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Capsule outlook for the area’s D-II and D-III high school boys’ basketball teams

  • Merrimack Valley’s Kyle Dube goes up for a shot against Kearsarge during last season’s Division II semifinals in Durham at the University of New Hampshire’s Lundholm Gymnasium. Dube, a D-II First Team pick last year, is back for the Pride, who have been to back-to-back semifinals. See Page B2 for previews of area D-II and D-III boys’ basketball teams. RICH MIYARA file / NH Sports Photography

  • Bishop Brady’s Tommy Fraser (32) blocks a shot from Bow forward Steven Guerrette (32) during a game last January. Both Fraser, a D-II Honorable Mention last season, and Guerrette, who was just named the D-II North Football Player of the Year, are back this season for their respective teams, who will meet on Jan. 24 in Concord. GEOFF FORESTER file / Monitor staff

  • Pembroke Academy forward Shea Shackford goes up for a shot between two Merrimack Valley defenders during a game last season on Jan. 15 in Penacook. Shackford was a D-II Honorable Mention last season and is the only returning starter for PA, the defending champs GEOFF FORESTER file / Monitor staff

Published: 12/12/2019 10:50:26 PM
Modified: 12/12/2019 10:50:15 PM

BISHOP BRADY

Division: II

Coach: Phil Davis (1st year)

Last year: 10-9, reached first round

Returning starters: Billy Fraser, 6-4, sr., F; Tommy Fraser, 6-4, sr., F; Ismael Rivera, 5-7, sr., G; Gabriel Amnott, 5-11, jr., G

Top newcomers: Jerome Donahue, 6-1, soph., G; Merci Ngabo, sr., 6-3, F; Matt Wiley, 6-0, soph,, F

Outlook: The Green Giants have a new coach this year in Davis, but they bring back a lot of talent and experience, starting with Tommy Fraser, a D-II Honorable Mention last season. The addition of Ngabo will help the Fraser twins on the inside, as will 6-4 senior Connor Raposo. Rivera gives Brady a steady hand on the offense’s steering wheel. “We are an experienced team that is going to compete at the highest level each and every night,” Davis said.

Teams to beat: Hollis Brookline, Souhegan, Bow, Hanover, Bishop Brady

BOW

Division: II

Coach: Frank Moreno (3rd year)

Last year: 4-14, did not make tournament

Returning starters: Ben Harris, 6-5, sr., F; Steven Gurerrette, 6-2, sr., F; Nick Kiah, 6-3, sr., G; Matt Lamy, 6-3, soph., G; Shaun Lover, 6-2, jr., G

Outlook: Not only do the Falcons return all five starters from last year’s team that was more competitive than its record indicates, they also have four more experienced returners coming off the bench in Owen Petretta (6-1 guard), Matt Cardarelli (6-0 forward), Sebastian Beaulieau (5-8 guard) and Cooper Larrabee (6-0 forward). “I think the experience and depth will help us turn some of those close games from last year into wins this year,” Moreno said. “We have great chemistry, great height and we’re very hungry, so we’re optimistic.”

Teams to beat: Pelham, Lebanon, ConVal

JOHN STARK

Division: II

Coach: Mike Smith (20th year)

Last year: 8-11, reached first round

Returning starters: Christian Barr, 6-4, sr., F/G; Kayden Easter, 5-5, sr., F/C; Jacob Greene, 6-1, sr., G/F

Top newcomers: Benjamin McKean, jr., G, 6-1; Isaac Michael, 6-2, jr., F; Dwayne Johnson, 5-10, fr., G; Mason Kerr, 6-3, fr., C

Outlook: The Generals came on strong at the end of last season, going 6-3 in their final nine games to make the tournament with Barr, a D-II Second Team pick last year, leading the way. Smith hopes that momentum carries into this season. “Many of the players worked hard on their game during the offseason,” Smith said. “If we can defend, rebound, and stay healthy they have the potential to be a solid team in Division II. They are great kids who love the game it will be fun to see how far that takes us.”

MERRIMACK VALLEY

Division: II

Coach: Tim Mucher (5th year)

Last year: 15-6, reached semifinals

Top returners: Kyle Dube, 6-4, sr., F; Griff Wheeler, 5-10, jr., G; Matt Grandmaison, 5-10, jr., G

Top newcomers: Justin Whaley, 6-5, jr., C/F; Patrick Starkey, 6-3, jr., G

Outlook: The Pride is coming off back-to-back trips to the semifinals, so the team knows what it takes to win. Dube, a D-II First Team pick last year, has been a central figure in MV’s recent success and other D-II coaches probably feel like they’ve been facing him for a decade. Wheeler brings a ton of experience and poise for a junior, and Grandmaison is another capable guard in the Pride’s backcourt. Dube should have more inside help than he’s had in the past with Whaley and Starkey now in the fold, and with seniors Ethan Drapeau (6-2) and Dominic Carigan (6-3) in the mix.

Teams to beat: Bow, Lebanon, Hollis Brookline, Bishop Brady

PEMBROKE

Division: II

Coach: Rich Otis (3rd year)

Last year: 21-1, D-II champions

Returning starters: Shea Shackford, 6-0, sr., G/F

Outlook: The Spartans will have to replace a lot of talent and experience from last year’s team, including four-year starter and 2018-19 D-II Player of the Year Noah Cummings. Shackford is a good piece to build around becasue he can do a little bit of everything, but he may have to do a lot of everything for Pembroke this season, at least early on. The only other player who saw any meaningful varsity minutes last year was Mike Pitman, who is now a sophomore guard.

HOPKINTON

Division: III

Coach: Steve Signor (4th year)

Last year: 13-7, reached quarterfinals

Returning starters: Kevin Newton-Delgado, sr., F/C; Shepyrd Murdough, sr., G; Michael Baer, sr., G

Top newcomers: Brendan Elrick, soph., F/C; John Jacobsen, jr., G/F; Owen Milchick, jr., G/F

Outlook: The Hawks lost just one senior from last season’s team and they come into this season with loads of depth. Newton-Delgado, a D-III Honorable Mention last year, is the big name, but Signor said, “we have 13 players where any one of them could be the star of the night. It is a great problem to have but a difficult one to manage as you want your top players to get the minutes while balancing the minutes for the remaining team. ... We have an interesting group as they all provide something to the team that will help create a challenge for preparing to play us. If we stay true to the team and buy into our roles we will be a tough team to play.”

Teams to beat: Campbell, Mascenic, Somersworth, White Mountains

PITTSFIELD

Division: IV

Coach: Jay Darrah (18th year)

Last year: 14-6, reached quarterfinals

Returning starters: Jesse MacGlashing, jr., F; Devin Bedell, sr., G; Chandler Norris, sr., G; Tyler Prentice, sr., G

Top newcomers: Quinn Bissonnette, sr., C; Gavin Bedell, soph., G

Outlook: With Devin Bedell and Prentice returning to lead the offense, MacGlashing and Norris making improvements during the offseason, and the 6-9 Bissonnette returning to the fold to provide an inside presence to complement the Panthers’ fast-paced offense, Pittsfield seems to have what it takes to be one of the top teams in D-IV and to make a deep tournament run. “While intensity and effort will be at a premium, it will be our ability to stay composed down the stretch that will determine how much of a factor we will be in March,” Darrah said.

Teams to beat: Newmarket, Littleton, Woodsville




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