Good things in store for locals
Although it might not feel like it outside, the winter season has come to an end.
But before we make the move from indoors to outdoors – and hopefully it’s warmer when we do – let’s take a moment to look back on one hectic season, and one that will hopefully be a little calmer next school year.
We all should have known how the season was going to go when teams were having their first games of the season postponed. Depending on what day games were originally scheduled, some teams were going into the holiday having played a handful of games and some had played just once.
And it didn’t end until the season did, with last week’s tournament postponements, which included pushing the Division II boys basketball semifinals back so far, that they took place less than 24 hours before the championship game. In fact, if Lebanon had made it to the final, the Raiders would have played in Exeter at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, drove two hours home and two hours back to Durham for the championship game Saturday at 3 p.m.
It could have been worse. The NHIAA only had to postpone three of the 10 title games that had been scheduled for last Saturday. What if it had snowed on March 15 instead of three days before? Chaos, most likely.
While the Souhegan boys hockey team was the only local crew to take home a team title, there were plenty of other positive things that happened for the Souhegan Valley’s teams.
Both of the Milford and Souhegan girls basketball teams finished in the top four in Division II
during the regular season. The Spartans reached the semifinals for the second year in a row, and while they’ll miss seniors Jennifer Dupuis, Bri Hoffman and Taylor Steinbrecher, there should be no drop off next year. Milford has a lot of talent coming back and there’s no doubt coach Steve Signor will figure out how to get the best out of his players.
As for the Sabers, it will be tough to replace the nine seniors they’re going to lose, but Souhegan coach Mike Heaney has turned something out of bad situations before.
And although the boys programs were far less successful, there are reasons to believe that could change in the near future. After suffering numerous injuries and a horrendous losing streak, Milford ended the season winning three of its five final games. As for Souhegan, new coach Peter Pierce knew he was in for a rebuilding year, and he was able to get plenty of players experience that will be valuable next season. That includes sophomore Jerrell Duguay Webster, who has the look of a potential star in D-II.
The basketball programs were at Wilton-Lyndeborough were a bit of a surprise as well. The girls overcame a tough start that saw them play the early part of their schedule on the road, but the Warriors bounced back and nearly pulled off an upset at Nute.
The boys got a jolt from newcomer Jordan Litts, who put 42 points in the Warriors’ first-round upset at Colebrook. The junior should be one of the most-talked about players next season, not just in D-IV, but around the state.
Two local teams should be back near the top of their respective sports. The title won by Souhegan boys hockey was its first since 2008, and given the amount of talent that should be back for the Sabers, its not a stretch to mark them as the D-III favorite.
On the mats, the Milford wrestling team surprised some by finishing second in D-II, and with a core of experienced wrestlers back – including division heavyweight champion Travis Hughes – the Spartans could challenge for their first championship since 2000.
While it will be tough to for the athletes and coaches to wait, I think the rest of us will need the break from the winter season. But when its time, it should be a good one.
Joe Marchilena can be reached at 594-6478 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow Marchilena on Twitter (@Telegraph_JoeM).