Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Wolverines Head Coach Whit Lesure Interview

Fork Union In the Paint Interview with Wolverines Head Coach Whit Lesure

Legendary Fork Union Prep Basketball Coach Fletcher Arritt and In The Paint host Jerry Nelson sit down and talk basketball with Bridgton Academy Coach Whit Lesure!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Wolverines Win Sun Youth Basketball Tournament, Improve to 11-2

The Bridgton Academy Basketball Team spent the weekend in Montreal, Canada for the annual Sun Youth Basketball tournament. The Wolverines faced John Abbott College, Sun Youth Organization, Dawson College, and Champlain St. Lambert en route to capturing the tournament championship.

Even before making the trip up Head Coach Whit Lesure had some kind words for those responsible for putting on the Sun Youth Tournament saying, "I'm just happy to be a welcomed guest of such a great organization that reaches so many lives in the community in significant ways..This trip goes way beyond basketball and I think our guys are able to get a sense of that."

The Wolverines got started Friday as they faced John Abbott College in the final game of the night to open up their first of two games in pool play. Dwayne Smith (Toronto, Ontario) and Malik Stith (Long Island, NY) led a strong offensive charge that saw Bridgton open up a 45-29 halftime lead before going on to win by a final score of 79-57. Smith led three players in double figures with 20 points, followed by Justin Rake (Mandeville, LA) with 12, while Stith added 10.

Game 2 of pool play saw the Wolverines take on Sun Youth Organization Saturday evening. Bridgton came out firing making a season high 9 3-point field goals in the first half alone (12 in the game). With the score 54-21 heading into halftime, minutes were spread around rather evenly over the course of the game resulting in all 13 Wolverines getting significant minutes. Justin Rake led all scorers with 17 points, followed by Dwayne Smith with 13, while Garrison Gross (Buffalo, NY), Carl Blair (Katy, TX), and Jerrel Harris (Grand Prarie, TX) scored 8 apiece.

With pool play over the Wolverines headed into the semi-finals 2-0 and squared off against Dawson College in a Sunday morning showdown. A highly contested game throughout, Bridgton was able to build up a slim 39-35 lead to start the second half, however Dawson College would just not go away. After exchanging baskets throughout the second half the Wolverines were able to hold on for a 69-61 win and punch their ticket to the Championship game. Dwayne Smith again led the team scoring 18 points, followed by Jamal Crook (Louisville, KY) with 10, Jack Houpt (Chesterton, IN) 10, Malik Stith 9, and Kauri Black (Rialto, CA) 8.

Just 6 hours after defeating Dawson College in the semi-finals, Bridgton Academy found themselves taking the court once again, this time against Champlain St. Lambert in the Championship game. The two teams had met earlier this season at the National Prep Showcase, a game that Bridgton Academy won by a score of 65-46.

Knowing all well that Champlain would be looking to avenge the early season loss the Wolverines came out strong playing patented Bridgton basketball that starts on the defensive end. After forcing 10 first half turnovers and converting on virtually every free throw opportunity, the Wolverines built up a 13 point, 42-29 halftime lead. Leading after halftime is a position the Wolverines have found themselves in a number of times this season, however the opening minutes of the second half has sometimes given their opposition hope. Wolverines Head Coach Whit Lesure made the point to say, "It comes down to guarding. We relax a bit when we get a lead, I made sure to remind the guys that their efforts today would determine the types of practices we had when they returned from vacation." With that in mind the team was able to sustain and even expand their lead at times throughout the second half before going on to win by a final score of 81-71. Dwayne Smith again led the team in scoring with 20 points, followed by Justin Rake with 15, Kauri Black 13, and Jamal Crook 10.

When asked for some final thoughts on the weekends games Lesure responded by saying, "I think we made some progress as a team over the last week. Our offense was really good at times this weekend, we shot the ball about as well as we have all season, and we did it consistently. It's always a great trip for our teams, we had a great time again this year."

It is important to mention that the trip wouldn't have been made possible without Bridgton Academy bus driver Scotty Brown. Mother nature threw everything it had at him over the course of the weekend but he more then prevailed earning weekend MVP honors from Coach Lesure for his performance on the drive back saying, "No one performed any better than Scotty did coming across Franconia Notch Sunday night...I loved it but then again I'm a little nuts too.

The four wins on the weekend put the Wolverines record at 11 wins and 2 losses heading into the break as the team will be off until January 7th when they head back up to Canada for a pair of games in Ste. Foye.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wolverines Currently Ranked 4th In Latest Prep School Poll

The Bridgton Academy Basketball Team is currently ranked 4th in the nation in the latest Prep School Basketball Poll. The Wolverines had been ranked 5th in the preseason poll which came out over earlier this year. The entire poll is as follows.

www.GameWornUniforms.com 2009 National Boy's Prep School Basketball Poll December 16, 2008

1 The Patterson School (Lenoir, NC) 20-0
2 Hargrave Military Academy (Chatham, VA) 11-1
3 Notre Dame Prep (Fitchburg, MA) 12-2
4 Bridgton Academy (Bridgton, ME) 7-2
5 South Kent School (South Kent, CT) 6-2
6 Winchendon (Winchendon, MA) 6-3
7 Tilton (Tilton, NH) 3-0
8 Northfield Mount Herman (Northfield, MA) 6-1
9 Fork Union Military (Fork Union, VA) 6-3
10 Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, NH) 7-5
11 Worcester Academy (Worcester, MA) 3-2
12 Charis Prep (Wilson, NC) 23-1
13 Martinsville Heat (Martinsville, VA) 15-3
14 Blair Academy (Blairstown, NJ) 7-1
15 North Carolina Tech (Charlotte, NC) 16-2

Monday, December 15, 2008

Wolverines Lose One, Win One At Fork Union Tournament

The Bridgton Academy Wolverines Basketball team traveled down to Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia this past weekend for the annual Fork Union Basketball Tournament. The team played two games, losing to Fork Union, and beating NEPSAC opponent New Hampton.

On Friday night Bridgton took on tournament host Fork Union, a game which was tightly contested throughout, however the Wolverines came up short suffering their second loss of the season 70-59. It was a two point game with 2 minutes remaining but the Wolverines were never able to grab the lead from that point forward.

When asked for his thoughts on the game, Bridgton Head Coach Whit Lesure had this to say, "We've been going pretty god, but we were a bit complacent tonight. We got outplayed and outcoached, outcoached in the sense that their execution of transition, defensive, and offensive play was a direct result of the way they practice everyday. I have a ton of respect for that guy (FUMA Head Coach Fletcher Arritt). We need to get better."

Justin Rake (Mandeville, LA) led the Wolverines offense scoring a team high 10 points.

Less then 24 hours later the Wolverines found themselves back in action hoping to come away from the trip 1-1 after suffering a tough loss the night before. Bridgton was able to open up a 33-24 halftime lead on the strength of some strong defensive play before going on to defeat New Hampton Prep by a final score of 72-71. The final minutes saw the Wolverines make some big plays, Justin Rake was able to steal an inbounds pass and convert on the offensive end moments before Dwayne Smith hit a big 3-pointer that ultimately gave Bridgton Academy the lead for good.

Head Coach Whit Lesure had this to say after the game, "To beat New Hampton in Virginia is an accomplishment. They have a long history of playing especially well in this tournament. I give Rake and Smith full marks for having the courage to make the game changing plays at the end. And I give all our guys credit for not allowing last nights outcome to interfere with tonight's game."

Malik Stith (Long Island, NY) led three Wolverines in double figures versus New Hampton scoring 15 points, followed by Dwayne Smith (Toronto, Ontario) with 13, and Chad July (Gainesville, FL)10.

When asked for some thoughts on the weekends games Chad July responded by saying,
"I think we played hard both games, we never gave up at any point. We rebounded the ball pretty well, we finished strong, and most importantly we had some guys step up and make some big plays when we needed them most, especially in the final minutes of the New Hampton game."

Teammate Justin Rake added, "We lost to a team we could have beaten on Friday (FUMA), they just played better then we did. But we were able to come back and get a big win which I think is a sign of a good team, being able to find ways to win even when things aren't going great. Overall it was a good weekend for us, but we know we have some work to do to be great."

The Wolverines will return to action this weekend when they travel up to Montreal, Canada for the Sun Youth Tournament starting Friday, December 19th.

#24 Justin Rake lets it fly from long range.

#1 Carl Blair (Katy, TX) looks to turn the corner.

#3 Malik Stith setting up the offense.

#00 Dwayne Smith goes up for the dunk.

#32 Kauri Black (Rialto, CA) driving around a New Hampton defender.

#4 Jamal Crook (Louisville, KY) pulls things back at the top of the key.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Bridgton Academy Downs Lee Academy 93-67

The Bridgton Academy Wolverines improved to 6-1 on the season as they defeated Lee Academy Prep on Tuesday night at the Wolverdome 93-67.

The game started off highly contested until the Wolverines were able to make a run midway through the first half and build up a 53-35 lead heading into halftime. The second half saw the Wolverines add to their lead stretching it to as many as 35 points with just under 8 minutes to go at 90-55. The Wolverines looked to control the clock throughout the remainder of the game, showing a great deal of patience while often times battling the shot clock in the final seconds before the final horn sounded finalizing a 93-67 Bridgton Academy Victory.

When asked about his thoughts on the game Wolverines forward Jack Houpt (Chesterton, IN) said, "I thought our defense is what put us ahead, our energy was great, we had a lof of guys step up for us. I also think the crowd was a was a factor tonight, they were great from start to finish."

Head Coach Whit Lesure echoed Houpt's comments saying, "It was one of the best crowds I've seen here, especially that group of student's, they were clever, loud, and really provided us with a big boost. It was a terrific basketball atmosphere."

The Bridgton Academy fans had plenty to cheer about and plenty of Wolverines to cheer for as all 13 players saw extended minutes with 12 reaching the scoring column. Kauri Black (Rialto, CA) and Justin Rake (Mandeville, LA) led five players in double figures with 14 points apiece, Carl Blair (Katy, TX) followed with 13, Bryant Avent (Phoenix, AZ) 11, and Dwayne Smith (Toronto, Ontario) 10.

Lesure went on to say, "We got a number of positive contributions tonight from several individuals, I think Bryant's particularly really stands out to me, his energy and productivity was significant for us."... He went on to add, "We have a lot of respect for that team, we know they've been winning quite a few games against some New England Prep teams. I think we were able to handle their initial run in the first half, break the game open a little bit, and then come back out in the second half and continue our strong play, we had more good offensive and defensive possessions and ultimately wound up playing probably twenty minutes of the best basketball we have played all season over the course of the game."

41 of the Wolverines 93 points came from their non starters demonstrating the depth and unselfishness of this years team. Bryant Avent touched on the teams unselfishness saying, "I think we had great energy tonight, we shared the ball well, got a lot of different guys involved which in turn enabled us to get some really good looks at the basket."

The Wolverines are hoping they will have similar success this weekend as they did tonight when they head down to Fork Union, Virginia for the Fork Union Military Academy Tournament this Friday and Saturday. Bridgton Academy will face off against host Fork Union Friday night in the tournament semi-final before finding out if they will play in the consolation or championship game on Saturday.

#3 Malik Stith (Long Island, NY) sets up the offense.

#32 Kauri Black (Rialto, CA) goes up for 2 of his team high 14 points.

#14 Chad July (Gainesville, FL) comes down with a rebound in traffic.

Student Photo by Joe Robichaud of Kauri dunking at the end of the first half.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Wolverines Improve to 5-1 With Home Win Over Winchendon 81-67

The Bridgton Academy Basketball team returned to action for the first time in over two weeks on Sunday and had a successful showing in a 81-67 win over the Winchdenon School. After shaking off some rust in the early going the Wolverines were able to jump out to a lead and maintain it throughout the first half taking a 31-29 lead into halftime.

The Wolverines often times found themselves as their own worst enemy as turnovers were an issue for both teams throughout the game. Bridgton Academy however was able to establish an advantage at the free throw line making 29-35 attempts to Winchendon's 10-17. Wolverines Head Coach Whit Lesure noted that "We really shot the heck outta the ball at the free throw line, making 29 outta 35 is certainly one of the better days we've had from the line."

When asked about some thoughts on the game Wolverines guard Carl Blair (Katy, TX) had this to say, "We played hard, we knew they were gonna come right at us so we knew we were gonna have to fight back, we were gonna get some runs, they were gonna try and get theirs so we just had to try and contain them when they started putting something together, which I think we were able to do. Plus I think we did a good job of making our free throws and rebounding the basketball, just playing unselfish basketball like we've been doing all season."

Blair was one of four Wolverines in double figures as he scored 15, Dwayne Smith led all scorers with 22, Jamal Crook 14, and Kauri Black finished with 10 points.

It remained a highly contested game throughout the first and second halves where a big play here and there really proved to be the difference. Coach Lesure pointed out that, "I think we made big plays down the stretch, none bigger then the play late in the game when Malik came away from a crowd of Winchendon players with the ball and really prevented an easy basket for them, it was only about a 3 point game at the time so that was certainly a pretty big moment in the game."

The Wolverines will look to build off of tonight's win when they host Lee Academy Prep on Tuesday at the Wolverdome, tip off is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

2008 National Prep Showcase Recap

Following this years National Prep Showcase, New England Recruiting report (www.newenglandrecruitingreport.com) did a full recap of the weekends games and some final thoughts on the weekend including our very own Wolverine basketball team...

Bridgton is Back

Last year was the first time in four years that Bridgton Academy didn’t win the class A title. If this weekend was any indication, Whit Lesure’s team certainly has to be considered an early favorite in 2009. Hargrave Military Academy, the nation’s top ranked team, needed an 18 foot buzzer beater to narrowly escape defeat, while Champlain St. Lambert was simply no match for the New England prep school. With significantly more talent than last year as well as their trademark discipline on both ends of the floor, Bridgton has the recipe for what could potentially be their fourth title in five years.

for the full write up click here National Prep Showcase Final Thoughts

A Nice Piece On Bridgton Basketball

A great piece on Bridgton Academy Basketball, part of the bicentennial DVD with comments from Head Coach Whit Lesure and former Wolverine standout and current St. John's basketball player Justin Burrell '07.