Sunday, November 23, 2008

Wolverines Fall To #1 Ranked Hargrave, Bounce Back With Big Win At National Prep Showcase

The Bridgton Academy Wolverines suffered their first loss of the season on Friday against #1 ranked Hargrave Military Academy 76-74 on a buzzer beating 25 foot 3 pointer. The game had been close throughout the contest with Hargrave maintaining a slight edge most of the game including taking a 41-36 lead into halftime. Head Coach Whit Lesure said, "I was happy with the way we played the end of the first half and the start of the second, Dwayne Smith's effort stood out to me."

The Wolverines made some adjustments in the second half and after a big three pointer late from Malik Stith the Wolverines found themselves with a two point lead. With 3.5 seconds remaining Hargrave in bounded the ball from just over half court and connected on a contested 3 point attempt from about 25 feet out. Lesure noted, "It's a tough loss. But we don't have the time to analyze it now. Give their kid Riley credit for making a terrific clutch shot."

Malik Stith who lead the Wolverines in scoring with 19 points looked at the game as a good measuring stick for his team early in the season, "We realize we can play with anyone when we play our game but it's going to take two strong halves to do it. Even tonight I think we are just beginning to realize our potential, we just need to keep working hard and getting better as a team."

Rounding out the scoring for the Wolverines was Dwayne Smith with 18 points, Chad July 10, Kauri Black 8, Jamal Crook 7, Justin Rake, Carl Blair 4, and Jack Houpt 3.

Bridgton Academy found themselves back in action on Saturday when they faced Champlain, a team from the Montreal area in Canada. It was clear early on that the Wolverines were eager to get back to their winning ways as they were able to establish a lead early and never look back winning by a final score of 65-46.

Coach Lesure described the game as, "A good win for us" adding "I felt like when Malik (Stith) finished our shootaround in the morning with a made free throw, our team got past yesterdays defeat."

The Wolverines built up an 11 point half time lead (36-25) and held Champlain to just 21 points in the second half. "We expected Champlain's competitiveness. Our bench played their butts off in the 2nd half. Crook and Gross gave us a huge lift, and Blair settled us down at the point."

Wolverines Guard Jamal Crook commented on the game saying, "We rebounded from last nights game strong, we got off to a little bit of a slow start in the first half but we picked things up pretty quick. We just made sure to stick to what we know can help win us basketball games and thats our team defense."

Teammate Garrison Gross followed by saying, "I think we're coming together as a team. We showed we can rebound from a tough game and make the adjustments we need to make to get better. It's still early in the season so we just want to work on getting better and better."

Crook led the Wolverines in a balanced scoring attack with 12 points, followed by Carl Blair with 9, Justin Rake, Chad July, and Dwayne Smith with 8 apiece, Kauri Black 7, Malik Stith 6, Jack Houpt 5, and Bryant Avent 2.

The Wolverines will head into the break with a 4-1 record and are off until December 7th when they will face Winchendon School at the Wolverdome, tip off is at 1 p.m.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bridgton Academy Ranked 5th In Pre-Season National Prep Basketball Poll

The Bridgton Academy Wolverines find themselves ranked 5th in the Pre-Season National Prep Basketball Poll.

The Top 10 are as follows...

1. Hargrave Military Academy- 48 points, (3)
2. Brewster Academy- 44 points, (2)
3. Patterson School- 43 points
4. Notre Dame Prep- 31 points
5. Bridgton Academy- 25 points
6. South Kent School- 22 points
7. Winchendon School- 15 points
8. Stoneridge Prep- 11 points
9. St. Mark's School- 8 points
10. St. Thomas More- 7 points

For the entire story see the New England Recruiting Report website Pre-Season National Prep Poll

Monday, November 17, 2008

Wolverines Improve to 3-0, Down Harvard JV 79-49

The Bridgton Academy Basketball team traveled down to Harvard University to face the Crimson JV squad Monday night and came away with an impressive 79-49 win to improve their early season record to 3-0.

The game got off to a slow start with both teams struggling to put the ball in the hoop, however it was just a matter of time before the Wolverines offense started to come alive. Dwayne Smith (Toronto, Ontario) pointed to his teams defense as a big reason they were able to build a lead even with some offensive struggles early, "We take a lot of pride in our defense and even on nights like tonight when we might struggle with our offense early on, we know we'll have our defense there for us. Even tonight as the game progressed we started capitalizing on their mistakes and got our offense going that way."

It was the Wolverines first road trip of the season something Head Coach Whit Lesure was happy to put behind them, "It's always an adventure the first time we get on a bus and travel a couple of hours to play, but I was happy we packed our defense with us for the trip." The Wolverines defense was certainly evident throughout the game, particularly in the first half holding Harvard to just 16 points while building up a 21 point lead at the break (37-16).

The second half saw a bit more scoring action from both sides early on then did the first, however, the Wolverines were able to maintain a double digit lead throughout the game thanks in large part to the Wolverines bench, "Every time Harvard made a run and tried to cut into the lead, our bench was there to step up and put an end to any sort of comeback bid they were trying to make" said Lesure.

Dwayne Smith and Justin Rake (Mandeville, LA) both came off the bench to lead the Wolverines offensively scoring 16 and 14 points respectively, Jamal Crook (Louisville, KY) followed with 11, and Malik Stith (Long Island, NY) 9. In all eleven different Wolverines got into the scoring column.

Bridgton Academy will return to action this weekend as they head down to Bryant University in Rhode Island for the National Prep Showcase beginning Friday, November 21st when the Wolverines meet National powerhouse Hargrave Military Academy with tip off scheduled for 4:00 p.m.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Wolverines Dominate Edison, Win 99-60

The Bridgton Academy Basketball team came through with another impressive outing Sunday afternoon, defeating Edison Job Corps Academy (NJ) 99-60 at the Wolverdome.

Fresh off their season opening win over Maine Central Institute just four days ago, the Wolverines came out ready to go, playing a much faster up-tempo game then against MCI. The speed of the game was hardly a concern for Head Coach Whit Lesure or his players with Lesure stating, "We ain't never been afraid of runnin', and we were rippin' and runnin' pretty good today."

After struggling some offensively in the season opener, the Wolverines had no problem scoring the ball on Sunday, posting an early season high of 99 points. Forward Kauri Black (Rialto, CA) noted that, "It was really our defense that got our offense going, we played pretty good defense throughout the game and we really capitalized on our opportunities to turn our defense into offense."

Bridgton Academy again used a very balanced scoring attack as 12 different players got into the mix scoring wise. Jamal Crook (Louisville, KY) led four Wolverines in double figures with 22 points, followed by Dwayne Smithh (Toronto, Ontario) with 12, Kauri Black 11, and Chad July (Fort White, FL) 10.

With everyone on the Wolverines roster getting some run this afternoon Coach Lesure was quick to note that, "Our second unit really gave us a big lift today, and guys like Justin Rake (Mandeville, LA) worked their butts off to keep us playing with some enthusiasm." Balanced production will continue to be a key for this years team as on any given night it could be someone different leading the Wolverines to victory.

The team will look to continue their winning ways when they travel down to Cambridge, MA for a showdown with Harvard University's JV squad tomorrow night (11/17), with tip off currently scheduled for 8:00 p.m.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wolverines Down Huskies 71-51, Open Up NEPSAC Play With A Win

After a pair of successful scrimmages last week against Lee Academy Prep and the "Class Acts" (ME) the Bridgton Academy Wolverines kicked off their 2008-09 NEPSAC home opener with a hard fought 71-51 victory over visiting Maine Central Institute Wednesday night at the Wolverdome.

MCI jumped out to an early lead in the opening minutes of the game, but the Wolverines quickly erased it and began to build a lead of their own, relying primarily on their intense defensive pressure to do so. That defensive pressure enabled the Wolverines to force 26 turnovers, including 19 in the first half, resulting in some easy transition opportunities that saw Bridgton Academy ultimately take a 43-26 lead heading into halftime. Carl Blair (Katy, TX) led the Wolverines offensively scoring 13 of his game high 19 points in the first half, drawing praise from Wolverines Head Coach Whit Lesure: "We have a number of guys who can step it up for us on any given night and lead our team, tonight I think Carl gave us a big boost, particularly in the first half, both offensively and defensively."

The second half proved to be a good challenge early in the season for the Wolverines in working to protect a lead, a challenge they were able to rise up for as they maintained a double digit lead throughout the entire second half. Bridgton Academy point guard Malik Stith (Mathews, NC) was quick to point to his team's unselfishness and work ethic as reasons to why the Wolverines were so successful tonight: "We've got so many unselfish guys on the team that our offense will come naturally, we work hard on our defense everyday in practice and we know that our hard work in practice will transcend into our games and we'll be able to use our defense to create a lot of offensive opportunities for us like we did tonight."

That unselfishness led to a very balanced scoring attack from the Wolverines with Blair's 19 points leading a quartet of players in double figures, as Malik Stith followed with 14 points, Dwayne Smith (Toronto, Ontario) 13, and Kauri Black(Rialto, CA) 11.

When asked about some final thoughts on his teams NEPSAC opener Coach Lesure had this to say: "I think we gave a strong defensive effort tonight, and we were able to avoid any major breakdowns, plus it's always a good feeling when you can win at home."

The Wolverines will look to experience that same feeling again this Sunday, November 16th at 1 p.m. when they play host to Edison Prep (NJ) right here at the Wolverdome.

Jamal Crook (Louisville, KY) takes a jumpshot.

Carl Blair (Katy, TX) penetrates into the lane.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Wolverines Complete Pre-Season With Scrimmage Victory

Bridgton Academy took on the Class Acts (ME) featuring former University of Maine standout Andy Bedard among many other recent college graduates and came away with a hard earned 86-73 win on Sunday morning at the Wolverdome. Stan Jones College Prep (PA) had cancelled the day before setting up a last minute arrangement between the two clubs that have a history of competitive contests in the last decade. BA worked for a double digit advantage in the first half only to see the visitors whittle it down to three at half (41-38). In the second half the Wolverines again built a lead and protected it more successfully in the last five minutes of the game. Coach Lesure was pleased with the way the Wolverines competed against the older players. "I think we're looking for more consistency at both ends, but that comes with time playing together", Lesure said. "If we continue to practice well, we'll be all right", Lesure finished. Maine Central Institute (ME) visits North Bridgton Wednesday night to begin the NEPSAC season.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wolverines Open With Successful Scrimmage

Bridgton Academy began the 2008-2009 basketball season with a successful scrimmage with in-state rival Lee Academy at the Wolverdome in North Bridgton, ME on Tuesday afternoon. BA began the scrimmage with an aggressive defensive attack to take control early in the first twenty minutes. Both teams settled down a bit as the second and third halves played out. The Wolverines utilized their full line-up in each of the 20 minute segments. The scrimmage with another prep school was a first for Bridgton Academy and Coach Lesure commented on this scheduling afterwards…”I have a lot of respect for Jim (Graffam-Head Coach) and the people at Lee…We thought it could be good for both clubs”. Coach Lesure was also upbeat with regard to his teams’ play…” Our guys have a better idea of what this is all about after today…And it gets me going some too”. The Wolverines sported brand new uniforms in the scrimmage and clearly embraced the “look good to play good” mantra. BA returns to action Saturday afternoon at 1 pm in a home game contest against the Stan Jones Basketball Club (PA).

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Season Preview

In a few short weeks the 2008-2009 Bridgton Academy basketball season will be underway with a full slate of November games against some of the best competition in the country. The Wolverines aim to rebound from a season a year ago that fell short of the NEPSAC Championship accomplishments of 2005, 2006, and 2007. Thirteen players have spent much of the fall in conditioning exercises preparing for the long winter months on the basketball floor. The BA roster includes a backcourt led by Malik Stith, Jamal Crook, Carl Blair, and Delonte Mason. Wings include Justin Rake, Garrison Gross, Kauri Black, Bryant Avent, and Dwayne Smith. The frontcourt is paced by Jerrell Harris, Jack Houpt, Chad July, and Jake Canty. Although the squad would appear a bit physically smaller than some past season BA teams, Coach Whit Lesure isn’t buying into that concern. “Tough kids come in every package, and frankly, there’s something to that old adage about the size of the dog…”, Lesure quipped.

It’s too early to determine much of the New England landscape that these Wolverines will encounter this winter but Lesure is certain that the league will be stronger than ever. “I think a lot of the reverberation from the NCAA scrutiny has quieted down and prep school remains an attractive option for many 5th year students”, Lesure remarked. “You also have many more schools now playing at an extremely competitive level, nothing like the old days where only a handful of schools supported successful teams”, Lesure finished.

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