Hudson~Litchfield Sports

Oh So Close for the Alvirne Broncos

by Sue LaRoche

Ryan Sweeney looking to make a pass

Maybe a few teams like Pinkerton and Londonderry took coach Kevin Bonney’s Alvirne Bronco boys basketball team for granted in the first two rounds of the Class L Tournament last week, but there was no way Trinity coach Dave Keefe was going to look past this team.  First of all, how can you overlook a team with two 6’ 5” forwards named Ryan Sweeney and Brennan Donnelly, and a couple of crackerjack guards named Caleb Donnelly and Joe O’Hearn during St. Patrick’s Day Week?

The Alvirne Broncos did themselves proud as the number 12 seed for the NHIAA Class L Tournament defeated the number 4 seed and the number 13 seed to earn a spot in the semi-finals at UNH in Durham on Wednesday March 18.  Their quest for a Cinderella season ended there, however, as they ran into a seasoned number 1 seed Trinity squad who was cool under pressure and battled back to defeat Alvirne 65-59.

Alvirne came out of the blocks firing on all cylinders as they stayed with their game plan and got the ball inside to their two big men, Brennan Donnelly and Ryan Sweeney, and Caleb Donnelly and Joe O’Hearn were huge from the outside.  Along with throwing a hodgepodge of different defenses at Trinity, the Broncos seemed to be in control of the game right through the third quarter.  The Broncos were up 13-12 after the first quarter, and they were able to increase their lead to 31-21 at the half.

Trinity made some adjustments at the half and came out pressing the Broncos, which they could have handled a bit better, but the Broncos continued to cling to a slim 46-41 lead at the end of three quarters of play.  The Broncos hung tough, and with 3:35 to go they had a 57-52 lead.  The difference towards the end of the game was that “they had experience in these situations and we only had one guy (Donnelly) who had ever been there before,” explained coach Kevin Bonney.  Trinity hit some big 3-point shots down the stretch which really swung the momentum.  The Broncos were outscored 10-1 in the final 2 minutes of the game.

It was a great run for the Broncos and coach Bonney is “very proud of the way the guys accepted their roles and adjusted well after suffering some injuries throughout the season.”  The Broncos finished with a 10-11 record in Class L, turning some heads along the way.  “We have a group of guys returning next year who will work hard in the off season to continue to improve, and we also have a group of younger guys that we expect great thing from,” explained Bonney.

Brennan Donnelly finished with 17 points, while Joe O’Hearn had 16 points including two 3-pointers.  Caleb Donnelly added 13 points including three 3-point shots, and Ryan Sweeney had 11 points.  O’Hearn did a tremendous job shutting down Trinity’s star player Cormac Fitzpatrick, holding him to only 6 points in the contest, but unfortunately for the Broncos, Jordan Laguerre stepped up and led all scorers with 24 points.  With a core group of players returning, the future is bright for the Alvirne Broncos.

Caleb Donnelly forcing by Pinkerton's defense

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