Tag Archives: Norwood

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. High Schools: Games to Watch In Week Three (Sept. 19-21st)

GAMES TO WATCH HS WK3 2019

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

Week three of the Massachusetts high school football season resumes today with Old Colony facing Keefe Tech which means its time to unveil our weekly games to watch and predictions, too.

Let’s see how we do this week – we have struggled the past few weeks with picks, but we think we have some good selections for today, tomorrow and Saturday!


Mass. High Schools: Games to Watch | Week Three

Old Colony at Keefe Tech (Thursday, Sept. 19th): The Cougars took care of business last week, defeating Avon-Holbrook 41-6 in their season-opener. Look for their week two effort to continue against Keefe Tech in Framingham. PREDICTION: Old Colony 28, Keefe Tech 17 

Newton North at Needham (Friday, Sept. 20th): This is a must-win for the Rockets, which have dropped back-to-back games against Natick and Tewksbury. Newton North’s Andrew Landry enjoyed a successful to start to his final season with the Tigers by tallying five touchdowns in a 33-0 win over Waltham last Saturday. PREDICTION: Newton North 30, Needham 14 

Latin Academy at Boston Latin (Friday, Sept. 20th): The Wolfpack are seeking their first win of the 2019 season, while the Dragons of Latin Academy enter Friday’s tilt with some momentum following a 16-14 win last week over Tech Boston. LA’s Robert Marek will be a player to watch in this game. PREDICTION: Latin Academy 21, Boston Latin 14 

Lynnfield at Medford (Friday, Sept. 20th): The Pioneers enjoyed a successful start to their 2019 season with a 43-7 win over Newburyport. Look for that momentum to continue against the Mustangs in Medford. PREDICTION: Lynnfield 30, Medford 10 

Millis at Lowell Catholic (Friday, Sept. 20th): Lowell Catholic enters week three as winners in their last two contests. They should continue that trend on Friday – look for a big game from Ryan PenrosePREDICTION: Lowell Catholic 21, Millis 10 

Watertown at Cambridge (Friday, Sept. 20th): The Raiders scored multiple points in the first half last week, while their defense provided a slew of challenges for the Arlington Catholic offense. Watertown will need both its offense and defense to duplicate its performance from last week against a Cambridge team that is averaging 32.5 points per game. PREDICTION: Watertown 30, Cambridge 22 

Malden at Somerville (Friday, Sept. 20th): Greater Boston League (GBL) play begins in Somerville on Friday – this is a tough matchup for a Golden Tornadoes squad that will tasked with finding ways to slow down Jamir Vernet and Louis MontinaPREDICTION: Somerville 32, Malden 10 

Lynn Classical at Danvers (Friday, Sept. 20th): The Falcons return to the gridiron after starting their season with 41-20 victory over Masconomet. Lynn Classical has faced some real challenges during the past two weeks and is eager to finally crack the win column. PREDICTION: Lynn Classical 35, Danvers 32 

North Quincy at Westwood (Friday, Sept. 20th): Jake Pfaff and the Wolverines used a total team effort to beat Medway last week. Look for Pfaff and company to continue last week’s success against North Quincy on Friday evening. PREDICTION: Westwood 28, North Quincy 13 

Walpole at Wellesley (Saturday, Sept. 21st): The Rebels look to bounce back from a 31-7 setback to Natick last week, while Wellesley looks to continue its early-season momentum. The Raiders’ defense has yielded 6.5 points through two contests. PREDICTION: Wellesley 22, Walpole 20

Lexington at Concord-Carlisle (Saturday, Sept. 21st): The Patriots’ special teams seemed to be the difference a week against Oliver Ames. Will they need that unit again against the Minutemen? PREDICTION: C-C 28, Lexington 21 

Medway at Norwood (Saturday, Sept. 21st): Look for Norwood to deliver first-year coach Manny Lopes his first win with the Mustangs. PREDICTION: Norwood 28, Medway 14 

Mass. High Schools: Week One Football Picks

MASS HS FB WK1 PICKS

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

The first week of the Massachusetts High School football season is here – it technically began last night with a few games – but before a few more contests commence later today, let’s dish out (and share) our predictions for week one.

As always, stay connected with our Massachusetts high school sports coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_HS


Week One Football Picks: Friday, Sept. 6th, 2019 

Norwood at Walpole (4 p.m.): A new era of Mustangs football begins this afternoon when first-year coach Manny Lopes leads Norwood down the road to face the Rebels in an intriguing non-conference clash. PREDICTION: Walpole 21, Norwood 10

Ashland at Westwood (4:30 p.m.): The Wolverines finished 4-7 last fall, but return some key players on both sides of the ball, including some talented seniors that should help Westwood squeak out an opening day win. PREDICTION: Westwood 21, Ashland 18 

Springfield Central at Everett (5 p.m.): Everett returns a ton of talent on both sides of the ball, which should help the Tide roll to an opening day victory. PREDICTION: Everett 28, Springfield Central 20 

Needham at Natick (6 p.m.): The Rockets will once again be a team to watch in the Bay State Conference (BSC) this fall, but face a challenging week one test against a Natick team that will be led by quarterback Will LedermanPREDICTION: Natick 28, Needham 17 

Acton-Boxborough at Lexington (6 p.m.): A new era begins in Lexington with coach Mike Hill, who is bullish about his team’s size and speed, which should help the Minutemen claim an opening day victory. PREDICTION: Lexington 24, A-B 14 

Wellesley at Weymouth (7 p.m.): Matthew Maiona and the Raiders offense should have no problem locating the Weymouth end zone a few times this evening. PREDICTION: Wellesley 28, Weymouth 14

Dedham at East Bridgewater (7 p.m.): Both teams return just a few starters from last season, which makes this an intriguing match-up to follow. Dedham is coming off one of its best seasons in program history and will most certainly lean on its returners in this one. PREDICTION: Dedham 14, East Bridgewater 10 

Malden Catholic at Winchester (7 p.m.): First-year coach Bill Raycraft will lead a Lancers squad into its initial contest of the 2019 season with hopes of utilizing its speed on both sides of the ball to secure a week one victory. PREDICTION: Malden Catholic 21, Winchester 14 

Boston Latin at Cambridge (7 p.m.): The Wolfpack will pride itself on its experience this fall, which should help Boston Latin score an opening day win in Cambridge. Matt Susich will be one of a few players to watch this evening – the senior will play quarterback and linebacker for the Wolfpack this season.


As always, stay connected with our Massachusetts high school sports coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_HS. 

New England High Schools: Keep Your Eyes On Hingham & Norwell

NS HS LAX

By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11

If you’re a fan of the Hingham Harbormen then you couldn’t have asked for a better start to their season.

Hingham enters the new week with a 2-0 mark, thanks to wins over Catholic Memorial and St. John’s Prep (Danvers). Both wins secured them the second position in today’s BostonLax.net week two poll, which found Xaverian Brothers in the top spot, while Boston College High School secured the third position, thanks to a win over Cohasset.

Rounding out the site’s top five positions were Duxbury and Lincoln-Sudbury, checking-in fourth and fifth, respectively.

Hingham checked-in first in the Wicked Local South boys power ranking, while NorwellMarshfield, and Plymouth South secured the second, third, and fourth positions, respectively.

The Harbormen face a very interesting test on Saturday, April 13th when they host Simsbury (Conn.) at 1 p.m., and will certainly need another solid outing from Cooper Dainton, who netted four goals in his team’s win over the Eagles this past weekend.

In today’s Wicked Local South girls power rankings, Norwell secured the top spot, thanks to a 2-0 start, while Braintree, Cohasset, and Hingham checked-in second, third, and fourth, respectively.

Norwell, which returned 23 players from last year’s MIAA D2 state championship squad, has commenced its season with convincing wins over Foxboro and Westwood. The win over the Wolverines – an 8-7 victory – should provide the Clippers with some momentum heading into a week where they will face Hingham and Medfield. Both games won’t be easy.

Medfield enters the early week tilt with Norwell with a 1-0 record, thanks to a 19-4 win over Norwood last Friday. The win over the Mustangs was also the Warriors’ initial Tri-Valley League (TVL) victory, too.

News and Notes from the New England High School Lacrosse World


Stay connected with our New England lacrosse coverage on Twitter @NoontimeLax