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Manchester schools to Pembroke: Let’s play basketball

Pembroke coach Matt Alosa talks with his team during the state championships against Souhegan in March of 2013. 

(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor file)

Pembroke coach Matt Alosa talks with his team during the state championships against Souhegan in March of 2013. (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor file)

Three high schools have agreed to play Pembroke Academy in boys’ basketball next season.

That was confirmed yesterday by Pembroke Athletic Director Suzanne Klink, who said the three nonprivate schools in Manchester – Central, West and Memorial – will schedule the Spartans, who had been left out of the Division I mix, and who had been racked by disciplinary measures in recent weeks.

Klink said she learned the news from Manchester’s superintendent of schools and the District I athletic director.

“I can verify that the Manchester schools are proceeding with scheduling us,” Klink said. “All I can say is it’s a good thing, and hopefully the rest will follow.”

At a meeting last month, athletic directors and principals, concerned that Pembroke had violated bylaws to build its championship boys’ basketball program, ruled not to play the Spartans.

This followed Pembroke’s successful petition to move from Division II to Division I, following its second-straight state title.

Tim Powers, the athletic director at Pinkerton Academy and president of the Division I Principals and Athletic Directors, said yesterday he hadn’t been told about the Manchester schools’ decision, adding that the committee will address Pembroke’s scheduling problem sometime this summer.

Meanwhile, this marks the first nugget of good news for the team in a while, prompting Pembroke Coach Matt Alosa to say, “I would like to think that this will help (Pembroke schedule more games). They’re doing the right thing by playing us.”

Alosa and his father, Frank Alosa, have been attached to recruiting allegations stemming from Frank’s ties with the local AAU basketball program, the Granite State Raiders, which features elite travel teams and year-round commitment.

Critics have long charged that Frank’s program funnels players to Matt’s at Pembroke. The New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association has investigated, ruling that three players were ineligible to play – two last season after transferring to Pembroke for what was deemed to be athletic reasons, and another who can’t play next season, his senior year, because he repeated eighth grade.

That ruling is being appealed, and a decision is expected sometime this week.

Also, a Pembroke player, named Division II Player of the Year, was stripped of the award after tweeting an expletive directed at Portsmouth High School, the team the Spartans beat to win the state championship, shortly after the game. Pembroke supporters accused the NHIAA of having a vendetta against the school.

Next, schools locked out Pembroke, leaving the team’s 2014-15 season in jeopardy. Teams normally play an 18-game season, sometimes scheduling teams twice. It’s not clear what would happen if no one else agrees to play Pembroke.

Matt Alosa has long maintained that he and his father have done nothing wrong. He says they’ve never recruited, most of the Granite State Raiders moved through the Pembroke School District, and the NHIAA should have no right to dictate when a student can and cannot transfer.

As the current statute is written, players must sit out a year if it’s judged they transferred for athletic purposes, even if recruiting was not involved.

“The truth about Pembroke Academy has nothing to do with the rumors going around,” Matt Alosa said. “I don’t know how Division I schools came to this conclusion, but Pembroke Academy has done nothing wrong, and it’s just allegations from people about recruiting that has been overpublicized in the newspaper.”

(Ray Duckler can be reached at 369-3304 or rduckler@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @rayduckler.)

Legacy Comments1

Manchester School District, you are a stellar model of what good sportsmanship is! Your decision to play Pembroke is an outstanding example of what other Division-I schools should decide to do as well! I am a very proud parent of 3rd year Raider Boy currently in the 6th grade. He is extremely and exclusively dedicated to playing for Frank Alosa and The Granite State Raider’s. He ends ALL of his practices shaking Frank’s hand and thanking him. No lie. He absolutely beams with admiration when all the "big boys" come in to the gym to practice with them. He is currently making friends and practicing weekly with boys he will eventually be playing against in high school. Ironically, he was recently scoped out by a teammate’s father, who realized he played against his Dad in high school 30 ish’ years ago! (Yes, also a standout Pembroke Academy player with a couple championships under his belt.) My son has nothing but respect and admiration for both Frank Alosa and Matt Alosa and is counting down the last couple years before he himself is a Pembroke Academy Spartan. To the NHIAA and Div. I Principal’s & AD’s … There are many more up and coming Granite State Raider generations from near and far. The numbers of new kids entering the program for the first time this year has almost tripled. They are not going away anytime soon! Get your act together and stop letting your personal opinions rule your professional decisions!

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