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October 25. 2013 9:41PM

John Habib's City Sports: High school hoops preseason jamboree finally a reality

For years, coaches Dave Keefe of Manchester’s Trinity High School and Dave “Doc” Wheeler of Manchester Central hoped someone would establish a preseason basketball jamboree to showcase teams and players.

Their wish finally came true this year.

Spearheaded by former Alvirne High of Hudson coach Kevin Bonney, the first annual 16-team Coaches for a Cause Pre-Season Basketball Jamboree will take place at Alvirne Dec. 6 and 7.

On Day 1, Salem will play Windham at 5 p.m., Bishop Guertin of Nashua will meet Bishop Brady of Concord at 6:30, and Merrimack and Pelham will clash at 8.

The jamboree continues the next day at noon when Alvirne and Newport collide, followed by Spaulding of Rochester and Lebanon at 1:30 p.m., and Bedford and Portsmouth at 3.

The final two games feature Central and Conant of Jaffrey at 4:30 p.m., and defending Division I champion Trinity playing defending Division II champ Pembroke Academy at 6.

“This is outstanding on many fronts,” said Wheeler. “It brings attention to our sport and rewards all the players who have worked hard during the offseason. I mean, this is a win-win situation for everyone involved and gives everyone a chance to see 16 teams before the start of the regular season.”

Keefe said he believes this will become an annual event.

“Kevin Bonney deserves a great deal of credit for making this happen,” said Keefe. “We sat around a table one night and talked about how neat it would be to schedule games between teams from different divisions. We also wanted to give something back to the community.”

This year’s proceeds will go to the New Horizons for New Hampshire soup kitchen, food pantry and shelters, Keefe said. Next year, jamboree organizers will choose a different charity.

The Trinity-Pembroke match-up will feature many outstanding players. Carmen Giampetruzzi, Ryan Otis and Wenyen Gabriel will lead the Pioneers against standout senior Patrick Welch, who has a chance of eclipsing the 2,000-career-point mark this season.

Central returnees Dawson Dickson, Brett Hanson and Mike Plentzas will be going up against Conant’s standout duo of Rob O’Brien and Eli Hodgson.

“I’ve seen the two Conant kids play, and they’re very good players,” said Wheeler, adding that he’ll probably fill up two notebooks scouting the seven other Division I schools in the jamboree.

Wheeler and Keefe said their jamboree game gives them a chance to play many of their players.

“We can try different combinations, mix and match players,” said Keefe. “It gives us a chance to develop some chemistry.”

Central opens the regular season at Trinity on Tuesday, Dec. 17.

- - - - - - - -

TRINITY’S chapter of the National Honor Society is hosting the first Pioneer Dash 5K road race to benefit New Horizons, the New Hampshire Food Bank, St. Anthony’s Food Pantry, the Salvation Army and the Wounded Warrior Project.

The race starts next Saturday at 1 p.m. at Derryfield Park. Entry fee is $25, with the first 150 registrants receiving a T-shirt. Registration may be done online at www.millenniumreg.com/the-pioneer-dash.

Also next Saturday, the Anthem Manchester Kids’ Marathon takes place at Livingston Park, beginning at 10 a.m. Children ages 1 to 8 are eligible to participate in a free 1-mile run. All participants will receive a race T-shirt and finisher’s medal. To register online, go to www.cityofmanchestermarathon.com.

The kids’ race leads into the seventh annual Manchester City Marathon/Half Marathon and relay, which start the next day at 8:50 a.m.

“City Sports” is published Saturdays in the New Hampshire Union Leader. Email staff reporter John Habib at jhabib@unionleader.com.


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