Hollis Brookline basketball’s upset win was predictable

As far as upsets go, Wednesday night’s Hollis Brookline stunner at Pelham, No. 4 being sunk at home by No. 13, busts into the “legit” category.

You might want to throw the “predictable” tag on the 46-45 Cavaliers’ classic, too,

First off, let’s set the record straight. This is no slight of the host Pythons. Coach Mike Larsen is one of the best in the Division II ranks. His kids play hard, aggressive and nasty. The good nasty, not the bad.

But there is something to be said for leadership and experience in high school athletics.

And Hollis Brookline, which heads to No. 5 Merrimack Valley for a 1 p.m. quarterfinals date Saturday, oozes both.

Remember, this is a boys basketball program that rolled to the Division II state title last year.

Gone are several key pieces from that bunch: Matt Simco, Scott VanCoughnett and Matt Dowling to be specific.

But one huge cog remains in Grant Snyder, and this is a kid who paid attention last winter and learned his lessons well.

“I learned about leadership from those guys. Scott (VanCoughnett), Matt Dowling, Matt Simco,” said Snyder, who had eight points in the shocker of the Pythons. “Those guys, day in day out, came to practice ready to work and it showed on the court. I’ve kind of taken on that role.”

This winter has been all about learning for the Cavaliers, who were trying to reload on the fly.

At times HB struggled, and the 2-5 stretch to finish the regular season was none too encouraging.

But Snyder, and a guy like Wednesday night’s hero Dhruv Miglani? They saw and were part of things in 2018. They know what it takes to deliver in the postseason.

“We had a lot of good players last year, a lot of seniors,” said Snyder. “This year we have a lot of young guys, but we’re starting to mold together. We’re getting better.”

Finally, and this point will certainly be underplayed by most. There is the presence of junior twin football stars Quinten and Sander Wimmer.

Each has seen big minutes along the way. They are natural, blue-collar types, who deliver that toughness which can be so huge

As Cavs’ grid coach Chris Lones noted about 10 days ago, “They go right from where they learned the game in their driveway to varsity basketball. And they’re only going to get better.”

Right now, though, they are glue guys. And at least for now, the Cavaliers’ formula for success is one to pay attention to, or maybe even fear.

ONE FINAL MAT NOTE

I know this one’s a little dusty, as far as notes go, but you have to give it up for the folks at Nashua South again for the job they do hosting the NHIAA Wrestling Meet of Champions.

Such a professional production, huge for the kids and the experience. And did you get a chance to see the size of that crowd?

Big props to all involved, from the NHIAA to AD Lisa Gingras to every kid who volunteered and pitched in.

By the way, it is worth noting that the region was shut out of placings at the recent New England Championship meet in Providence.

You have to figure the local contingent will be looking to make amends in 2020.

Contact Hector Longo at 603-594-1253 or hlongo@nashuatelegraph.com.