Seth Balderrama with his parents

Berlin High School senior Seth Balderrama with his parents, Yair and Michelle, after a game earlier this month in which he scored his 1000th point. The final season of high school basketball is winding down for Balderrama and other seniors. (Steve Enman Photo)

 I am now in the final stages of the story of the collapse of the Notre Dame Arena. Fortunately, I have been able to talk to a fairly large number of people who were there (mostly hockey players), and the testimonies are astonishing and transparent. There are lots of pictures of the building after it fell in, but I have not been able to find any Notre Dame High Schoo and Berlin High School Junior Varsity team pictures. If anyone has one or the other, or any other eye-witness stories about the collapse please contact me as soon as possible, as this is going to the publisher in a day or so. Thanks!

Congratulations are in order for Gorham Athletic Director, coach and physical education teacher Bill Goodrich, for being selected for the “Walter Smith Coaches Award,” while Berlin’s own Harold “Butch” Munce was awarded the “John R. Clark Official’s Award at the same ceremony. Both awards were presented at the Doubletree Hilton Hotel in Manchester and were sponsored by the N.H. Union Leader and N.H. Athletic Community Organizations. It is good to see our North Country people being recognized for their outstanding work in their respective fields of expertise.

Also, Rob Hamel, teacher and coach in Gorham has some of his beautiful artwork displayed at the Gorham Public Library-stop by and check it out.

I was able to attend a Gorham boy’s junior varsity game last week with Groveton as the opponent. Coach Dan Enman’s team is young, lacks size, and depth, but are not short on heart, as they worked hard right up until the end, despite getting soundly defeated by the Eagles.

I haven’t seen the official announcement yet, but heard that Berlin High School student-athlete and hockey player Sawyer Sanschagrin recently won the local/regional welding competition and will next compete next at the state level. Great job, Sawyer!

Just a side note: Why do we adult human beings let our negative emotions rule our behavior and our language at youth and/or school athletic events? If we could only look and listen to ourselves after the fact, and then if we weren’t shocked by what we said and heard, there would be something definitely wrong. Before every high school game the public address announcer sort of “goes through the motions” when reading the “riot act” about our behavior towards the players and officials, and we give a “token listen” to it but never really listen, because we’ve heard it before. I was at a number of games recently where the “fans” — defined in Webster’s Dictionary as “an enthusiastic devotee, an ardent admirer or supporter of someone or something” — were on the edge of being censurable. I am not a airplane pilot but I read a devotion this morning that said, “periodically a plane needs to be trimmed or balanced in flight, because things get knocked out of alignment and need to be adjusted.” Attitudes need that too at times.

Even young fans in the building were somewhat taken aback. People make negative comments to the other players and go after the referees during the games and as they leave the facility. Give those fans a whistle! I know, if everyone was like me at games, (and as a coach and parent of athletes, I wasn’t always that calm!) it would be pretty quiet but sometimes it might be better to be quiet than make a spectacle of yourself. Just a friendly reminder: These are kids playing a sport and the referees are doing a better than adequate job. Let it go and enjoy it for what it is.

Basketball

The Gorham Girl’s Basketball Team, coached by Joe Cassady, barely missed out on qualifying for the Division IV tournament beginning on Monday. They were tied with Portsmouth Christian for the final sport but were eliminated from further play in an odd tie-breaking procedure by the NHIAA. The girls ended up at 5-13.

The boys, meantime, have had a long, and much needed break, before finishing up their last two games this week, one being today at Groveton and then on Wednesday at home against Woodsville. Jean Desire could use a win or two to help them secure a spot in the upcoming tournament.

Don Picard’s Berlin High School Girl’s Basketball Team went 1-1 to close out the regular season at 9-9, before they begin NHIAA post-season play.

Their shooting woes continued as they lost to Interlakes 33-22 last week. Sam McCann and Kaylee Peare each scored 7 points to lead the team in that category and Coach Picard said, “We did not shoot well from the field, even though we did get/have some very good looks. We simply need to shoot better. This loss put us out of the running for a home playoff game.”

On Friday night, the team was off to Alton, where they squeaked by Prospect Mountain, 41-35, nearly a repeat of the first game of the year, on Nov. 30 of last year (can you remember that far back?), where Berlin won 41-37 in overtime.

Picard said, “We were up by 1 point with less than a minute to go, when Haily Knapp was fouled and made both ends of a 1 and 1. Prospect Mountain missed their shot, and shortly thereafter Kaylee Peare was fouled and she missed the front end of the 1-1. She was in position to get her own rebound and, with a nice pass inside, hit Sam McCann, who scored, was fouled and then completed the traditional three-point play to seal the win.”

McCann had a double-double, 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Peare chipped in with 11. Allison Theriault scored 8; Jessica Vien, 3; and Knapp with her 2 huge and crunch-time points.

No. 9, at 9-9, Berlin will head out on the road tomorrow night, for a game against No. 8 Belmont, who stands at 10-8. This could be a very interesting game as both teams are evenly matched. On Jan. 4, the locals won that game at Belmont, 49-32. Both teams are 6-6, against common opponents, with very similar scores and margins of victories. Game time is 7 p.m. Best wishes for much success, girls!

Berlin’s Boy’s Basketball Team bested Prospect Mountain on Friday night in Berlin, 61-49, to move to 9-7 on the season with two games to go — a makeup game yesterday against Inter-Lakes and a return game in Alton on Thursday against Prospect Mountain.

Berlin had two big quarters, the first (20-10) and third (16-4) with Prospect Mountain winning periods 2 and 4. The Timberwolves made a run in the fourth quarter with a 21-15, run but to no avail. Berlin shot 75 percent from the free throw line, 45 percent from three-point land and 29 percent on other shots. Scoring was very balanced with Seth Balderrama at 19; Sinciere Davis and Lefty Jalen Lacasse with 15 each, followed by Mike Moore and Naciere Davis (5 each), Nathan Fecteau and Ashton True, 1 point apiece.

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