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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Brion relishes senior year despite injury problems

Mike Brion knows a lifetime of competitive basketball will end in a few weeks. He hopes it ends with his Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute basketball team winning a conference championship and competing in the NCAA tournament for the second time in three years. But one way or another it will end for the senior guard, who was a standout football and basketball player at Bishop Guertin.

Still, when he thinks of how close he came to not having a senior season at all, Brion is grateful for every minute on the court.

Years of pounding had taken a toll on Brion’s ankles, which began bothering him in high school. Frequent sprains just made matters worse. When he began getting ready for his senior year in November his left ankle, in particular, was holding him back.

“It was just locking up,’’ Brion said. “It was just a culmination of all the sprains and all the years. I wore ankle braces in high school.’’

X-rays discovered bone spurs and loose cartilage. With his final season up in the air, Brion had arthroscopic surgery just before Thanksgiving. Miraculously, he was back on the court my January.

Brion, a team captain, is making the most of his senior year. In a 72-56 victory over St. Lawrence two weeks ago, he scored a career high 26 points, hitting 8 of 11 from 3-point range.

“It was just one of those games when everything goes in,’’ Brion said.’’

Brion, a starter during portions of his three previous seasons at RPI, is coming off the bench this year, but is third in scoring on the team (9.1 points per game) despite playing just over 17 minutes a game. His practice time has been limited as he continues to fully recover from surgery.

But all in all, he has no regrets.

“I had a choice between basketball and football coming out of high school,’’ Brion said. “I’m glad I chose basketball and glad I chose to play it at one of the best academic schools in the country. Preparing yourself for a career is what college is all about.’’

A management technology major, Brion is looking at a career in the aerospace-defense industry.

“My roommates are engineering majors with 3.9 GPA’s,’’ Brion said. “It’s amazing how their minds work. I have to work my butt off for everything. It’s been a real eye opener.’’

Ledoux finishing up

Nashua North graduate Brittney Ledoux has completed a four-year varsity volleyball career at Worcester State University.

Ledoux helped the Lancers to the semifinal round of the MASCAC tournament for four straight years and two ECAC tournament appearances.

An outside hitter, she finished with career totals of 383 kills, 256 digs, 86 aces, 38 blocks and 35 assists. She is the school’s career leader in matches played (126) and fifth on the career list in kills.

Pursuing a degree in Business Administration, Ledoux was recently honored on the Fall MASCAC All-Academic Team for earning a 3.2 grade point average or above.

Feehan scores 14

Senior Matt Feehan of Nashua had 14 points, but the Plymouth State College men’s basketball team fell to rival Keene State 93-87 on Tuesday night, despite a 32-point effort by former Pinkerton Academy standout Ryan Lambert.

Plymouth fell to 11-12 overall and 5-8 in the Little East Conference while Keene improved to 16-8 and 8-5 respectively.

Junior Ollie Hunter, a Bishop Guertin graduate, scored seven points and grabbed five rebounds for the Owls.

Middelbury fourth

Middlebury College, 21-1 and ranked fourth in the nation, hosts Connecticut College on Saturday in the opening round of the NESCAC tournament.

Senior captain Ryan Wholey, a BG graduate, is second on the team in scoring at 11.1 points per game, shooting 38 percent on 3-pointers and 50 percent overall.

Etten at WPI

Senior forward Ben Etten of Hollis continues to be a key contributor for the 20-3 men’s basketball team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Etten, who has started all 23 games, is currently second on the team in rebounds at 4.2 per game. He’s third on the team in steals (23) and fourth in assists (37) while averaging 4.7 points per game.

The Engineers host Clark in their regular-season finale on Saturday.

Hogan strong again

Red-shirt freshman point guard Kelsey Hogan of Nashua continues to be a standout for the University of New Hampshire women’s basketball team.

In a 63-55 loss on Saturday to the University of Maryland Baltimore Country, Hogan had 12 points, five rebounds, five assists and a steal.

She’s averaging 8.4 points per game and had a team best 103 assists in 25 games.

Her 3-point field goal percentage is 43 percent.

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