NMH captures NEPSAC title

  • NMH senior Chris Ledlum dunks for two of his game-high 37 points on Saturday during the Hoggers’ 91-79 victory over St. Thomas More in the NEPSAC semifinals. On Sunday, NMH defeated Brewster, 96-85, to win its second straight NEPSAC title and third in four years. contributed photo/miguel lorca

Staff Writer
Published: 3/3/2019 10:06:37 PM

The Northfield Mount Hermon School boys basketball team used a big second-half performance for the second day in a row to defend its New England Prep School Athletic Conference AAA championship with a 96-85 victory over Brewster Academy in the title game Sunday evening at Western New England University in Springfield.

The victory gives the Hoggers (32-5) the NEPSAC title for the second straight season and marks the third championship in four years. The 32-5 record also made program history.

Things did not come easy for NMH, which trailed 52-45 against Brewster, a team it split with during the regular season, having beaten Brewster, 71-69, in Wolfeboro, N.H., on Jan. 27, but suffering a 72-63 loss in Gill on Jan. 11.

The second half saw the Hoggers step up defensively to limit Brewster to 33 points, while NMH’s offense got hot, particularly Ben Callahan-Gold, who went 6-for-8 from 3-point range in the frame and scored all 20 of his points after halftime.

“I just think our defense stepped up. We did a good job of trying to contain their paint touches and closed out on their shooters,” NMH coach John Carroll said. “We did a really, really good job boxing out and limited them to as few offensive boards as we could. At the same time, our offense also really started clicking.”

Chris Ledlum, who is committed to Harvard next season, finished with a team-high 31 points, nine rebounds, four assists, two blocked shots and two steals in the victory. Darius Ervin added 12 points, four boards and two assists, and Michael Jankovich added 11 points.

The victory was also special for senior Max Lorca-Lloyd, who is committed to the University of Pennsylvania. Lorca-Lloyd has been with the program since his freshman year and the victory marked his program-record 121st of his career and also gave him his third NEPSAC title. 

Carroll said its players like Lorca-Lloyd that help his program sustain success because he has so many players who are long-term guys. Carroll said that he had three post-grad players on this year’s roster, and just one last year, and one in 2016 when the team won the crown.

“Max is a great example of how many multi-year guys we have,” the coach began. “He was able to watch the guys win it as a freshman, and then he was able to contribute his sophomore and junior years, and then be a leader this year. To have nine sophomores on our team this year will only give them the advantage next year.”

NMH will play in the National Tournament quarterfinals, Wednesday at Connecticut College against an opponent to be determined.

• On Saturday, NMH came back from a 14-point halftime deficit to defeat St. Thomas More, 91-79, in the NEPSAC semifinals at Forslund Gymnasium in Gill.

Ledlum finished with 37 points in the win, while Greg Dolan added 24 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals. Lorca-Lloyd added 10 points, seven rebounds, six assists and five blocked shots.

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