Gilford boys look back at up and down season



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James Curtis readies himself on defense during a Gilford home game this season. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
March 21, 2011
GILFORD – Things didn't come easily for the Gilford High School boys' basketball team, as the Golden Eagles jumped out to a 3-1 start before struggling down the stretch en route to a 5-13 season.

"It was a season that had its ups and downs," said veteran GHS coach Chip Veazey. "I thought we were a competitive team for much of the season and if you look at some of the top teams like Mascoma, Berlin and Somersworth, we had some very competitive games against them. We didn't necessarily win them but we had stretches of the season and games where we played as a team and played well."

One problem Gilford faced throughout the season was the squad rarely was able to play with its full complement of players.

"We didn't have the whole team together for a lot of the year because of injuries or other situations and that hurt us," Veazey revealed. "It hurts the development of a younger team when you can't all be on the same page."

Veazey said that when his team was able to get in good practices and fully prepare for an opponent, that's when success followed.

"I'm hoping the younger players on the team picked up on the fact that when we had a string of good practices and we were focused, the results showed," he said. "When we were successful, a lot of it had to do with our preparation. Some of our inexperience showed that maybe our focus wasn't what it should have been all the time. But when we really shared the ball and looked for each other, made the extra pass or two, we were right there with almost anybody."

Some of those inconsistencies were on display in the season finale loss to Inter-Lakes in the Division III play-in game. After splitting the regular season series with the Lakers, Gilford struggled in the second half and was beaten, 72-55, in Meredith.

"Inter-Lakes showed they weren't a fluke and they played well down the stretch but we obviously didn't play as well as we were hoping to in that game," said Veazey. "We didn't shoot well but they were on a high at that point with the way they closed out their season so it was a tough combination."

Gilford will lose three seniors to graduation, with forward/center Cameron McGonagle and guards Curt Chapin and James Seager all having played their final games.

"(McGonagle) came on in the last few games after being injured early on," said Veazey. "He finished really strong and had the biggest game of his career up at Newfound (in the regular season finale).

"With James and Curt, it was really good to see them finish their career where we were competitive," he continued. "When they were sophomores, they had to play varsity because of the situation where we didn't have much depth. It was a really tough season and then last year we were a little more competitive. They both stuck with it and were hard workers so it was nice they got to play on a team this year where we were competitive. We didn't have a lot to show for it as far as wins, but we were in a lot of games."

Veazey now has a nice core to work with, led by junior Ronny Bean and sophomore Matt Dean. Sophomore Sam Prescott did a nice job handling the ball during the season while Connor Veazey added some shooting range to the Eagle lineup.

"A lot of next year's expectations have to do with how much they want to improve over the course of the offseason," the coach said. "A lot of it is really up to them. We're knocking on the door but we haven't gone through with yet this group. Individually and as a team, there has to be some focus and if we can get that, we could be in good shape."

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