 17-1 regular season, the top seed in the D-III tournament and a spot in the semifinals.
“He got my vote,” Winnisquam Coach Kevin Dame said. “There aren’t any coaches that prepare more than him or work harder than him. He watches all the tapes and he probably calls five coaches before every game to get more information.”
A trio of Hawks received D-III player honors – senior Gabe Nichols (18.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg) was named to the First Team, senior Jake Nelson (6.1 ppg, 7.4 rpg) to the Second Team and junior Luke Luneau (8.2 ppg, 7.9 rpg) honorable mention. Franklin sophomore Dana Bean (15.8 ppg, 11.3 rpg, 3.7 blocks per game) was also honorable mention, and Winnisquam’s Christian Serrano was the only sophomore in D-III, and one of only three sophomores in the state, to receive first-team recognition.
“He’s a special player,” Dame said of Serrano, who averaged 17.7 points, 6.5 assists, 5.2 rebounds and 3.5 steals per game. “He loves the game, he works hard at it, he’s got some very nice athleticism to go along with that work ethic, and … he makes everyone around him a better player.”
Pittsfield’s Kris Perkins was an easy choice for the D-IV First Team. The 6-foot senior guard led the division in scoring with 25.2 ppg, including 83 pointers, and averaged 5.2 rpg and 2.8 spg. Concord Christian’s Jeremiah Boulter was named to the D-IV Second Team and Pittsfield’s Xenthios Cyr, one of just two freshman boys to garner any all-state recognition, earned honorable mention after averaging 14.7 ppg, 6.6 apg, 4.9 rpg and 3.3 spg.
The girls’ D-II all-state teams feature the four local forwards who starred in Sunday’s title game. Merrimack Valley senior Mary Mullen, who averaged 13 ppg and 9 rpg and had 16 points in the Pride’s 55-49 championship win over Coe-Brown, was named to the D-II First Team along with Coe-Brown junior Jenny Schlim, who had a team-high 12 points, seven rebounds and two assists in the final. MV sophomore Mayson Kimball (15 ppg, 11 rpg and 91 points in four tournament games) and Coe-Brown junior Abby Ahern (66 points in four tournament games) were named to the D-II Second Team. Pembroke senior Aleanna Clearmont earned honorable mention.
Winnisquam senior captain Rachel Wilcutt won the D-III girls’ Jack Ford Award, which is based on basketball, academic and community service achievement. Wilcutt led the Bears in assists and shooting percentage, is currently ranked third in her class with a 4.13 GPA, is a member of the National Honor Society, helps coordinate blood drives, volunteers at a local soup kitchen, reads to elementary school students, and volunteers to coach youth basketball.
“Rachel was a complete player for us, she’s a great student and a fantastic person, too,” Winnisquam Coach Amy Dutton said. “This is a special honor and I think she fits the bill perfectly. And for her to win says a lot about what the other coaches think of her.”
J.J. Winters was named the D-III girls’ Coach of the Year after leading Franklin, which was 7-13 last season, to an 11-9 mark this year and a trip to the quarterfinals, where the Golden Tornadoes lost to No. 1 Newfound.
“J.J. is an absolute professional. Whenever I needed a little advice or some feedback on a team, he was right there willing to share information,” Dutton said. “He coaches with a lot of intensity and passion and he had those Franklin girls prepared. They were a tough, tough team to play, but you enjoyed facing them because they played the game the right way.”
Bishop Brady senior guard Riselly Deoleo (11.7 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 3.7 apg, 3.9 spg), Hopkinton senior guard Sabrey Montore (13 ppg, 4 rpg, 5 spg, 4 apg) and Bow senior guard Kirsten Bresson were all named to the D-III First Team. Kearsarge senior Anna Cahill (14.5 ppg, 3 rpg, 2.1 apg, 2.1 spg) and Brady junior Sarah Thomas (16.2 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 4 spg, 2.4 apg) received second-team recognition. And Franklin’s Katerina Styles, Belmont’s Chayleigh Cadarette, Winnisquam’s Hannah Chapin and Brady’s Riley Bennett (7.9 ppg) were all honorable mention.
Pittsfield had two girls earn D-IV honors. Junior Brooke Vien (10. ppg, 7 rpg, 4 spg, 2 bpg) was a second-team selection and senior Stef Gauthier (6 ppg, 5 apg, 3 spg) was honorable mention.