Tag Archives: Aaron Toomey

Around The Rim With Bob Whitney: Welcome Back College Hoops

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Former Braintree High and Kimball Union star Nic Timberlake in action last year for Towson University. Timberlake is now a redshirt freshman for Towson this winter after last season’s injury-riddled campaign. (PHOTO COURTESY: Bob Whitney)

By Bob Whitney | @WhitneyBob

In case you haven’t noticed the 2019-20 college basketball season is off and running, highlighted by a nationally-televised doubleheader last evening featuring the top four teams in the men’s basketball preseason rankings: Michigan State, Kentucky, Duke, and Kansas.

For all of us veteran purists, it was hoop heaven, the talent was amazing but the quality of play was spotty at best given such a huge stage on opening night.

That aside, it is my pleasure to pen a weekly hoop column for the hard-working Matt Noonan and his many followers here at Noontime Sports.

I have covered one of the Power Five conferences – the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), to be exact – for the last eight seasons, but this year I will focus on a little bit of everything but the primary focus will remain on all that is happening in New England – and that is a lot!

First of all, check out the Noontime Sports Men and Women’s New England D-III Basketball Preseason Top 10 Polls: (Men’s Basketball | Women’s Basketball)

A few thoughts from the basketball polls.

  • No surprise that Amherst College is perched at the top of both rankings. They have been the gold-standard regionally and a regular participant in the NCAA D-III Tournaments for years.
  • Speaking of Amherst, the men’s program suffered a sudden jolt in September when legendary coach David Hixon (after 42 seasons at the helm) opted to take a non-health sabbatical to deal with some family issues. The big question is can the program move on without Hixon’s leadership?

    Those close to the program feel that with the elevation of trusted assistant Aaron Toomey, who played under Hixon and helped win NCAA titles in 2012 and 2013, the transition should be seamless.

  • A game to watch (and to gauge how Toomey and his squad are managing the transition) is on January 10 when New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) rival Middlebury College travels to Amherst.

ODDS AND ENDS

  • There have been a number of rule changes introduced with the most important one being the extension of the 3-point arc from 17 inches to the international standard of 22 feet, 1 3/4 inches. Although testing of this change in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) last year found little change in shooting percentage, it was felt by the officiating honchos that it would alleviate congestion in the paint by forcing defenders to guard shooters further away from the basket. Stay tuned on this change.
  • All eyes will be pointing to Cambridge, Mass this season to see if the Harvard University celebrated senior class, led by awesome point guard Bryce Aiken, can finally win an Ivy League title, as well as earn an automatic tournament bid to the NCAA Tournament.

    Better yet, the Crimson will have some home-cooking help in March as this year’s conference tournament moves from the storied The Palestra to Lavietes Pavilion, March 14-15.

    The Ivy poo-bahs move to a conference tournament for men and women was a no-brainer – the atmosphere is pulsating and the quality of play is as good as it gets.

  • A shoutout to former Marquette University assistant Brett Nelson who assumes the reins at Holy Cross after Bill Carmody‘s decision to retire from the coaching ranks.
  • Did you know that we have a number of the top coaches in the women’s college game led by the legendary Barbara Stevens, who ranks fourth in wins among college coaches at Bentley University, Harvard’s Kathy Delaney-Smith, Stonehill College‘s Trisha Brown, Springfield College‘s Naomi Graves, and Babson College‘s Judy Blinstrub. If any of you have a daughter that may be destined to play at the college level the price of admission to catch one of these coaches in action will help with a final decision.
  • In my eight years following ACC men’s basketball, I had the privilege to hear firsthand from some of the great coaches in the game, including Coach Mike KrzyseskiRoy Williams, Jim Boeheim, Rick Pitino, and Mike Brey. Buzz Williams was a real stitch in the press room. But most impressive among this elite group of coaches was the University of Virginia‘s, Tony Bennett.

    Obviously, Bennett’s run to the national title was the big news last year but most noteworthy was his recent decision to forego a well-deserved a big raise. Bennett felt that his family was blessed and thankful for what they have and felt that the money would be better spent in funding a program to help athletes transition to careers after basketball. Bennett is destined to be the voice of the ACC once Coach K and Roy retire.

A FINAL THOUGHT

Best wishes to Kristen McDonnell who left the Braintree high school girls basketball program after a ten-year run which included four D-1 state titles and a bunch of sectional crowns. McDonnell is seeking a new challenge as the Norwood high school boys head coach.

Keep shooting. See you next week!

Mass. College Hoops: Nichols’ Sheehan Named To D3Hoops.com All-Region Team

By NoontimeSports.com 

Courtesy of the Nichols College sports information department, here’s last night’s release about Ryan Sheehan, who was named to the D3Hoops.com All-Region Team:

DUDLEY, Mass. – Nichols College senior captain Ryan Sheehan (North Attleboro, Mass.) has been named to theD3hoops.com Northeast Region First Team.

Sheehan finished third in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) in scoring (18.3 ppg) and was tabbed CCC Player of the Year, Senior Scholar-Athlete of the Year, and CCC First Team. This past season, Sheehan became just the second student-athlete in school history to reach the 2,000-point plateau for his career, and graduates as the program’s all-time scoring leader with 2,106 points. He is one of 10 finalists for the prestigious Jostens Award, which is awarded to an outstanding NCAA Division III men’s and women’s basketball player who excels on the floor, in the classroom and in the community.

The Bison enjoyed the most successful season in school history in 2013-14, winning a school-record 22 games and reaching the CCC Championship game for the first time in program history thanks in part to Sheehan’s contributions. He reached double-figures in scoring in all but six games this year, scored 20-or-more points in 15 games, and 30-or-more in two games – including a 37-point effort in the season-opener at Lasell. Nichols season ended in the semifinal round of the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Tournament as Sheehan scored 27 points in a loss to the Lasers.

Off the court, Sheehan holds a 3.86 GPA in international business and was named to both the 2013-14 Capital One Academic All-America Division III Men’s Basketball Second Team and the 2013-14 CoSIDA Division III Academic All-District 1 Team. He has been named to the Deans High Honors list in each of his first seven semesters at Nichols and is a member of the Zeta Alpha Phi Honor Society. A three-time Nichols College Male Athlete of the Year, Sheehan is the President of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), a volunteer with the Miracle League, and a Big Brother at the Webster Boys & Girls Club. Last summer, Sheehan completed an internship with LGC Genomics.

Sheehan was joined on the First Team by Aaron Toomey (Amherst), Darius Watson (Albertus Magnus), Joey Flannery (Babson), and Michael Mayer (Williams).

Mass. College Hoops: D3 Conference Tournament Championship Roundup

By NoontimeSports.com 

Four local squads claimed conference tournament championships today, along with an automatic berth to the upcoming NCAA Division 3 Tournament. Below is the four outcomes and summaries.

Men’s Basketball

No. 7 Amherst 93, No. 9 Williams 82: Tom Killian poured in a career-best 31 points, while Aaron Toomey finished with a triple-double of 12 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds as the Lord Jeffs defeated the Ephs in Amherst and claimed its third straight NESCAC crown. Duncan Robinson paced Williams with 26 points.

MIT 67, Springfield 56: Andrew Acker recorded a double-double of 19 points and 13 rebounds, which helped the Engineers defeat the Pride in Worcester, as well as claim its third tournament crown in four seasons. Acker was also named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, too. Robbie Burke led Springfield with 24 points.

Women’s Basketball

No. 6 Tufts 62, No. 9 Amherst 46: The Jumbos earned their first NESCAC championship by defeating the Lord Jeffs for the second time in Medford this season. Tufts’ Hayley Kanner led all scorers with 21 points, while teammate Michela North recorded 14 rebounds. Marley Giddins led Amherst with 15 points and eight rebounds.

Springfield 51, Smith 43: Jaimie Bickelhaupt recorded 14 points, while Emily Gins recorded 14 rebounds as the Pride defeated top-seed Smith College in Northampton and claimed its first tournament championship since 2006. Smith’s Rosa Drummond finished the contest with 14 points, too.

Mass. College Hoops: Sunday’s D3 Conference Tournament Championship Preview

By Matt Noonan 

Four local Division 3 conference tournament championships will occur this afternoon and below is a preview of each contest.

Men’s NESCAC Championship: No. 1 Amherst vs. No. 2 Williams @ Amherst, Mass. / 12 p.m.: For the third time this season, Amherst and Williams will meet on the hardwood, but this particular contest will determine the NESCAC champion. Aaron Toomey poured in a game-best 36 points yesterday as the Lord Jeffs defeated Trinity, 80-62. As for the Ephs, they defeated Middlebury, 78-75. Williams rallied from an 11-point deficit at the break to defeat the Panthers and received 27 points from Michael Mayer. Amherst and Williams met last season in the title round with the Lord Jeffs edging the Ephs, 74-73. Williams is number one in conference play in points per game (81.3), while Amherst is second (78.6). Amherst is currently on a seven-game winning streak is undefeated at home this season, while Williams has won 10 straight, including two conference tournament contests. The Ephs are 10-1 away from Williamstown.

Women’s NESCAC Championship: No. 1 Tufts vs. No. 2 Amherst @ Medford, Mass. / 12 p.m.: The Jumbos will attempt to capture their first conference crown. Tufts has appeared in three conference finals (2007, 2008 and 2012), but hasn’t been able to attain some hardware. Against the Bantams of Trinity, the Jumbos used a second half surge to earn a 57-47 victory. Tufts’ Hayley Kanner led all players with 19 points, while Michela North chipped in 10 points off the bench. Amherst trailed Bowdoin, 20-16, at intermission, but outscored the Polar Bears during the final 20 minutes, 29-22. Ali Doswell, who led Amherst and all scorers with 15 points, secured the win for the Lord Jeffs by sinking one of two free throws during the final seconds. Amherst and Tufts met in Medford a few weeks ago with the Jumbos prevailing, 63-56. Amherst hadn’t lost until that particular contest. The Jumbos have won 25 of 26 contests this season, their only blemish occurred in a non-conference clash against Babson College on Tuesday, February 11.

Men’s NEWMAC Championship: No. 3 Springfield vs. No. 4 MIT @ Worcester, Mass. / 1 p.m.: MIT used an early second half run against host WPI to secure a spot in the title game, while Sean Martin‘s layup at the end of the second session provided a spark for Springfield to defeat Babson in overtime. Both teams split their season series, so the winner of today’s match will win the 2013-14 series. MIT received 14 points and 14 rebounds from Matt Redfield, along with 16 points from Justin Pedley. MIT recorded 28 defensive rebounds and eight caroms on the offensive end. Springfield sank a variety of important shots down the stretch against the Beavers, including a triple in the second half from Nick Sienkiewicz and trifecta in overtime from Nick McKenna. MIT is 5-4 since the first day of February, while Springfield is appearing in its third straight conference championship.

Women’s NEWMAC Championship: No. 1 Smith vs. No. 6 Springfield @ Northampton, Mass. / 1 p.m.: The Pioneers secured a spot in the championship by defeating the Beavers, a squad that’s 4-1 all-time against Smith in postseason play. Paulina Solis registered a team-high 17 points for Smith against Babson, while Mandy Castro added 14 points off the bench. The Pioneers have been to the tournament championship in prior seasons, but have never won a NEWMAC crown. Springfield earned a spot in the title game following back-to-back wins against Coast Guard and Wheaton. The Pride earned a two-point lead at the break before outscoring the Lyons in the second half, 43-30. Jamie Bickelhaupt paced Springfield with 20 points, while Emily Gins registered a game-best 12 boards. Springfield hasn’t won a tournament championship since 2006.

Mass. College Hoops: Saturday Roundup

By NoontimeSports.com 

Here are scores and highlight from some of today’s men’s and women’s basketball contests.

Men’s Basketball:

UNC 82, Boston College 71: The Tar Heels ballooned a four-point lead at intermission into an 11-point victory, their 11th overall win of the season. Ryan Anderson registered a double-double of 11 points and 12 rebounds, while Olivier Hanlan led the Eagles with 16 points.

Holy Cross 61, Lehigh 42: Malcolm Miller registered 14 points, seven rebounds, two steals and two blocks in 29 minutes as the Crusaders defeated Lehigh and improved to 3-3 in Patriot League play. David Dudzinski netted 10 points, while Justin Burrell added 11 points and two assists.

Bentley 78, AIC 64: Tyler McFarland was a perfect 12-for-12 from the field, including 4-for-4 from beyond the arc as the sophomore forward netted 32 points in the Falcons’ 13th win of the season.

No. 5 WPI 64, Emerson 50: Sam Longwell netted a game-best 17 points, while Zach Karalis and Sean Doncaster scored nine points, respectively, as the Engineers defeated the Lions and earned their 11th straight win. Michael Thorpe led Emerson with 15 points.

No. 6 Amherst 82, Bates 71: David Kalema paced the Lord Jeffs with 20 points, while Aaron Toomey netted 19 points as Amherst defeated the Bobcats and improved to 4-0 in NESCAC play.

No. 10 Williams 69, Colby 62: Duncan Robinson scored a game-best 27 points, while Michael Mayer added 15 points and nine boards as the Ephs defeated the Mules and improved to 13-2 overall and 3-1 in NESCAC play.

Nichols 75, Wentworth 63: Ryan Sheehan recorded 18 points and eight rebound, while Sam Horning registered 11 points, six rebounds, one steal and one assist as the Bison extended their current winning streak to six games. Jherson Colon led Wentworth with 16 points.

Endicott 82, WNE 76: Lachlan Magee and John Henault combined for 35 points, nine rebounds, four assists and two steals as the Gulls soared past the Golden Bears. Dennis Rinaldi led WNE with 19 points.

Bridgewater State 78, Worcester State 65: Michael Lofton stuffed the stat sheet for the Bears with 17 points, eight rebounds, four assists and four steals, which lifted the Bears over the Lancers. Brendan Rios led Worcester State with 18 points.

Salem State 80, Westfield State 75: Jon Perez recorded 20 points and six boards off the bench, which helped the Vikings edge the Owls in Salem. Grant Cooper led Westfield State with a double-double of 36 points and 14 rebounds.

UMass Dartmouth 103, Keene State 90: Ryan Walsh converted on 12-of-17 shots from the field, including three from beyond the arc as the first-year guard scored a game-best 29 points for the Corsairs.

MIT 55, Springfield 51: Justin Pedley scored a game-best 27 points, while Dakota Pierce netted 12 points as the Engineers defeated the Pride in Cambridge. Nick McKenna led Springfield with 14 points off the bench.

Babson 80, Wheaton 59: John Wickey and Joe Flannery combined for 40 points, 15 rebounds, four assists, one steal and one block as the Beavers defeated the Lyons in Norton. Agyei Gregory led the Lyons with a double-double of 15 points and 11 boards.

Women’s Basketball:

Lehigh 87, Holy Cross 82: Raquel Scott registered a double-double of 23 points and 16 rebounds (11 on defense), but that wasn’t enough to lift the Crusaders past Lehigh in Pennsylvania. Alex Smith netted 19 points and recorded six boards, five assists and two steals in the setback.

No. 1 Bentley 84, AIC 46: Courtney Finn buried a school record eight triples and finished with a career-high 25 points as the Falcons defeated the Yellow Jackets in Springfield and improved to 16-0.

No. 21 Adelphi 95, Assumption 93: The Greyhounds’ 90+ point effort, which was the most they’ve scored since registering 92 points against Saint Michael’s on January 29, 2003, wasn’t enough to beat the Panthers, who registered 50 points in the second half. Shannon Ray led Assumption with 22 points, while Kelly Conley added 19 points, four boards, three assists and one steal.

No. 3 Amherst 88, Bates 54: Hannah Peterson scored a game-high 30 points, while Ali Doswell finished with a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds as the Lord Jeffs defeated the Bobcats in Maine.

No. 7 Tufts 68, Trinity 48: Hayley Kanner poured in 16 points, while Hannah Foley recorded nine points and seven rebounds as the Jumbos defeated the Bantams in Medford.

No. 18 Williams 71, Colby 54: Ellen Cook netted a team-high 15 points, which was also a game-high, while recording six rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks, which lifted the Ephs past the Mules in Williamstown.

WNE 53, Endicott 49: Ali Pessolano recorded 12 points, three rebounds and one assist in 27 minutes, which helped the Golden Bears even their overall mark at 7-7. Samantha Crough led the Gulls with 16 points.

Bridgewater State 63, Worcester State 48: Jenna Williamson scored a game-best 29 points, while adding eight rebounds, four assists and three steals, which helped the Bears defeat the Lancers in Worcester. Meghan Burns led the hosts with 14 points.

Wellesley 72. Mount Holyoke 47: The Blue claimed their 10th consecutive victory, 12th of the season, thanks to 17 points from Leslie Leong and 11 points by Morgyne Weaver.

Babson 68, Clark 65: The Beavers won their sixth consecutive NEWMAC contest and improved to 7-7 overall. Linnett Graber scored a team-high and game-high 18 points, while Kristen Ferola stuffed the stat sheet with 15 points, eight boards, six assists and two steals. Emily Reilly led Clark with 14 points.

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