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Saint Francis scores a big, unlikely win

by - Published March 6, 2014 in Columns
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SMITHFIELD, R.I. – When the final buzzer sounded, Ronnie Drinnon turned to the students and raised his arms, even though his team was on the road. His coach could barely contain himself a couple of minutes later. And if you know a little of the history of Saint Francis University, including recently, along with how much the coach knows about that history and the makeup of the team right now, you can understand why.

It might be one of the biggest quarterfinal wins in a mid-major conference tournament in some time. Drinnon had just played the game of his life, and a program that hasn’t tasted a great deal of success got a big win that can be a big momentum boost even if they get thumped in their next game on Saturday.

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Offense helps Florida State move along late in the season

by - Published March 5, 2014 in Columns
floridastate

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Florida State was very concerned about Boston College for a lot of reasons. After pulling out a 74-70 win over the Eagles, they were pretty relieved.

“I hope that people understand that they’ve got everybody back next year, and I hope we only play them once, and I hope it’s at our place,” said head coach Leonard Hamilton with a smile. “We were just very fortunate to get a stop, hit a free throw, get a turnover right at the end that gave us a chance to pull it out.”

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Brewster Academy wins a second straight title on more than talent

by - Published March 3, 2014 in Columns
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BEVERLY, Mass. – Championships are not won merely by assembling talent and rolling out the basketballs. Jason Smith already understood this well, and that was driven home again on Sunday. The good thing for the Brewster Academy head coach is that the result of it was positive, a thrilling 68-63 win over New Hampton in the NEPSAC Class AAA championship.

Brewster Academy won the Class AAA championship for the second year in a row and has now won four NEPSAC titles in the past seven seasons. While in recent years the Bobcats have annually had the most talent in Class AAA, that hasn’t always translated into a title. Talent alone doesn’t do it, and it’s not just because NEPSAC is so competitive, although Smith offered plenty of words about that after the game.

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Adams leads Cushing to a repeat in less dramatic fashion

by - Published March 3, 2014 in Columns
nepsac

BEVERLY, Mass. – This time around, a buzzer-beater was not needed for the win in the big game.

Cushing Academy won last year’s NEPSAC Class AA championship with a buzzer-beater from about mid-court from Jalen Adams (6’2″ Jr. SG, Roxbury (MA)). The Penguins won this year’s title with Adams taking MVP honors in their 78-68 win over Kimball Union Academy, and with their other top players coming up big as they needed them to.

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Phillips Exeter is an unlikely repeat champion

by - Published March 3, 2014 in Columns
author_kasiecki

BEVERLY, Mass. – A year ago, anyone could have predicted this result before the season. This year, not so much.

While any championship feels great, you have to think Phillips Exeter head coach Jay Tilton feels especially good about the one his team took home in dramatic fashion on Sunday by a 49-46 margin over Hotchkiss, their second NEPSAC Class A title in a row.

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Maine has work ahead to stop a repeat of this season

by - Published March 3, 2014 in Columns
maine

It’s not like anyone couldn’t see this coming. With Maine’s personnel, a season like the one that is mercifully nearing an end looked possible, even likely almost a year ago.

The Black Bears were already going to lose two seniors. Then Justin Edwards transferred and Alasdair Fraser opted to pursue a pro career overseas a year early, and leading three-point shooter Jon Mesghna followed them out the door. With that, the Black Bears had been gutted of talent and experience. Then junior Killian Cato missed the first semester due to academics, as if that wasn’t bad enough.

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Cornell’s future can only be better

by - Published March 2, 2014 in Columns, Your Phil of Hoops
cornell

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – There are still two games left, but Cornell’s 2013-14 season will be ending after them. There won’t be any postseason play, and the only possible drama – that of whether or not the Big Red would win a Division I game this season – was removed two weeks ago when they beat Dartmouth. So at this point, maybe a look ahead is warranted, because this season will go down as one to forget.

The season was already going to be a tough one before it began. They had already lost a lot from a year earlier just from the senior class. In addition, Shonn Miller, their best player, suffered a shoulder injury late last year that had not healed well, and redshirting was possible. As the season is almost over, we know that has happened. They lost two more starters they didn’t expect to as well, so this team was basically starting over.

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Saturday Notes – March 1, 2014

by - Published March 2, 2014 in Columns
author_kasiecki

The last Saturday before conference tournaments begin is in the books. It was a full day, with important games right off the bat and all the way to the end. There was one game that was a showdown of top teams in a conference and another that many thought would be one before the season but lost a lot of its luster. Four of the top teams were in matchups in the American Athletic Conference, meaning the top of the conference was at stake.

The best month of basketball is upon us and it had quite a beginning on Saturday. With that, here are notes from some of the day’s games.

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At UMass-Lowell, there’s an end that’s part of a beginning

by - Published March 1, 2014 in Columns
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LOWELL, Mass. – They sailed off into the sunset, or something like that. And with it, the first chapter in a new beginning closed.

That’s enough with the cliches, though they provide an apt introduction into a look at the first year of Division I at UMass-Lowell and Senior Night. The seniors will move on, but the program is just beginning, and aided by the four seniors, the first season can only be looked at as a success and a reason to believe the future has a lot of promise for the program.

“I think you’d be hard-pressed to find anybody that would have guessed we would win eight America East games,” said head coach Pat Duquette.

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The jury is still out on how good Pittsburgh is

by - Published February 28, 2014 in Columns
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CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – As crunch time is upon us, one of many questions out there is what to make of Pittsburgh. The Panthers are clearly a good team, though certainly beatable, but just how good they are is up for debate. As they entered a season-ending stretch that sees them playing three of four on the road with a three-game losing streak, winning on Wednesday night at Boston College would seem a good way to move forward. They did it with a 66-59 win, but it’s also one that leaves the jury out on how good the Panthers are.

At the same time, the opportunity to change that is there.

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College Basketball Tonight

COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, who will be joined by former Manhattan and Seton Hall head coach Bobby Gonzalez and many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show will air on AM 970 The Answer in New York City from 7-9 p.m. on every Sunday from Selection Sunday to the Final Four. You can listen to the show here.

Your Phil of Hoops

Watson’s transfer will sting BU the most

April 11, 2014 by

bostonuniversity

Boston University recently saw three players transfer. The impact of the departure of one of them will be felt more than the other two.

Mihalich’s first year at Hofstra is over but will have plenty of value

March 9, 2014 by

hofstra

The first year for Hofstra under Joe Mihalich is in the books. Many expected that wins would be hard to come by, and they were, but this season was about more than that and is hardly a throwaway year.

Cornell’s future can only be better

March 2, 2014 by

cornell

Cornell has had a rough season, as could be expected given some personnel losses. It’s almost in the books, and the future at least looks brighter.

2013 Prep School Tour

Missed a recap of an open gym workout? We have them all right here for you.

Sept. 9: St. Andrew's
Sept 10: Tilton
Sept. 11: South Kent School and Northfield Mount Hermon
Sept. 12: Putnam Science Academy
Sept. 16: St. Thomas More and Marianapolis Prep
Sept. 17: Brewster Academy and Phillips Exeter
Sept. 23: New Hampton School
Sept. 24: Brimmer and May
Sept. 25: Proctor Academy
Sept. 26: Notre Dame Prep and Cushing Academy
Sept. 29: Worcester Academy and Vermont Academy
Oct. 6: Charlestown High School and Milton Academy
Oct. 13: Tabor Academy
Oct. 15: Brooks School

Hoopville Archives

Even More: City Hoops Recruiting

Travel team profile: Blackstone Valley Chaos

Size and options on the wing are not lacking for this year’s junior team

Travel team profile: Expressions Elite

Expressions Elite has quickly become one of the deeper programs in New England

Cesar Fulcar commits to Wentworth

The senior guard led Watertown to the state semifinal this past season

Travel team profile: Bay State Magic

Bay State Magic doesn’t have much size on their junior team this season, so they’ll have to win with execution and intangibles

Travel team profile: Mass Elite

Mass Elite is one of the largest travel teams in the state despite being relatively new

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is already moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter