Noontime 2017 Year In Review: Revisiting The New England D3 Basketball Season

2017 BASKETBALL REWIND

By NoontimeSports.com (@NoontimeSports) 

We’re t-minus three days away from the end of 2017 – let’s party!

Yet, before we officially turn the page to 2018, let’s take a look back at the year in New England Division III Basketball, beginning with the Babson College men’s basketball team, which captured its first-ever national title.

Similar to the hometown New England Patriots, the Beavers overcame a 25-point deficit in the national semifinals to defeat top-ranked Whitman, 91-85, before edging Augustana, 79-78, in the championship.

Joey Flannery netted a game-high 23 points in the final, while blocking a potential go-ahead layup by Augustana’s Nolan Ebel to secure the one-point win in Salem, Virginia.

The victory capped an exciting run by the Beavers, who closed out their 2016-17 campaign with 31-2 overall record. Babson won all six of its games in March, including a second meeting with Tufts University in NCAA Sectional Semifinals.

The Bay State also celebrated another national championship with Amherst College defeating Tufts in the women’s basketball national championship, thanks to a game-high 21 points from Ali Doswell. The win marked the third time the Mammoths has defeated the Jumbos last season – one of those victories came in the 2017 New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) championship.

Amherst concluded its 2016-17 season 33-0, and remain undefeated this season thus far – they are back in action this afternoon (Thursday, December 28th) when they face UC Santa Cruz at the D3Hoops.com Classic in Las Vegas, Nevada.

In addition to Amherst and Babson, the 2016-17 season saw some other teams enjoy exciting runs, including the UMass Dartmouth women’s basketball team, which advanced to its first-ever ‘Elite Eight’ after knocking-off La Roche (71-64), Montclair State (71-63) and SUNY New Paltz (67-57).

On the men’s side, we saw Williams College advance to the national semifinals, while Keene State advanced to sectional finals to face Babson after defeating Amherst (69-66), Ramapo (92-91) and Christopher Newport (68-64). Endicott College also made a splash in the big dance, earning a pair of victories over Nichols College and Salisbury before falling to Middlebury College in the third round. The Panthers would fall to the Ephs of Williams the following day.

Following the final whistle – or game, technically – we unveiled our Noontime Sports Teams of the Year, including our first-ever Rookie Team, too!

Men’s Basketball Team of the Year 

Women’s Basketball Team of the Year

Men’s Basketball Rookie Team of the Year

Women’s Basketball Rookie Team of the Year

A few days after the Beavers captured their first-ever national title, we caught-up with their play-by-play guy – that would be John Cabral.

In addition to speaking with Cabral, we also spoke with Stephen Brennan, who guided the Beavers to an exciting championship win.

Finally, we wrapped-up our 2016-17 basketball coverage with a prediction blog post – what teams to watch or follow this season (2017-18). How are our predictions doing?

Look for more New England Division III coverage in 2018, plus some new content and podcasts, too! As always, make sure to stay connected with us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube – you can also find us on LinkedIn, too! 

Daily Noontime: Tuesday, June 27th

Russell Westbrook

Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook was tabbed the NBA’s Most Valuable Player on Tuesday evening. (PHOTO CREDIT: Bleacher Report)

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11) 

It’s Tuesday – let’s dance!

Welcome into a brand new edition – well, technically a Tuesday edition – of the Daily Noontime on NoontimeSports.com.

Let’s get you ready for a great day, beginning with some news and notes from around the sports and entertainment world.

We begin with Russell Westbrook, who was named the NBA’s most valuable player last night at the league’s inaugural award show. Westbrook enjoyed an amazing and historic season by tallying 42 triple-doubles.

As noted in an ESPN report, Westbrook became the second player in league history behind Oscar Robertson to average a triple-double. Robertson recorded 41 triple-doubles during the 1961-62 season.

Crazy to think it took a few decades to break that record, but it happened, folks!

While Westbrook’s triple-double performance this season was quite impressive, one should wonder if any of these seven NBA records will ever be broken?

My guess is that no one will match or beat Bill Russell‘s 11 championships, but that’s just my ‘two-cents.’

Speaking of Russell, the former Boston Celtic was honored – he was presented the lifetime achievement award.

After Russell received the special honor, he announced (jokingly!) that he would ‘kick your ass’ to the following players: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, Dikembe Mutombo, Alonzo Mourning and David Robinson.

Good news, Boston Red Sox fans: the local nine is back in the win column! Last night, Chris Sale and Mitch Moreland led the way for the Sox as they beat Minnesota, 4-1.

Sale concluded the game with nine strikeouts, which bumped his total to 155 strikeouts (thus far).

Last season, Sale tallied 233 strikeouts in 32 games with the Chicago White Sox, so he is certainly on pace to match his total from a year ago. Sale retired a career-best 274 batters in 2015, but I am not sure he will reach that total this season.

As noted in a Variety.com, Spider-Man: Homecoming has dominated the social media landscape recently, accounting for 113,000 new conversations last week. That’s nuts!

I am not the biggest comic book guy, but did enjoy the Spider-Man movies from a few years ago – you know, the ones with Tobey Maguire, but I do plan on seeing this film when it opens on Friday, July 7th.

Finally, and this should not come as a total surprise (or shock), but Tom Brady was voted number one in NFL Network‘s annual top 100 players in the NFL. The New England Patriots quarterback beat-out Von Miller (Denver Broncos) and Julio Jones (Atlanta Falcons) for the top spot in this year’s poll.

Have a great Tuesday, everyone! And be kind and good to all!

Babson’s Brennan Reflects On An Exciting National Championship Victory

Babson Men's Basketball

It was a special moment for Babson College coach Stephen Brennan and the Beavers when they captured the program’s first-ever NCAA Division III men’s basketball championship. (PHOTO CREDIT: Keith Lucas)

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11) 

It’s been a few days since Babson College captured its fist-ever NCAA Division III men’s basketball championship and coach Stephen Brennan’s phone is still buzzing with text messages, phone calls and emails.

“I think that night after the game I had about 120 text messages,” said Brennan, who guided the Beavers to an exciting 79-78 victory over Augustana (Ill.) last Saturday in Salem, Virginia.

Everyone wanted to congratulate Brennan and the team, including past and current Babson presidents, friends from Bates College and current Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens.

Learn more about the connection between Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens and the Babson College Beavers, via MassLive.com

Even the New England Patriots expressed their excitement, tweeting out a congratulatory tweet to both Babson and Amherst College, which captured the women’s national title game last Saturday, too.

“When the Patriots sent a congratulator tweet, I was like ‘what’s that?’” said Brennan. “You don’t really expect that.”

The Beavers were also congratulated by Massachusetts Mayor Charlie Baker and Attorney General Maura Healey.

Babson’s win provided a great deal of excitement to both Massachusetts and New England college basketball fans. They all feel touched by this particular victory, according to Brennan, including Babson’s conference foes and regional opponents.

“(This win) has touched multiple members of our community from alums to our opponents (in the northeast),” said Brennan, “so it’s certainly nice to touch so many people and share it with our friends and friends of our program.”

The win also touched a quartet of Babson alums – David MackTravis SheldonEric Dean and John Wickey – that positioned the Beavers over the past few years for a potential national title-run. And despite coming-up short two years ago in the national semifinals, Babson was able to avenge its disappointing setback with a dramatic one-point victory.

“The key for success is you have to pay the rent,” said Brennan, “and this team (especially the seniors) put in the time.”

The senior class certainly put in the time, they will depart Babson Park with 103 victories, which is the most wins in program history.

Joey Flannery, who was certainly a catalyst behind the Beavers’ run toward the program’s initial national crown, concluded his career with 2,620 points, which positions him eighth all-time in Division III history. Additionally – and as noted in the game’s release – he also scored 167 points in six NCAA Tournament games this season.

Brennan and the Beavers will continue to enjoy this special accomplishment, but know a new season will be here soon. And in order to continue their current success, the tenured coach knows his team will need to ‘pay the rent’ every day.

“Everyone will have to grow,” said Brennan. “We’ll need to continue our current work ethic and culture (moving forward, while continuing) our toughness and work ethic, too.”

Noontime Sports The Podcast: Episode 20 Hayden Bird (Boston.com)

noontime-sports-podcast

By NoontimeSports.com (@NoontimeSports) 

Noontime Sports the Podcast returned after a few week hiatus with guest Hayden Bird of Boston.com.

Bird joined host Matt Noonan to discuss his experience covering the Super Bowl during ‘Media Week,’ while also attempting to answer the question: Is Tom Brady the best quarterback in the National Football League (N.F.L.)?

If you’re a New England Patriots fan or just a die-hard football fan, then this is a must-listen to podcast!

Follow Bird on Twitter at @HaydenHBird and make sure to read his various posts and stories on Boston.com, too.

Noontime Sports is now on SoundCloud, so make sure to become a fan of our page today! 

Noontime Sports The Podcast: Episode 19 (Dan Libon | Patch.com)

noontime-sports-podcastBy NoontimeSports.com (@NoontimeSports

Ah, Noontime Sports the Podcast has officially returned. And for our 19th episode, Matt Noonan welcomes an old friend and colleague of the blog, Dan Libon, who is a reporter for Patch.com.

Noonan and Libon reminisce about their college radio show Get In The Game and their first few years of covering sports for NoontimeSports.com.

Additionally, the two discuss Libon’s current role with Patch, which includes covering the New England Patriots – what is that like, Dan?

Finally, both Noonan and Libon voice their thoughts on what Boston sports team will celebrate a title (hopefully) this year or next year.

Make sure to follow Dan on Twitter (@DLibon)!

Noontime Sports is now on SoundCloud, so make sure to become a fan of our page today! 

Noontime Sports The Podcast: Episode 18 (Andy Mahoney | BostonGlobe.com Sports Producer)

noontime-sports-podcastBy NoontimeSports.com (@NoontimeSports

In anticipation of this upcoming weekend’s Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons, Noontime Sports the Podcast featured some quality pigskin chatter between host Matt Noonan and Andy Mahoney, who is the sports producer for BostonGlobe.com.

Mahoney gave his ‘two-cents’ on the Patriots-Falcons matchup, why there hasn’t been too much news (or noise) from the so-called ‘media week,’ while giving some thought to where New England would stand in Boston sports history if they earn a fifth championship.

Would they be better than the early 20th century Boston Red Sox or the Celtics of the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s – let’s also not forget about the Green and White of 2008, too.

Either way, get pumped (or excited) for this weekend’s big game with a fun pre-Super Bowl podcast, while following Mahoney (@GlobeMahoney) and the Boston Globe Sports section (@BGlobeSports) on Twitter.

Noontime Sports is now on SoundCloud, so make sure to become a fan of our page today! 

Catching Up With Brittany Stone (Regis College Women’s Basketball)

Brittany Stone guided the Regis College women's basketball team to a trio of wins last week. (PHOTO CREDIT: Regis College Athletics)

Brittany Stone guided the Regis College women’s basketball team to a trio of wins last week. (PHOTO CREDIT: Regis College Athletics)

By NoontimeSports (@NoontimeSports.com

After guiding her team to a trio of conference victories last week, Regis College junior Brittany Stone was tabbed the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) and New England Women’s Basketball Association (NEWBA) Player of the Week.

Stone recorded a pair of double-doubles in two of three games last week, while leading all scorers with 18 points in her team’s 68-37 win over Wheelock.

Stone currently leads the Pride in points (108), free-throws (24-of-31) and rebounds (52) and less than 100 points away from eclipsing the 1,000-point mark.

Earlier this week, Noontime Sports caught up with Stone to discuss her team’s 4-1 overall start, why she chose to major in nursing, as well as what songs she listens to on a game day.

You enjoyed another successful week (last week), recording a pair of double-doubles, so what worked for you? 

Visualizing is something I’ve started doing (this season) and it’s been working well for me. On the bus ride to games, I think of the opening tip and the ending buzzer, and the feeling of winning (a game). Also, during warm-ups, my team helps me get pumped up by giving high-fives and exhibiting a lot of energy. We are always yelling and cheering each other on, even for the little things.

Tell me about playing Daniel Webster last Saturday – similar to the question above, but how were you able to be so successful, both shooting the ball and pulling down rebounds? 

There are so many things motivating us right now, and that’s what I thought about Saturday. For rebounding specifically, our team had a goal to get at least five offensive rebounds each quarter, and that’s what I was thinking about the whole time. I wanted to get as many boards as I could, both offensively and defensively. Shooting is all about the points, so we always want to score as much as possible.

What do you enjoy more during a game: scoring or rebounding? 

This is a hard question because I love doing both. Scoring is probably my favorite because it gives us a lot of energy on the court and bench, which makes us play better.

Your team has played five games thus far and is currently 4-1 overall and 3-0 in NECC play. How has the season gone thus far from your perspective? 

I think this season has been great (thus) far and we’ve definitely learned a lot from our first five games. It is still early in the season, but I believe we have the potential to go further than we ever have.

Your team heads to Las Vegas in a few weeks to compete in the Las Vegas Hoopla. What does your team need to do to be successful in both contests? 

We are facing two very tough teams, so it will be good tests for us. We need to do what we always do, which is play with a lot of energy and just be ready for anything that comes our way. If we play hard like we have nothing to lose then we will be successful.

What is something many fans don’t know about this particular Regis squad?

We have won 96 consecutive conference games, which is in the NCAA record book.

Tell me about choosing your major. What interested you in studying nursing? 

I was originally interested in exercise science my first-year at Regis, but during my sophomore year I switched to nursing because I was more interested in the medical field. My family had many experiences in hospitals, so I always found the nurses to be the most genuine people in those particular settings. Also after reading The Fault in Our Stars and watching movies like My Sister’s Keeper, I knew I wanted to pursue a nursing career in pediatric oncology.

 Have you held any internships or part-time jobs in the field? If so, where? 

This summer I am hoping to work at one of the hospitals in Boston.

Do you have any family members that work in the medical field? If so, did they inspire you to purse this major? 

I do not have any family members that work in the medical field, but like I said, my family has experienced its share of hospital stays and medical diagnoses, so those experiences inspired me to become a nurse.

Being from New England, I would presume you’re a Boston sports fan, so which of the four major teams (Bruins, Celtics, Patriots or Red Sox) is your favorite? 

The New England Patriots are my favorite Boston sports team. My goal is to actually go to a game next season.

You are less than 100 points away from reaching 1,000 points as a member of the Regis women’s basketball team – was that a goal you had heading into Regis? 

It was a goal I have had since my first season and even before  I committed to play college basketball. Since I reached the mark my junior year of high school, I wanted to do the same in college.

You eclipsed the 1,000-point mark in high school – how challenging is it to reach this particular milestone? 

In high school, I thought it would be impossible and I never thought I would reach that milestone. It was definitely a long journey, but it took a lot of hard work and perseverance.

Three songs you listen to on a game day? 

‘Famous’ by Kanye West,

‘Five More Hours’ by Chris Brown,

‘Under Control’ by Calvin Harris

Favorite television show these days? 

When I’m not watching ‘25 Days of Christmas,’ I am probably watching any reality television show.

The last book you read was …? 

The Fault in our Stars by John Green.

Finally, what do you love most about being a student-athlete at Regis? 

I love how  student-athletes are well integrated within the institution’s community. I also like how you are encouraged to pursue both athletics and education when applying to Regis.