Manchester West Holds Court and Defeats Bishop Guertin
by Julia Maldonado
The Bishop Guertin Cardinals traveled to the Charles J. Quinn Gymnasium in Manchester, NH on Monday to take on the Manchester West Blue Knights in what marked both teams’ fifth game of the regular season.
Manchester West, led by senior Aaron Martin’s 22 points and 6 rebounds, 3 assist and one steal, defeated the Cardinals 73-63.
West took off from the opening tip and did not look back as they set a rapid pace in the game to suit their quick transition play. Bishop Guertin was caught out of position and slow to react on defense, which allowed West to build an early 23-12 lead after the first eight minutes.
“We didn’t play much defense in the first quarter,” admitted Bishop Guertin head coach Jimmy Migneault. “(West) put up 23 points. They were knocking down their shots and they played very well. When that happens, you get behind and then you have to dig your way out of the whole.”
Bishop Guertin was able to respond and write a different script for the second quarter, as they out rebounded their opponents 10-5 and converted second chance points. Bishop Guertin’s junior center Jeffrey Lunn provided the offensive spark with nine of points in the quarter alone to bring his team within five points of West at the end of the first half. BG upped their defense as well, holding Martin, and junior standouts Jocarl Bureau and Travis Descoteaux to zero points, and the rest of the West team to only 10 points in the second quarter.
The second half began with a tight score of 33-28 but West regained the momentum they enjoyed at the start the game and went ahead 51-40 with a dramatic buzzer-beating shot by sophomore guard Nolan Flynn at the end of the third quarter. At this point in the game, both teams applied increasingly aggressive defense that resulted in numerous fouls and players going to the free throw line for 1-and-1 opportunities.
Those fouls carried over to the fourth quarter, which lasted almost 20 minutes due to the number of stoppages. Both teams did most of their scoring from the free throw line, which they visited a combined 20 times in the fourth quarter. BG went 15 for 18 while West shot 14 for 17 from the stripe in a series of 1-and-1 followed by the automatic 2 shots granted after a team exceeds the 10 foul mark.
Bishop Guertin’s senior guard Brad Holler pitched in seven points in the closing minutes as his team tried to come back from the deficit, but West’s quick hands on defense and free throws made were enough to hold off the Cardinals and earn their second win of the young season.
After the game, Coach Migneault praised the Blue Knight’s discipline and skill on the night.
“I thought (West) played very well,” said Migneault. “They’re very well coached. (West head coach Danny Bryson) does a really good job over there, and they did what they do. They hit threes and got the ball inside when they should have.”
When asked about his team’s performance, Migneault explained that some aspects of his team’s tactics lacked during the game and needed more attention at practice.
“At times we were (executing plays on offense) and at other times we were trying to do too much individually,” Migneault continued. “We weren’t setting enough picks tonight. We’ve got to go back and work a little bit, and I think we’ll be fine.”
The win was particularly important to the Blue Knights who entered the game with a 1-3 record on the season, and most notably, a three game losing streak.
“We know we had to bounce back after those tough three losses that we faced,” said Martin. “Against this good team (BG), we boxed out, we got on the ground, we did what we had to do to get this win and we deserve it.”
The 73-63 win gives West a 2-3 record as they prepare for their next game at Exeter on Friday. Bishop Guertin also has a 2-3 record following the result of this game, and they look ahead to a home game on Friday against Spaulding.
Aaron Martin led the scorers with 22 points, followed by West’s Carl Jacques and BG’s Jeffrey Lunn who recorded 15 points each. The Blue Knights had two other players in double digits, as both Travis Descoteaux (pictured below) and Nolan Flynn had 10 on the night. BG’s sophomore guard Clyde Boykin scored 10, while seniors Holler, Logan Kesty and Jordan Corbin each had 9.
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