Capital Class: First winter votes highlight Concord, Pembroke

  • Concord forward A.J. Dow battles between two Keene defenders. Concord is 7-0. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Pembroke guard Britney Hill (12) battles Milford forward Julianna DaLuz (45) for a rebound along with Pembroke guard Annelise Dexter as she reaches for the ball during the first half on  Dec. 18 at Pembroke Academy. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 1/17/2022 12:29:01 PM

After letting the winter sports season get underway, teams settled in and establishing an identity, and weaving through various postponements or cancelations, Capital Class has returned.

A reminder before we get into the rankings: This is merely meant to highlight area teams that have experienced success throughout the season so far. In no way is this meant to pit student-athletes against one another, but rather bring attention to various teams from surrounding schools in one piece.

It’s been a hectic winter season to start and teams within the capital area have proved to be some of the best around the state once again. Some teams have risen above expectations while others continue to build upon minor forms of success.

Without further ado, the first rankings of the winter.

1. Concord boys’ hockey: The Crimson Tide lead off the poll as the number one team and deservedly so. Concord (7-0) already have claimed a piece of hardware this season after it won the Brian Stone Memorial Tournament during the end of December. The reigning state champions have outscored opponents 31-4, but still have two games against Exeter, another with Hanover and another with Bedford on the remaining schedule.

2. Pembroke girls’ basketball: Pembroke and coach Steve Langevin have enjoyed the fruits of rebuilding the program in the recent past with a hot start to the 21-22 season. The Spartans (10-1) boast one of the best records in Division II that includes wins over Lebanon, Hollis-Brookline and Laconia. PA’s success can be attributed to a relentless defense led by twins Cierra and Britney Hill with offensive production from Ashley Stephens and Annelise Dexter.

3. Pembroke boys’ basketball: Much like the girls’ squad, PA boys have been one of the best in Division II this season and show no signs of slowing down for anyone. The Spartans (9-3) have won as many as six in a row and have yet to play another top team – Souhegan.

4. Merrimack Valley girls’ basketball: The capital region’s strength is certainly Division II basketball this season and the Pride are no exception. MV (9-2) had a seven-game win streak snapped by Hollis-Brookline on Saturday in a six-point road loss. During that win streak, however, the Pride scored an average of 54.8 points while allowing an average of 40.2 points against. MV has Milford, Pembroke and Bow yet to play.

5. Concord Christian girls’ basketball: Regardless of the schedule they play or being in Division IV, the Lady Kingsmen (7-0) have earned recognition and respect among other area teams. They currently are one of two undefeated teams left in their division and their closest margin of victory was a 14-point win over Derryfield.

6. Kearsarge boys’ basketball: The Cougars are one of two unbeaten teams remaining in Division III and have beaten solid teams in Mascoma and Monadnock. Kearsarge has some big tests in the coming weeks, however, with games against Hopkinton and Gilford.

7. Kearsarge girls’ basketball: Along with the boys team, the Cougars girls also post an undefeated record with an unblemished 6-0 – just one of three teams remaining in Division III yet to lose. Kearsarge’s biggest win was a 14-point margin over White Mountains (5-2).

8. Hopkinton boys’ basketball: The reigning Division III state runners-up lost their first game of the season in the first week of the new year to Gilford, but other than that the Hawks remain one of the top programs in their division. Led by Brendan Elrick, Hopkinton (7-1) has scored at its lowest, 44 points twice this season and a season-high 74 in the season opener.

9. Bow girls’ basketball: After starting the season 2-2, the Falcons have rattled off five consecutive wins and now garner attention throughout Division II. In that win streak, Bow has averaged 53.2 points per game while allowing 26.6.

10. Bishop Brady-Trinity girls’ hockey: Certainly an underdog selection, Brady-Trinity (3-2) made a big statement with a 5-4 win over Concord on Jan. 12. The “Brinity” roster only contains 10 skaters, six of which are freshmen.

Next Up:

11. Concord girls’ hockey: The Crimson Tide (3-2) have displayed high highs and low lows. They’ve won their three games a combined 24-3, and both losses were one-goal games. Concord features a good mix of experience and youth. This could be a dangerous team toward playoffs.

12. Concord wrestling: Concord has performed well and boasts a 3-1 dual record. The Crimson Tide have seen consistent results from Kody Rashed (195), Jaycee Haskell (220) and Hunter Jeffers (285) against some of the best in the region.

Others receiving votes: Concord Christian boys’ basketball, Hopkinton girls’ Nordic skiing, Concord girls’ basketball.

Matt Parker bio photo

Matt Parker is a sports reporter at the Monitor and started in August 2021. He is an Ohio native and relishes being from the Buckeye state. A proud graduate of Ohio University located in Athens, Ohio, he served as the sports editor for the student-run newspaper, The Post, from 2019-20. When not at a game or chasing around a coach, you can catch him playing his guitars or looking for the next Peanuts memorabilia piece to add in his growing collection.

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