Region’s best basketball players team up at Granite State Games

  • Local basketball players compete in the Granite State Games, held in Manchester and Nashua June 17-21. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Local basketball players compete in the Granite State Games, held in Manchester and Nashua June 17-21. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Local basketball players compete in the Granite State Games, held in Manchester and Nashua June 17-21. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Local basketball players compete in the Granite State Games, held in Manchester and Nashua June 17-21. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Local basketball players compete in the Granite State Games, held in Manchester and Nashua June 17-21. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Local basketball players compete in the Granite State Games, held in Manchester and Nashua June 17-21. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Local basketball players compete in the Granite State Games, held in Manchester and Nashua June 17-21. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Local basketball players compete in the Granite State Games, held in Manchester and Nashua June 17-21. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Local basketball players compete in the Granite State Games, held in Manchester and Nashua June 17-21. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Local basketball players compete in the Granite State Games, held in Manchester and Nashua June 17-21. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Local basketball players compete in the Granite State Games, held in Manchester and Nashua June 17-21. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Local basketball players compete in the Granite State Games, held in Manchester and Nashua June 17-21. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Local basketball players compete in the Granite State Games, held in Manchester and Nashua June 17-21. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Local basketball players compete in the Granite State Games, held in Manchester and Nashua June 17-21. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Local basketball players compete in the Granite State Games, held in Manchester and Nashua June 17-21. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Local basketball players compete in the Granite State Games, held in Manchester and Nashua June 17-21. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 6/19/2019 11:02:29 AM

Local basketball stars are teaming up to take on the best in the state at this week’s Granite State Games, held June 17-21 in Nashua and Manchester. 

Unlikely friendships form as on-court rivals become teammates in the annual tournament which pits all-star players from different regions of New Hampshire against other geographically grouped squads. 

“It’s fun,” said rising Conant junior and Division III All-State first-teamer Elizabeth Gonyea. “You get to play with your competitors.”

Gonyea is on the Monadnock region team alongside Monadnock High School star guard Gwen Simpson; the two have battled a half-dozen times in the past two high school seasons and gone to the ground to fight for their share of 50-50 balls, but this week, they’re on the same page. 

“Playing against each other, obviously we’re rivals, but on the same team, it’s fun, and off the court, we’re friends,” Gonyea said. 

Tuesday’s girls’ basketball matchup at Nashua’s Westwood YMCA featured that Monadnock team against a Coastal region team coached by Mascenic’s Sean Young. The regional boundaries are a bit loose, and after finding little interest from players on the seacoast, Young enlisted some of his current and future Vikings along with ConVal head coach Kevin Proctor and a few of his players.

Young’s squad might not live up to the Coastal moniker, but they sure are young; ConVal rising juniors Emily and Julia Donovan were the oldest players on the court for most of the game, and middle-schoolers Makenna Proctor and Jada Stevens of ConVal and Skye Lambert and Hannah Zina of Mascenic went right at the older, taller Monadnock squad, anchored by Gonyea, Simpson and back-to-back DII Player of the Year Rebecca Wright of Lebanon. 

“What I loved about what they did was they didn’t back down,” Young said. “They were nervous for about the first two minutes, they were trying to make cross-court passes which in junior high would have gotten there. But by the end of the game we weren’t making those same mistakes. And what I loved was that they got after it defensively.”

Neither Mascenic nor ConVal have had a surplus of year-round basketball players in recent years, but this summer’s interest bodes well for years to come. 

“For both Mascenic and ConVal, it’s pretty awesome to have some girls invested in this,” Proctor said. “[Monadnock] is the best of the best out of those schools...This is the greatest opportunity for them to play against really good competition, to see what it’s like out there, especially for Jada and Makenna, coming to high school, it’s like trial by fire. You’re getting some girls now that are playing basketball year-round, at least keeping the ball in their hands, that’s going to pay forward in the future.”

The stacked Monadnock team looks to be the team to beat this week, and they showed it Tuesday, beating Coastal 64-25 behind 17 from Simpson, 11 from Wright and 10 from Gonyea. Makenna Proctor led with 11 points in the losing effort, as Coastal played hard and got priceless experience in the process.

“I feel like it definitely helps me, because they’re better, and we have to play up,” said Mascenic rising sophomore Annika Martel. “I’m just getting more playing time in the summer, so when winter comes around, I’ll be ready.”

Games continue at the YMCA Thursday and Friday before the championship round at SNHU Saturday. 

Mascenic’s Sam Stauffeneker, Southern Maine Community College-bound Conant grad Jake Drew, and Tate Niemela of Jaffrey are on the Monadnock boys’ team, which beat Coastal 69-58 on Tuesday. 


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