Tag: Hinsdale

Keene State men, RIC women ousted from NCAA tourney

By Mike Whaley

It was Black Friday for the Keene State College men and the Rhode Island College women in their respective Sweet 16 rounds of the NCAA Division III basketball tournament.

No. 5 KSC fell apart in the second half to lose at No. 7 Guilford, 84-60, while the No. 3 RIC saw its undefeated season come to an end with an unusually bad shooting night to Washington & Lee, 61-55.

Keene led 29-24 in the first half, but an uncharacteristic season-high 21 turnovers led to a six-point halftime deficit (40-34). The Owls were outscored in the second half, 42-26. They end their season with a 26-3 record.

Octavio Brito and Jeff Hunter led KSC with 12 points apiece, Mason Jean Baptiste added 11 points.

The RIC women (29-1) played from behind most of the night against Washington & Lee, making just 28 percent of their shots, which included 3 of 23 from 3-point land. The Anchorwomen made only 4 of their 16 foul shots.

RIC trailed 45-33 after three quarters and was down 56-48 with 53 seconds to play, but was able to cut the lead to three (58-55) and had a chance to tie it in the waning seconds, but a 3-pointer was off the mark. Hinsdale junior Angelina Nardolillo was one of the few bright spots for the Anchorwomen. She led the team in scoring with 15 points on 7-of-14 shooting.

Washington & Lee (29-2) was led by sophomore forward Mary Schleusner, who scored a game-high 34 points and pulled down a tournament record 33 rebounds, breaking her own record of 29 set earlier in the tournament.

College hoop roundup: NCAA D-III tourney update

By: Mike Whaley

Hinsdale junior Angelina Nardolillo and the No. 3 Rhode Island College women’s team remain unbeaten after winning their first- and second-round NCAA Division III tournament games in their home gym. They’ll have more home cooking this weekend in the sectional as they host three teams Friday and Saturday.

The Anchorwomen (29-0) beat St. Joseph’s (Maine), 56-37, and St. John Fisher, 66-43, to advance to the Sweet 16. They meet No. 19 Washington & Lee (28-2) Friday night at 8 p.m., after the 5:30 p.m. game between Bates College (24-5) and No. 7 Wartburg (27-2). The two winners play Saturday in the Elite Eight game at 7:30 p.m. with the winner earning a berth to the NCAA Final Four in Columbus, Ohio, March 14-16. RIC is looking to return to the final four for the second year in a row.

Nardolillo had strong games in both wins. In the St. Joe’s victory, she had 11 points and 11 rebounds, while vs. St. John Fisher she totaled a team-high 19 points and pulled down nine boards. 

The final score of both games were deceptive. Against St. Joe’s, RIC jumped out to a 24-7 lead after the first quarter, but that lead evaporated. The Monks closed the gap to 32-28 in the second half before the Anchorwomen were able to pull away.

Versus St. John Fisher, RIC led by just 27-24 at the half, but used a 17-7 run in the third quarter to build a 44-31 lead and were not challenged from there.

The other N.H. connected game of interest involves the Keene State College men, the only N.H. team to qualify for either tournament. The Owls (26-3) hosted and won their first two games over Marymount (Va.), 82-76, and Eastern, 109-85. In the Marymount win, KSC got big games from Jeff Hunter (22 points, 16 rebounds) and Octavio Brito (22 points, 8 boards), while Spencer Aronsonand Nate Siow added 15 and 14 points, respectively.

In the second round, the Owls were led by Brito’s career-high 40 points, and 20 points and 14 boards from Hunter.

No. 5 KSC will play in the Sweet 16 in Greensboro, N.C., vs. No. 7 Guilford (24-4) Friday at 7:15 p.m. The first game is between No. 21 Williams and No. 23 Christopher Newport at 4:15 p.m. The two winners play Saturday at 7:15 p.m. for the right to advance to the final four in Fort Wayne, Indiana, March 14-16.

Perfect Pace: Nardolillo, RIC have a national title in their sights

By Mike Whaley

The big picture is something that Angelina Nardolillo always has her eye on. An all-state player at Hinsdale High School where she scored over 1,000 points and led the Pacers to a pair of Division IV state titles, Nardolillo has set her sights a little higher at Rhode Island College. The 6-foot, 1-inch junior is the starting center for the No. 3 nationally ranked Anchorwomen (27-0), who open the 64-team NCAA Division III Tournament Friday at home vs. St. Joseph’s College (Maine), 8 p.m. 

Earlier this week, Nardolillo was named to the All-Little East Conference Second Team for the third year in a row. As a freshman, she was selected as the LEC Rookie of the Year. The honors are nice, but Nardolillo is more interested in helping the team climb one step further than last year when RIC advanced to their first-ever D-III final four.

“I know that everybody else on the team knows we have unfinished business,” Nardolillo said. “We deserve to go further than the final four last year. I think that drive is going to really propel us through the tournament.”

RIC’s Angelina Nardolillo, left, has been a three-year starter for the Anchorwomen, who take a perfect 27-0 record into the NCAA Division III national tournament, which opens on Friday. [Photo courtesy of Rhode Island College Athletics]

RIC is hosting one of the 16 four-team tournament pods that will take place Friday and Saturday. If they beat St. Joe’s they will meet the winner of the other Friday game between Gettysburg and St. John Fisher on Saturday. This is the Anchorwomen’s third straight NCAA tournament appearance and seventh overall. They earned the automatic berth by winning their fourth consecutive LEC championship with wins over Eastern Connecticut (67-40) and rival UMass-Dartmouth (67-52). It was RIC’s third win this season over the Corsairs, who received an at-large tourney bid. Although it was their third meeting, the Anchorwomen had no trouble getting up for their rival. “They’re mean and chippy and scrappy, and they don’t really care,” Nardolillo said. “They’ll do anything to win. So we just like to stick it to them by beating them.”

Nardolillo has been a steady three-year influence for RIC in the post. She had 12 points and nine boards in the LEC championship win, and is averaging 10.3 ppg and 5.6 rpg this year. She is also on the cusp of scoring 1,000 points (924), a milestone that could fall later in March if RIC has a deep playoff run. If not, then early next season.

A native of Rhode Island, Nardolillo’s family moved to Hinsdale when she was 6. Basketball, however, didn’t come easy. First of all she did not like New Hampshire for the first several years she lived in Hinsdale. “I cried all the time and told (my parents) that I wanted to move back to Rhode Island,” she recalled. “I hated it. There was nothing to do. It’s very different from Providence.”

RIC junior Angelina Nardolillo has played a major role for the unbeaten Anchorwomen, who will host the first two rounds of their NCAA Division III national tournament four-team pod starting Friday. [Photo courtesy of Rhode Island College Athletics]

Gradually she grew to like it. She found hiking and soon embraced the beauty of the area. “Once I had a set friend group, I liked it a lot more,” Nardolillo said.

Basketball came into the picture when she was in fourth grade, but it was not an immediate hit. Her mom had been a cheerleader and didn’t want her daughter to go down that route, so she suggested basketball. Because she was tall, there were others that also suggested she try the sport out.

“I didn’t really understand basketball,” Nardolillo said. “I don’t think I ever watch a basketball game. I didn’t know the rules. I didn’t know anything about basketball besides the movie ‘Space Jam’. That was my preconceived notion I had about basketball before playing it.

“I hated it at the beginning,” she said. “I just played to play.”

By the time she got to middle school, Nardolillo was showing some promise. She was beginning to understand the game and embracing the fact that her once bothersome height was an advantage. “That’s when it really clicked for me,” she said. “I used it as a benefit. Instead of saying ‘Oh my God, I have to play basketball.’”

In seventh grade Nardolillo saw her first biggest improvement jump, playing her best basketball to that point. As an eighth-grader she was called up to play with the high school team as a swing player. By mid-season she was a full-time varsity starter.

RIC’s Angelina Nardolillo, a former star at Hinsdale HS, is a three-time All-Little East Conference selection to the second team. [Photo courtesy of Rhode Island College Athletics]

As a freshman, she played an integral role in Hinsdale’s championship run. She scored her 1,000th point as a sophomore and led the Pacers to the championship game – 42-31 loss to Littleton. “I really wanted to play basketball,” Nardolillo said. “I was thinking I wanted to play at a high level.”

She knew that playing D-IV ball in New Hampshire afforded her limited exposure opportunities. She decided to try a preparatory school. Northfield Mount Hermon is a 10-minute drive across the border in Massachusetts. “It was really close. I didn’t have to board,” Nardolillo said. “I loved going there.”

Her experience there set her up to prepare for college. It was at NMH that she realized that she didn’t want to play Division I basketball. “I wanted to be a student athlete,” Nardolillo said. “I wanted to be able to focus on my education and athletics, and not just devote all my time to basketball. I love it. It’s my passion. But I realized I’m fine with Division III.”

At NMH Nardolillo worked on her strength and conditioning for the first time. She had a trainer and did workouts. “That’s when I saw the next biggest jump in my athleticism and skill development because I was playing with Division I girls,” she said. “One of my best friends, she plays at Northeastern. She’s a post. We played against each other every single day. That really helped to push me to another level that I didn’t think I could make.”

RIC junior Angelina Nardolillo has been a three-year starter for the Anchorwomen, who take a perfect 27-0 record into the NCAA Division III national tournament, which opens on Friday. [Photo courtesy of Rhode Island College Athletics]

When Nardolillo first enrolled at NMH, the Covid-19 Pandemic was just unfolding. They had a season during her junior year, but Covid canceled the 2020-21 season in which the team would only play intrasquad games. “Personally, it’s my senior year,” she said. “I didn’t want to reclass. I made that a huge point. I can just go back to my public school and win another state championship and graduate with the people I’ve known since kindergarten. I made the move back and I’m happy I did.”

The summer before her senior year, Nardolillo focused hard on finding a college. She emailed RIC coach Jenna Cosgrove as well as others, but  she really wanted to go to school in Rhode Island where she still had family.

Cosgrove recalls getting Nardolillo’s email, and here’s where in recruiting sometimes you get lucky. Because of Covid and Nardolillo returning to Hinsdale, she wasn’t really on anyone’s radar. Cosgrove saw that Nardolillo had played at NMH, where she was coached by Grace Rehnquist. As it so happens, Cosgrove and Rehnquist are both from Sharon, Mass. There, Cosgrove was a co-captain on the girls’ basketball team with Rehnquist’s sister, and her dad was one of Cosgrove’s first coaches.

Rehnquist was able to give her some insight into Nardolillo. Coupled with the fact she had started at NMH and had played with some high caliber players, Cosgrove knew that she had some talent.

When Cosgrove talked with Nardolillo, she found out that she wanted to be challenged and surrounded by better players. “I like this kid already,” the coach said.

Cosgrove hosted an off-campus clinic during the fall of 2020 to see kids she couldn’t see during the summer. “She came,” Cosgrove recalled. “I remember her walking through the door. ‘Oh, sh*t, this kid has got size. She can run like a gazelle.’” It was a coup for Cosgrove who felt that had not Covid forced Nardolillo back to Hinsdale, she might have been more heavily recruited with a full senior year at NMH. It probably didn’t matter. Nardolillo had her heart set on D-III and on returning to Rhode Island.

RIC’s Angelina Nardolillo, a former star at Hinsdale HS, has been a three-year starter for the Anchorwomen at center. [Photo courtesy of Rhode Island College Athletics]

Nardolillo had a goal of committing to a school before Thanksgiving of her senior year. That’s what she did. “I like hopping on the train early,” she said. “I don’t like doing things at the last minute. I know people that have waited until April, May and I stress about things too much. I couldn’t wait. I got that out of the way.”

That allowed her to focus on her senior year in high school. She played three sports, leading the Pacer hoopsters to the D-IV state crown and earning her third first-team all-state selection. She was also all-state in soccer and softball.

Now it was on to college. Nardolillo did not envision starting. She figured maybe a role as the sixth or seventh player. There was a four-year starter at center, and she was convinced she wasn’t going to take that spot.

That senior was Willcia McBorrough, a former LEC Rookie of the Year. Cosgrove told the senior, ‘we’ve got a freshman kid coming in that’s going to swipe your spot if you don’t get in shape’ – and she did.”

Nardolillo remembers working hard and receiving help from McBorrough. “She was one of my role models that I looked up to and still do. She was a lot bigger than me. She was stronger than me. She really helped me in practice to get stronger and gain confidence.”

Cosgrove recalls Nardolillo being hesitant to take that starting position. But after four or five games, the coach was insistent: “All right, Ang, let’s go.”

All she did was earn the conference’s rookie of the year award. “She’s been an impactful piece since Day 1,” Cosgrove said. “And now she’s a co-captain as a junior on the best team we’ve ever had. She’s an incredible kid.”

McBurrough was a huge support system over the entire season, constantly reminding Nardolillo that she deserved to be starting. “She showed every bit of love to me,” Nardolillo said. “I showed it back to her.”

There were times that Nardolillo went to McBurrough in tears because she felt bad that she was ruining her teammate’s senior season. “She looked at me – ‘You should never say that,’” Nardolillo recalled being told. “‘You’ve worked so hard to get to this point. You deserve every accolade that you have. It’s your turn to be dominant.’”

RIC won the Little East title to advance to the national tournament in Amherst, Mass. There they fell to St. John Fisher, 55-52, in the first round. “It was heartbreaking that we lost,” Nardolillo said. “I think we could have definitely won. But we needed that to fuel us for last year’s run.”

She felt she could have played better. She was up against a senior center who had more experience. “In that moment she was more prepared than I was,” Nardolillo said. “It wasn’t my best performance, but I wasn’t a mess.”

That set the stage for last year when the Anchorwomen enjoyed the finest season in program history. Although unranked, they went on to fashion a school-record mark of 28-4 in advancing to the final four. They beat four teams, including three nationally ranked squads, to get to the round of four. Those wins came against Rowan, 67-59; No. 7 and previously unbeaten Scranton, 62-55; No. 12 Chicago, 64-56, and No. 9 Babson, 60-47. In the national semifinal, RIC fell to No. 2 Christopher Newport, 56-51. The Anchorwomen were ranked fifth in the final national poll.

Nardolillo had a great tournament, scoring 62 points and pulling down 29 rebounds in five games. She was the team’s leading scorer in three games: Scranton (14 points), Chicago (17) and Newport (13). She was named to the five-player Women’s Basketball Championship All-Tournament Team, composed of players from the final four.

In their four wins, the Anchorwomen used second-half rallies to claim victory. The biggest comeback was against Scranton in which RIC was down 43-39 heading into the fourth quarter. They used a 23-12 burst in the fourth to pull off the victory.

“The final four loss was upsetting,” Nardolillo said. “We were there and we knew we went cold for five minutes. And really that’s all it takes – a lapse. That’s what we learned last year.” Indeed, RIC led Newport, 43-38, after three quarters, but that cold spell allowed Newport to go on an 18-8 run in the fourth to pull out the win.

Now this veteran team – five fifth-year players on the roster – sets their sights on another deep postseason run. “This year’s team chemistry and culture is even deeper than last year,” Nardolillo said. “I say this all the time – I just play with a bunch of dogs that love to play basketball. That’s really what it is.”

Cosgrove loves what she sees in Nardolillo. “Offensively, she’s a force down low,” the coach said. “I only think she’s going to get better and better in her final year. She’s gotten in better shape. She’s strong, but she’s got a lot of different moves under the basket.”

Nardolillo has plenty of versatility for a post player. She has inside moves, can step out and shoot and can drive to the basket. She can handle the ball and runs the floor very well.

On defense, it was a struggle at first learning RIC’s system. “I told her she is the backbone of our system,” Cosgrove said. “You’ve got to protect the paint. She’s done an incredible job with that over the last couple years, but this year the most. She has to guard some of the best post players in Division III. She’s done it all year. We haven’t lost a game.”

The Anchorwomen have a deep, experienced team with a bevy of scoring options and the ability to play shutdown man-to-man defense. “Practices are competitive and the bench is deep,” coach Cosgrove said. “We make the practices harder so the games seem easier.”

Last year, RIC went into the tournament with the goal to win a first-round tournament game. “Everything was kind of a wow surprise factor,” Cosgrove said. “We deserved to be there, but we never had the recognition. We were never ranked (until the season was over).”

This year, RIC returns its core. “We’re returning Ang and our whole starting five minus one kid,” the coach said. “We brought in two kids that make us deeper than we were last year. I know we have the depth to carry us further. Obviously our destiny awaits.”

If all goes according to plan, Angelina Nardolillo and her “dogs” could well be howling from the championship podium on March 16 in Columbus, Ohio.


Quite a few N.H. players are participating in the NCAA D-III tournament for men and women. Let’s start with the women. All first-round games will be played Friday

You know all about Angelina Nardolillo. She has an N.H. teammate in Deerfield sophomore guard Elli Cox, a graduate of Concord HS. She has played in 19 games for RIC.

RIC’s opponent is St. Joseph’s College (Maine), champions of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference. The Monks have two local players in Brookline sophomore guard Elisabeth Stapelfield (Hollis-Brookline HS) and Keene freshman guard Cadence Gilbert. Stapelfield has played in all 28 games for St. Joe’s, averaging 9.8 ppg. Gilbert has appeared in 10 games. In the GNAC championship win over St. Joseph’s (Conn.), 85-72, Stapelfield had 16 points and six boards.

Smith College (25-3), champions of the NEWMAC, will host a four-team pod. They meet Maine Maritime at 7 p.m. Laconia senior guard Amelia Clermont has played in 17 games for Smith with nine starts and is averaging 6.2 ppg. Shenandoah and Messiah play the early game at 4:30 p.m.

Trinity College (Conn.) is playing in the New Paltz, N.Y., pod. They open action vs. Baldwin Wallace at 5 p.m. Two N.H. players are on the roster – Merrimack sophomore guard Theresa Twardosky (14 games) and Hanover sophomore Melissa Whitmore (11 games). Trinity lost in the NESCAC semis to Bates, 74-68.

Litchfield’s Jaelyn Lavigne, a 5-10 senior guard, will see action for UMass Dartmouth (23-4) against New Jersey City University Friday at 4 p.m. at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. Lavigne played in all 25 Corsairs’ games, averaging 3.3 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.

Western New England University (22-5) won the Commonwealth Coast Conference championship to earn its bid to the tournament. The Golden Bears play at 6:30 p.m., at Bowdoin College vs. the Polar Bears. They have three N.H. players on the roster: Londonderry senior guard Colleen Furlong (27 games, 100 assists), junior guard Abby Marasco (Pinkerton) and graduate student Lindsey Carey(ConVal).

On the men’s side, St. Joseph’s (Conn.) will play Geneva at 5 p.m. at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va. Portsmouth junior guard Kevin Cummings (28 games, 7.4 ppg) is playing for the Blue Jays (24-4). St. Joe’s won the GNAC title with a 78-59 win over Maine’s St. Joe’s. Cummings had 16 points and four steals vs. the Monks.

Former Spaulding High School star Cal Connelly is a first-year assistant coach with the Roger Williams University men’s squad. RWU (14-14) won the Commonwealth Coast Conference playoff title as the No. 5 seed, beating in order, No. 4 Wentworth, No. 1 Nichols and No. 6 Suffolk to punch their berth in the national tournament. The Hawks will meet host Widener (23-4) at 7:40 p.m. in Chester, Pa. Connelly played his college ball at D-II Assumption University.

Keene State College is the lone Granite State team in the tournament. The Owls (24-3) won the Little East Conference championship to earn their place in the tournament and are one of the 16 host schools this weekend. Friday they entertain Marymount (Va.) at Spaulding Gymnasium, 6:15 p.m. The College of New Jersey plays Eastern in the first game at 3:45 p.m. Sophomore forward Liam Johnston of Keene has played in 16 games as the lone N.H. player on the squad.


The Yankee Small College Conference (YSCC) tournament will wrap up this weekend with the semifinal and championship games. Two N.H. squads will play each other in the men’s semifinal Saturday at NHTI in Concord. No. 4 Great Bay CC (18-7) will meet host and top-seeded NHTI (18-4) at 2 p.m. The winner will advance to Sunday’s championship against the winner of the 12 p.m. game between Central Maine CC and Southern Maine CC. The tournament winner will gain an automatic bid to the 10-team USCAA Division II national tournament in Richmond, Va., March 10 to 13.

The YSCC will likely have a second team gain an at-large bid and possibly a third team. In the most recent D-II national poll, NHTI is ranked fourth, SMCC fifth and Great Bay 10th. Last year, Great Bay made the tournament as the 10th and final team, winning two games before losing in the national semifinal. NHTI and SMCC also made the tournament, but lost first-round games. The selection show is Monday.

The Herons are led by a trio of seniors in Dover’s Kinglsey Breen, Theo Wolfe and Bryce Gibson. Breen is averaging 19.6 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game; Wolfe’s numbers are as follows: 18.9 ppg, 11.2 rpg and 4.6 apg; Gibson is averaging 13.5 ppg and 4.2 rpg. Sophomore Mpore Semuhoza has been a pleasant surprise as a first-year player, averaging 11.9 ppg and 5.5 rpg.

NHTI is led by senior guard Joseph Cantey, who is averaging 18.3 ppg and 5.9 apg. Also averaging in double figures are Dashan King (15.2), Rahsheen Caulk Jr. (14.9), Terrian Wester (14.0 ppg, 14.9 rpg) and Dontavious Elder (12.1).

Two N.H. players are on SMCC’s men’s team: Hudson sophomores Liam O’Neill and Ben Mullett.

The No. 3 SMCC women’s team (20-7) is playing in the semis Saturday vs. No. 2 UMaine Augusta at 4:45 p.m. There are several N.H. players on both teams. Rochester freshman Jenna Philbrook has played in 24 games and is averaging 7.7 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.4 per game for the Seawolves. Former Kennett standout Mariah Parker has played in 14 games. For 20-5 UMA, former Spaulding HS star Jade Trueman is on the roster. Trueman was a teammate of Philbrook’s at Spaulding.

Profile upsets Hinsdale, advances to quarterfinals

No. 10 Profile went on the road and upset No. 7 Hinsdale, 50-42, on Tuesday night in first round action of the 2024 NHIAA Division IV Girls Basketball State Tournament.

The Patriots advance to the quarterfinals where they will take on to seed Groveton on Friday.

Check out the full photo gallery of the action by our newest contributor Jess Bonnette of Jess Marie Photography…

Woodsville downs Hinsdale, advances to quarterfinals

No. 6 Woodsville started slow, but finished strong, as the three-time defending state champions began their title defense with a 55-32 win over #11 Hinsdale in first round action of the NHIAA Division IV State Tournament on Monday night.

The Engineers advance to the quarterfinals where they will take on #3 Derryfield on Thursday.

Woodsville and the Pacers were knotted at 7-7 after the first quarter of play before the Jamie Walker’s squad turned up the heat.

Woodsville would outscore Hinsdale 14-5 in the 2nd quarter, 13-6 in the 3rd and 21-14 in the 4th to come away with the 23-point victory.

Leading the way for the Engineers was Landon Kingsbury with a game-high 15 points, while Ryan Walker (12), Mike Hogan (10) and Connor Newcomb (10) all contributed with double-digits. The Pacers were paced by 9 from Chris Colon. Brayden Eastman was held to just 2 points for Hinsdale.

Check out photos of the action by our newest contributor Arinn Roy…

Division IV Boys Bracket Set

The field is set for the 2023 NHIAA Boys Basketball Division IV State Tournament.

The 17-team tourney gets underway on Friday as #17 Franklin heads to #16 Gorham for a play-in game at 7:00 pm. The winner of that game will face top-seeded Littleton in first-round action, which takes place on Monday.

Check out the bracket…