Outlook for D-I, D-II boys’ basketball teams in Concord area

Friday, December 15, 2017

Division: I

Coach: Dave Chase (2nd year)

Last year: 4-14, did not make tournament

Returning starters: Tyler Blodgett, sr., G, 5-9; Tyler Bruns, jr., F, 6-2; John Kalisz, sr., F, 6-1

Top newcomers: Scott Lampron, jr., G, 6-0; John Shamash, jr., C, 6-7; Eric Sullivan, jr., F, 5-10; Mike Morissette, sr., C, 6-7

Outlook: Teams will have to defend Concord out to the 3-point line since the Crimson Tide is loaded with players who can hit from beyond the arc – Tyler and Teddy Blodgett, Bruns, Lampron and sophomore guard Rylan Canabano. The Tide also has some athletic slashers in Kalisz and 6-foot senior Jacob Knowles. Rebounding could be a weakness, but Chase is hoping the development of big men Shamash and Morissette can take care of that.

“Team chemistry has started off a lot better already this season,” Chase said. “Time will tell if they have jelled as a group that has dedicated itself to play team basketball this season.”

Teams to beat: Winnacunnet, Spaulding, Exeter, Bedford, Memorial, Alvirne

Bishop Brady

Division: II

Coach: Tim Lee (1st year)

Last year: 8-11, lost in first round

Returning starters: Bryce Johnson, sr., F, 6-2

Top newcomers: Ryan Johnson, jr., F, 6-6; Ethan Hutchinson, so., G, 5-11

Outlook: The Green Giants return one starter for Lee in his first year as coach and the team is hoping to adjust in time to make it back into the postseason tournament. The addition of Ryan Johnson gives Brady a nice frontline complement to go along with Bryce Johnson.

Teams to beat: “Every opponent,” Lee said.


Division: II

Coach: Frank Moreno (1st year)

Last year: 5-13, did not make tournament

Returning starters: Ben Guertin, sr., G; Ryan Andrews, sr., G

Top newcomers: Alex Mullen, jr., F; Ben Harris, so., F; Steven Guerette, so., F; Shaun Lover, fr., F

Outlook: Moreno is encouraged by his team’s mix of athleticism, size and shooting. With a freshman and three sophomores on the varsity roster, the Falcons are young, but they have an experienced backcourt in Guertin and Andrews, a four-year varsity player.

“We will need to grind it out early in the season, and build on the experience of every game,” Moreno said. “No one knows much about our program, and we have some very good talent. I think we will surprise some teams.”

Teams to beat: Kearsarge, Pembroke, Lebanon, Coe-Brown


Division: II

Coach: David Smith (29th year)

Last year: 18-3, D-II runner-up

Returning starters: Scott Spenard, sr., G, 5-11

Outlook: The Bears lost four starters from last year’s team that was one of D-II’s best from the start of the season all the way to the final game. That’s a lot of talent to replace, but Coe-Brown had a very good JV team last year to draw from this season, Smith is one of the top coaches in the division and Spenard – who can take care of the ball handling duties and score in bunches – is a great starting point for a rebuild.

Teams to beat: “Kearsarge, with a lot of other teams capable,” Smith said.

John Stark

Division: II

Coach: Mike Smith (18th year)

Last year: 11-9, lost in quarterfinals

Returning starters: Chase Patterson, sr., G, 5-9; Parker McQuarrie, jr., C, 6-6

Top newcomers: Christian Barr, so., F, 6-3; Jayden Sheppard, so., G, 5-11; George Lord, jr., G, 5-10; Noah Gamache, jr., G, 5-10; Payton Marden, jr., G, 5-8; Josh Waterman, jr., F, 6-0

Outlook: The Generals are trying to build off a strong showing last season with a return trip to the tournament. To do that, Stark will need returning starters Patterson and McQuarrie to expand their roles. Jake Silva, Kyle Hagman, Troy Gamache, Joe Simeone, Aaron Bergeron and Jaimoson Lacasse have some varsity experience and will also step into expanded roles.

“Defense and rebounding will be the backbone throughout the year, but especially early as the team tries to find itself offensively,” Smith said. “The group is spearheaded by a senior class that is strong in leadership and high-quality young men.”

Teams to beat: “Everyone ... in what is always a tough division,” Smith said.

Merrimack Valley

Division: II

Coach: Tim Mucher (3rd year)

Last year: 10-8, lost in first round

Returning starters: Jake Hebert, sr., G, 5-10; Caleb LaClair, sr., G, 5-6; Ryan Defina, sr., G, 5-9

Top newcomers: Kyle Dube, so., C, 6-2; Dylan McCarthy, jr., G, 5-10; Caleb Heath, so., F/G, 6-1; Bailey Gabour, so., F, 6-0; Jared Sylvester, jr., F

Outlook: With six seniors back and a desire to build off last year’s success, the Pride figures to be in good shape. Hebert, LeClair and Defina return with experience in a backcourt that should be tough to stop and lengthy newcomers Dube and Gabour add depth and good size to the frontcourt. Coach Mucher is optimistic about what his upperclassmen can do.

“The six seniors are looking forward to leading the charge and finishing their careers on a positive note,” Mucher said.

Teams to beat: Lebanon, Manchester West, Timberlane


Division: II

Coach: Rich Otis (1st year)

Last year: 8-11, lost in first round

Returning starters: Noah Cummings, jr., G, 6-0; Sean Menard, jr., G/F, 6-0; Jack Lehoullier, jr., C, 6-4; Brandon Linscott, sr., G, 5-9; Jake Sherman, sr., G/F, 6-0

Top newcomers: Tyler Smith, sr., F/C, 6-3; Justin Smith, sr., F/C, 6-3; Tim Pitman, jr., G, 5-9; Jared Dupuis, jr., G, 6-0; Shea Shackford, so., G, 5-10; Isaac Pease-Rivera, so., G, 5-8

Outlook: Expectations are high with a lot of talent back and a new, but experienced coach. Otis has been a head coach at Franklin and Merrimack Valley, and he seems to be a great fit for this program. The Spartans are in good hands with Cummings, a three-year starter at point guard who seems poised for a breakout season. Menard will miss the first couple of weeks of the season as he recovers from a torn ACL, but once he returns PA will have a plethora of offensive options. The addition of the athletic and hard-working Smith twins, who just helped Pembroke to the D-II soccer title, could prove to be huge.

“The kids have been a pleasure to coach and have been very receptive to the new system,” Otis said. “If we commit to defense and rebounding, I see big improvements over the course of the season.”

Teams to beat: Kearsarge, Merrimack Valley, Lebanon