×

NMH leaves Brewster in dust

  • Northfield Mount Hermon’s Noah Kirkwood (22) hits a 3-pointer over Brewster’s BJ Shaw (12) during the second half of an 87-70 basketball win Sunday at friendly Forslund Gymnasium in Gill. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Northfield Mount Hermon’s Max Lorca (35) flushes a second-half dunk against Brewster Sunday during his team’s 87-70 basketball win at Forslund Gymnasium in Gill. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Northfield Mount Hermon’s Max Lorca (35) slams a baseline dunk on a breakaway in the first half of an 87-70 basketball win over Brewster Sunday at Forslund Gymnasium in Gill. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Northfield Mount Hermon’s Noah Kirkwood (22) drives the lane against Brewster’s Derek Culver (4) in the second half of the host Hoggers’ 87-70 basketball win Sunday at Forslund Gymnasium in Gill. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Northfield Mount Hermon’s Calvin Whipple (10) hits a second-half 3-pointer during an 87-70 basketball win over Brewster Sunday at Forslund Gymnasium in Gill. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Northfield Mount Hermon’s Chuck Hannah (1) drives the lane for a layup in an 87-70 basketball win over Brewster Sunday at Forslund Gymnasium in Gill. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Above, Northfield Mount Hermon’s Max Lorca (35) blocks a shot against Brewster’s Miles Norris (15) during first-half action of an 87-70 host Hogger basketball win Sunday at Forslund Gymnasium in Gill. Below, Northfield Mount Hermon’s Max Lorca (35) flushes a second-half dunk. RECORDER STAFF photos/DAN LITTLE



Recorder Staff
Sunday, January 07, 2018

GILL — For local basketball fans looking to escape the frigid cold Sunday, Forslund Gymnasium was the place to be.

Thirteen players committed to Division I college basketball programs participated in a game between two of the nation’s top prep school programs. Host Northfield Mount Hermon School stormed out of the gates, played lockdown defense and coasted to an impressive 87-70 victory over Brewster Academy in a rematch of last year’s NEPSAC AAA and National Championship games.

Visiting Brewster from Wolfeboro, N.H., won all four meetings with NMH last year, giving the host Hoggers plenty of incentive when the teams met for the first of two scheduled regular-season games Sunday.

“The advantage we have in this rivalry is the history on our team,” began NMH head coach John Carroll, whose team improved to 13-1 on the season. “We’ve got guys here who have played Brewster a lot over their couple of years with the program and it means a lot to them. And (Brewster), they’ve got a lot of one-year guys who haven’t been around the rivalry. For us, it may mean more and the enthusiasm was definitely there for it today.”

There was an embarrassment of talent on display for Sunday’s game between last year’s National Prep Championship finalists. NMH boasts senior forward Nate Laszewski, who committed to Notre Dame this fall and is ranked No. 51 in the ESPN 100 Class of 2018 rankings. Laszewski, who scored all 21 of his points in the first half against Brewster, thanks to 5-of-11 shooting from 3-point land, headlined six Division I commits for the Hoggers.

Brewster’s list of commits features a laundry list of Division I powerhouse schools. Guard Isaiah Mucius is the highest-ranked recruit, as the Wake Forest-bound talent is ranked No. 71 in the ESPN 100. The Bobcats have players headed to the likes of Oregon, West Virginia, UConn and Syracuse. That list includes Buddy Boeheim, son of Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim, who will play for his father next year in upstate N.Y.

As for the game itself, NMH never trailed. The Hoggers built a 15-3 lead thanks to a pair of 3-pointers from Laszewski, and the hosts used an 18-0 run later in the first half to take a commanding 54-24 lead at intermission.

The hot start, mixed with Saturday’s dominating 110-61 victory over Army Prep, was a welcomed sight for Carroll. The veteran head coach said his teams have often struggled coming back from the winter break, but that hasn’t been the case this season.

“We had 20 days off, so the scare is that after break we come back slowly,” began Carroll. “But the guys had three really good days of practice before (Saturday’s game) and they’ve continued to play well like we had been going into break.”

The Hoggers put things out of reach immediately in the second half. Point guard Noah Kirkwood (Harvard commit) hit a pair of jumpers to open the frame, and Calvin Whipple (14 points, Fairfield commit) and Kai Toews (9 points, UNC-Wilmington commit) buried back-to-back 3-pointers as NMH ignited a 10-0 run out of the locker room to take a commanding 64-24 advantage with 17:20 left in the game.

High-powered Brewster (10-3) was held to its second-lowest point total of the season. West Virginia-bound Derek Culver scored 23 points, but the final score did not reflect NMH’s dominance.

“This was our best performance of the year defensively,” Carroll lauded.

Kirkwood, a 6-foot-7, 215-pound combo guard, scored a team-high 22 points to go with 6 assists and 6 rebounds in a stellar performance running the point. The Canadian native from Kanata, Ontario, committed to Harvard in the fall.

“The expectation is that when we need a play, he’s going to go make it happen,” offered Carroll of Kirkwood. “He fills the stat sheet for us. He’s an anchor.”

Junior Max Lorca added 11 points, 8 rebounds and 4 blocks for NMH, which plays at Brewster Academy on Jan. 21. The Hoggers are back in action Friday with a home game against undefeated Montverde Prep (Fla.), currently ranked No. 1 in the country in the USA Today High School Top 25 poll.

• In action on Saturday, Whipple, Kirkwood and Laszewski combined for 65 points as NMH blasted Army Prep, 110-61.

Kirkwood tallied an identical total of 22 points and added 9 assists and 7 boards. Whipple scored 22 while Laszewski added 21 points and 9 rebounds. Kekoa McArdle scored 9 points and pulled down 5 rebounds.