Merrimack boys back in title hunt

Nashua North head coach Steve Lane could lament what might have been, what with the transfer of Adelphi-bound guard Ronnie Silva to Bradford (Mass.) Christian, the shift of outrageously athletic, all-Division I big man Alonzo Linton to Lynn (Mass.) English and the move by shifty point guard Sclyler Boykin to his mom’s home in Florida.

Instead, Lane chooses to look ahead and boast about the 96 kids who tried out for his Titan program and their potential to compete in what is a balanced, loaded Division I race.

Sharpshooter Casey Lane, the coach’s son, heads three starters who do return for North, including the big fella in the middle, 6-foot-6 Ryan Lynn.

Another team that should be in the mix is Merrimack, a program that has reached three of the past six state finals.

Coach Tim Goodridge doesn’t return a ton of experience, but what he does is of the blue-chip variety.

Ian Cummings, a senior forward, was a first-team All-Division I choice a year ago and Owen Ploss earned Honorable Mention honors as a junior.

Sophomore Jared Dyer is certainly among the top underclassmen in the state.

“As a freshman, he played like a sophomore,” said Goodridge. “As a sophomore, we expect him to play like a senior.”

Lower numbers at the frosh and JV levels have Goodridge a bit uneasy, but senior Joe Eichman, a scholarship football talent, is a welcomed surprise addition on varsity.

“I really like this team, but every night in Division I, you’re into a big game,” said Goodridge.

South, with three starters back, is looking to improve off an 8-11 campaign. Second-team all-Division I selection Max Bonney-Liles should make Alvirne a bit of a sleeper under first-year coach Marty Edwards.

Bishop Guertin is building from within as coach Matt Regan will turn to a slew of ninth and 10th graders. The cornerstone of the lineup remains returning all-Division I honorable mention choice Yanis Nyantenji.

SMALL SCHOOL CHATTER

Cole Etten takes over the Hollis Brookline program with a solid group, including second-team all-stater Matt Simco. The Cavaliers should figure prominently in the race.

Both Souhegan and Milford return experienced core groups and figure to be amid the playoff contenders come late February.

Sudi Lett takes over at Division III Campbell and expects to crank up the heat in the running game.

At Division IV Wilton Lyndeborough, Dave Wheeler takes the helm after two years (37-2) at the Marlborough School. He welcomes a young Cougar roster to the fold.

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