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Roger Brown's The State of Sports: Simply too much Simco

By ROGER BROWN
New Hampshire Union Leader

March 18. 2018 11:01PM
Hollis/Brookline beat Oyster River 56-40 at the NHIAA Div. II Boys Basketball Final held at Lundholm Gymnasium at University of New Hampshire on Saturday. Hollis/Brookline's Matthew Simco, center, hugs assistant coach Larry Nedzbala after the game. (Allegra Boverman/Union Leader)



There were many reasons the Hollis/Brookline boys’ basketball team left UNH’s Lundholm Gymnasium with a championship trophy Saturday. Oyster River’s poor shooting (1 for 11 on 3-point attempts) and the defensive job Jonathan Brackett and his teammates did against Oyster River guard Kyle Landrigan (four points) are among them.

Oyster River coach Lorne Lucas was excellent in his postgame press conference. He gave a lengthy, detailed response when he was asked why his seventh-seeded Bobcats came up short in the Division II title game, and that response can be whittled down to two words: Matt Simco.

Simco, a 6-foot-3 senior forward, was dominant, and was the No. 1 reason the top-seeded Cavaliers finished the game with a 50-19 edge in rebounding. After three quarters Simco had as many rebounds (13) as the Oyster River team.

“He completely just destroyed us,” Lucas said. “He’s just so strong, so dominant inside. He’s quicker I think than you realize. He’s strong, but he’s quick. That was the difference.”

Simco finished the game with 17 points and 19 rebounds (eight offensive, 11 defensive). Oyster River was limited to one shot per possession for most of the game, and that first shot didn’t go in enough for the seventh-seeded Bobcats to pull off the upset.

Simco made it clear after the game that he was far prouder of his rebounding effort than his point total.

“Scoring can come, he said. “Rebounding — that’s the thing.”

Perhaps no one knows how tough it is to play against Simco than Hollis/Brookline’s Matthew Dowling, another 6-foot-3 forward.

“He knows how to play hard,” Dowling said. “Every day going against him in practice is a battle. It honestly got me a lot better.”

Simco’s effort denied Oyster River its first state championship since 1996, when the Friel brothers, Keith and Greg, were making life tough on Class I opponents.

“Simco was a just force,” Lucas said. “We talked about it: We gotta stop Simco, we gotta stop Simco, we gotta stop Simco. We didn’t.”

“He’s just too fast. He’s too strong. He killed us.”

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PORTSMOUTH’S 46-38 triumph over Dover in Saturday’s Division I championship game earned the Clippers their 21st state championship. Three of those titles came in Division II, however. Manchester Central still has more Division I state championships (19) than any other program.

It was also Portsmouth’s third straight state championship, and the fifth since Jim Mulvey took over as the program’s head coach for the 2006-07 season.

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From left, UNH club basketball team players Jack Hartman, Reed Dannar, Andrew Wetmore. Phil Garraud. Liam McNicholas. Eli Hodgson. Tim Riehl and Tucker Lippold celebrate their regional championship. (COURTESY)

THE UNH men’s club basketball team won the National Intramural-Recreation Sports Association (NIRSA) regional championship at UMass-Amherst earlier this month to become one of 12 teams in the country to qualify for the final tournament of the NIRSA Championship Series, which will be held at Ohio State on April 20-22.

UNH, a team that includes primarily former New Hampshire high school players, defeated Marist twice, St. John’s and Albany before it beat Northeastern, 71-46, in the championship game. Tucker Lippold (Windham), Liam McNicholas (Hopkinton), Phil Garraud (St. Mary’s/Lynn, Mass.), Tim Riehl (Goffstown) and Eli Hodgson (Conant) all scored in double figures against Northeastern. McNicholas, Garraud and Hodgson (tournament MVP) were named to the all-tournament team.

Jack Hartman (Salem), Andrew Wetmore (Alvirne), Reed Dannar (Exeter), Caleb Godin (Pinkerton) and Shea Whalen (Hollis/Brookline) are the other members of the team.

The NIRSA Championship Series gives those who play college recreational sports an opportunity to compete against other schools and take recreational competition to a high level. The UNH team is self-funded and a GoFundMe account has been created to help pay for the trip to Ohio State: www.gofundme.com/59cs8ao.

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BEDFORD’S Andy Lalonde, a 6-foot-4, 255-pound pitcher, has a 1.77 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 20.1 innings for the Southern New Hampshire University baseball team this season.

Lalonde, a graduate student, was a catcher at Bedford High School and began his college career as a catcher/first baseman for St. Bonaventure before he transferred to SNHU.

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FORMER St. Anselm football coach Pat Murphy was hired to be the offensive coordinator at Holy Cross on Friday.

Murphy coached at St. Anselm from 2008 to 2015, and spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach at Tufts. He was named the Northeast-10 Conference’s Co-Coach of the Year in 2014, when he guided the Hawks to a school-record six victories and their first winning record (6-5) since the program was revived in 1999.

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The Joe Yukica New Hampshire Chapter of the National Football Foundation will hold its annual spring coaches’ clinic on April 14 at the University of New Hampshire. Any coach associated with an NHIAA football program is invited to attend.

This year’s speakers include UNH coach Sean McDonnell, St. Anselm coach Joe Adam and Plymouth State coach Paul Castonia. Those who attend will also have a opportunity to view a UNH practice.

An NHIAA representative will also be at the clinic to explain the rules regarding the newly implemented 14-day acclimation period and the change to the football practice starting date. In addition, there will be a rules-review session with Steve Hall from the NHFOA.

Contact Londonderry head coach Jimmy Lauzon for registration information: jlauzon@londonderry.org.

rbrown@unionleader.com


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