Memorial JVs rout Nashua North, 63-37, to claim tournament title

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Photo by Stacy Harrison. More photos available at https://stacyharrisonfreelance.smugmug.com/

MANCHESTER, NH – The Memorial High School junior varsity put an exclamation point on a dream season, routing Nashua North, 63-37, to capture the 30th Annual Manchester Memorial DI JV Boys Basketball Invitational, Monday night.

Freshman Dylan Jolicouer poured in 17 points to lead the Crusaders and was named Tournament MVP. Brayden Mariano added 14 points and had six steals to anchor a ferocious Memorial defense.

The Crusaders led wire-to-wire, building a 13-point halftime lead, which grew to 48-27 after three quarters.

Twenty teams participated in the four-day tournament. Memorial, seeded No. 3, opened the tournament with wins over No. 19 Concord (59-45) and No. 11 Windham (62-52). No. 15 Nashua South gave Memorial all it could handle in the semifinals, but the Crusaders held on for a 70-64 win and a berth in the title game.

“These kids have worked hard all season, they’ve played hard together,” said Memorial JC Coach Ray Boucher. “This is the first time in my six years here, at Memorial, and my 20 years coaching, I took seven freshmen to a JV tournament, to a JV league, all season long. We started out playing together, right out of the gate, starting with the spring tournament and they’ve been full-throttle ever since.”

With the four tournament wins, Memorial finished its season at 21-2.

Memorial jumped on top early, behind Ledum Adumene (8 points, 10 rebounds). Nashua North was able to hang close through the first quarter, thanks in large part to the play of  Connor Johnston. The 6-3 center led the Titans with 14 points and pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds, to go with two blocked shots. Johnston earned the “Sportsmanship Award” for the tournament.

Leading 15-10 after one quarter, Memorial ramped up its defense and broke the game open. A steal by Mariano led to a fast-break layup by Jolicouer to start the second quarter. That triggered a 13-4 run, pushing the Memorial lead to 28-14. Jolicouer had 10 points in the run, all coming off steals by the Crusaders’ defense.

In all, Memorial forced North into eight turnovers in the second quarter, as it built a 32-19 lead an intermission.

“I would say that’s not just my team but that’s Memorial basketball. We’re looking to get offense in transition through our defense. We’ve got multiple presses, the kids are engaged, they talk to each other,” said Boucher. “And we run the floor really well. I compare our speed, on JV, to a varsity team.”

Memorial didn’t take its foot off the gas in the third quarter, maintaining the defensive pressure while showing off its depth on offense. Six different players scored for the Crusaders in the quarter. A pair of free throws and a putback by center Jake Orneales (10 points, 7 rebounds) started a 14-0 run that turned the game into a rout, 46-21, midway through the quarter.

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Photo by Stacy Harrison. More photos available at https://stacyharrisonfreelance.smugmug.com/

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Photo by Stacy Harrison. More photos available at https://stacyharrisonfreelance.smugmug.com/

About this Author

Bill Gilman

Bill Gilman is a veteran journalist with 35 years of experience covering community news and sports in New England. He and his wife have two grown sons and two perfect granddaughters.

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