Local Hoops Action
Okay folks, the local high school basketball season is underway and in full swing, so let's get to it!
The Leland & Gray boys' hoop squad got their season rolling early, knocking off rival Green Mountain, 69-28, in the opening-round of the season-opening tournament in Arlington.
Noah Chapin and Colin Nystron led the way for the Rebels with 14 points each, while Tyler Russell and Jake Huston pitched in with 10 and 9 points respectively.
However, to Green Mountain's credit, they bounced right back in the consolation game of the tournament, knocking off host Arlington, 67-65, in an overtime thriller.
After Arlington made a late comeback in regulation and in the waning seconds of overtime, the Chiefs' Justin Veysey got a big offensive rebound and put-back for the winning basket.
Veysey led all Green Mountain scorers with 17 points, while Ian Currie and Jason Albert pitched in with 13 points each. Ryan McNally added 9 points for the Chiefs and Kolby Crofut led the way for Arlington with 22 points.
In Manchester, the Burr & Burton boys' hoop team began their season in full-stride, knocking off Otter Valley, 56-35, in the opening round of the Mount Saint Joseph Academy Tip-Off Tournament in Rutland.
Bulldog senior Chris Antonez led all scorers with 21 points, including a whopping 19 points in the first half to keep his team in the game nearly single-handedly.
Antonez also hit five 3-pointers, while Joseph Keefe also pitched in with 10 points.
The key to the game for Burr & Burton was their ability to hit the three, knocking down eight treys on the night.
The Springfield High School boys' basketball team lost a tough one in their season-opener at Woodstock, dropping a tight, 49-43 decision to the Wasps.
Brandon Boyle led the way for the Cosmos with 13 points, while Billy Wheeler pitched in with 12 points.
Woodstock senior Colin Hagenbarth, who did not play his junior year, led the Wasps with 12 points, but his defensive play against Boyle might have been the difference in the game.
Luke Hanson also pitched in with 10 points and eight rebounds for the Wasps.
Celtics Are On A Roll
As the Boston Celtics appear to be hitting their stride during a recent, (at press time) season-high eight game winning streak, including four on the road I might add, the focus of the team's success continues to revolve around the health and play of the "Big Three,"Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.
However, another Celtic starter (not named Rajan Rondo) who is quietly emerging into a tough player on both ends of the floor is 7-year center Kendrick Perkins.
After being drafted by the Celtics right out of high school in 2004, a very young "Perk" (19 years old) entered the league as a very strong but raw player, a pretty good rebounder but not much of an offensive player or defender in the paint.
However, each year Perk has improved upon all aspects in his game, rebounding, scoring in the paint and most importantly, his defense.
Mr. Perkins has now developed into one of the best low post defenders and shot blockers in the league, already producing four blocks in a game four times this year.
On top of this, Perkins is now beginning to develop a pretty good offensive game in the post, having now worked with "big man" guru and former NBA player Clifford Ray for several years to improve his inside game.
For a player who was once just big and strong, is now averaging a double-figures in points and rebounds, is in the top ten in the league in blocked shots and already has a championship ring in pocket.
Not bad for a big, slow high school kid from Beaumont, Texas.
Patiots Fall Again
After getting blasted two weeks ago on Monday Night Football to the high-flying New Orleans Saints, the Patriots were looking to bounce back on the road, traveling to Miami to take on the division rival Dolphins.
After going up by two touchdowns in the first quarter, including a 58-yard touchdown pass to Randy Moss, Miami fought an up hill battle the rest of the way, pulling out a dramatic home win on a 41-yard field goal by Dan Carpenter with one minute left on the clock.
The loss leaves the Patriots one game ahead of Miami and the Jets, heading into this week.
Red Sox Nation News
In Red Sox Nation news, the Sox have settled on yet another shortstop with the signing former Blue Jay Marco Scutaro to a two-year deal.
The 34-year old Scutaro now takes the place of Alex Gonzalez who of course, just signed with the Blue Jays.
To this sports editor, the move is yet another head-scratcher from Theo Epstein in the Sox' revolving door of shortstops since the departure of Nomar Garciapara in 2004.
Orlando Cabrera, Edgar Rentaria, Julio Lugo and Alex Gonxalez twice.
Am I forgetting any one? Well, you could throw Jed Lowerie and Nick Green in their too, and not one of these guys was worth keeping for more than a song?
Theo should have signed Cabrera to a long term deal after he helped the Sox win the World Series in 2004, and they should have been more patient with Renteria and given him one more year to settle into Boston.
However, this is not the answer either, and the revolving door will not slow down anytime soon.
Even though he got a two year deal, Scutaro is just another stop-gap. A pretty good 34-year-old player coming off his career year is not a long-term answer.