A third of the way through the 2015-16 season, Jack Quirk and the Manchester Memorial Crusaders are still trying to prove themselves as one of the elite schools in Division I. They are sitting in the middle of the pack with a record of 4-2, with the two losses coming against Winnacunnet in the season opener, and Manchester Central. The team has been led offensively by senior captains Brandon Scott and Nick Philibert, along with the superb play from junior guard, Jake Carrier.
Memorial tacked on their second win of the season in Hudson against the Alvirne High Broncos. The final score of the game was 87-76. Carrier and Scott each put up 25 points, along with 11 boards for Scott. The gritty Nick Beall also provided six points off the bench along with a spark on the defensive end of the floor.
Later that week, cross-town rivals Memorial and Central put on quite a show as the Crusaders fell to the Little Green 78-70. With five minutes to go in the first half, Memorial had a 13 point lead as Coach Quirk invigorated his squad and the crowd during a team timeout. The Little Green followed this up with a 17-2 run to close out the half. It was a back-and-forth affair until the final minutes of the fourth quarter, when Central sealed the victory with a 12-2 run. Evan MacDonald couldn’t miss from behind the ark pouring on 24 of his 26 points from three-point range, leading his team to victory. Jaylen Leroy also added 17 in the shadow of MacDonald’s monster night.
Even though the Crusaders couldn’t pull out the win, there were some positives the team can take from the game. Jake Carrier followed up his 25 points in the previous outing with a solid 22 points in the nail-biting loss. The ball just seemed to find the basket each time he touched it. Forward Brandon Scott wasn’t far behind tallying 18.
After falling to the Little Green, Memorial got back on track with convincing wins over Dover and Keene. Scott shined once again on Friday, putting up a season high 33 points in the 81-72 win rising above the Black Birds from Keene. Scott did it all for the Crusaders, whether it was recording blocks on defense, finishing at the rim, or even hitting a few shots from downtown. He was sensational.
The team has also been battling the injury bug along the way. With sophomore Zack Lubin, seniors Malo Roumraj, and Mahmoud Gabir all getting limited minutes this season due to injury, the coaching staff seems to think they’ve found a suitable replacement in junior Nick Beall. Beall is a scrappy forward who isn’t afraid to mess with even the biggest of opponents.
Coach Quirk’s aggressive defense and “run-and-gun” style offense seems to be working so far. The team just hopes it will be able to lead them to their first state title in 34 years.