After playing a vital role as a sophomore on Londonderry High School’s undefeated and historic, Division I title-winning 2014-15 boys’ basketball team, Jake Coleman stepped into his junior campaign this past December aiming to helm another championship hoop team.
But with a number of the other standouts from that immensely exciting title-winning crew having graduated – including electrifying guard Cody Ball, who is now playing close by at Saint Anselm College – the lanky Coleman and his coach Nate Stanton knew that winning the 2015-16 crown would be difficult, at least.
As fortune would have it, this year’s Lancer team didn’t make it any further than the first round of the D-I tournament. But once again, Coleman was a stalwart for the Londonderry side, and as a result of his strong campaign the smooth and highly-skilled shooting guard was recently named a Division I First Team All-State selection by the New Hampshire Basketball Coaches Association.
“It means a lot to me to be recognized as a top player in the NHIAA, but I’m definitely not satisfied and I know I need to put in a lot of work in the off-season,” he said.
Coleman – who also saw significant playing time as a freshman while enjoying time as a teammate of his elder brother Max – was most often the pace-setter for the LHS offense this winter.
If the smooth-shooting guard was on, so were the Lancers. And if he struggled somewhat on offense, so did the team.
The at times odd and frustrating 2015-16 season came to a close for the defending Division One champions with a 58-47 opening-round tournament loss to the Winnacunnet High Warriors in Hampton back on March 9.
Stanton’s 10th-seeded LHS Lancers had to work hard to overcome an awful first quarter, and they did so to get within a bucket of the seventh-ranked Warriors’ lead in the third period. But the hosts then reeled off a big run to rebuild their advantage and drive to victory.
Londonderry had bagged a slim win over that seacoast opponent at LHS during the middle of a nightmarish, 1-6 skid that occurred between Jan. 22 and Feb. 6. So Stanton and his Lancers knew that they could best the Warriors.
The locals had finished their regular season with a solid 10-8 record, winning six of their last seven games.
Londonderry received bad news in the days before the first-round contest on the seacoast when versatile junior guard Cam MacDonald was diagnosed with mononucleosis and lost to the locals.
As things turned out, Jake Coleman and his 2015-16 teammates fell steps short of the second straight state title they sought. But after only losing senior point-guard Nate Gaw to graduation this winter and boasting a crew which will once again be helmed by Coleman – who is now a full-fledged D-I First Team All-Stater – the 2016-17 campaign could be a fun and productive one.
CAPTION: Londonderry High School star junior guard Jake Coleman hit the heights individually recently, garnering Division I First Team All-State Honors. Photo by Chris Paul