Memorial Basketball has come a long way in the matter of just two years. Following a Final Four loss against Merrimack two seasons ago, Jake Carrier and the 2016-17 Crusaders struggled adjusting to life after Brandon Scott and Nick Philibert. Last year’s team had a mediocre regular season, limped to the finish line, and eventually took the knockout blow in the opening round of the playoffs at Nashua North.
Despite the rollercoaster that this program has been on recently, the 2017-18 Crusaders might be more talented and versatile than that Final Four team. Even though Quirk won’t be on the bench this season, Coach Bryson and his squad will still look to play the fast-paced basketball that his predecessor always preached. This team will prove to be superior due to the amount of seniors on the roster, and the versatility of every player. Players like Tyson Thomas, Jake Santiago, Michael Roumraj, Manny Alisandro, and Elvin Barbosa, all skilled players offensively, in addition to their ability to guard multiple positions on the other end of the floor. This will be much more than a “3 and D” team though. Alec Ross, Ian Maniscalchi, and Dino Adumene will give this team the ability to score in the paint, and defend the rim.
Last year’s early exit left a sour taste in the mouth of the team, but the Crusaders are back and better than ever according to Senior guard, Tyson Thomas. “There’s a big difference between this year and past years. Quirk was a good coach, but Coach Bryson has been a great leader thus far. This group of guys have been playing together for a very long time and we all share a common goal, which is to win a championship at UNH. This team is willing to sacrifice personal goals for the sake of the team, and that’s what makes this group special. We don’t let our egos get in the way, and we don’t let any of the noise effect what happens on the court. I love these guys and would do anything for them. It’s going to be a great season, and hopefully it ends in Durham.”
Just a few games into the season, Coach Bryson already has his team running circles around the competition. Riding the momentum of their 13-point win at Salem, his team made their presence known at the annual Queen City Invitational Basketball Tournament (QCIBT). The ‘Sades came out dominant, with an authoritative win over Manchester Central in the opening round, and eventually took down Exeter High for the QCIBT Championship.
If the beginning part of this season is any indication, The Crusaders look like they’ve got a one-way ticket to Durham and not many teams in their path. Experience is the key for this band of brothers, and will give them the upper-hand over anybody this season.