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Roger Brown's The State of Sports: It was a day the Dodds brothers won't forget

New Hampshire Union Leader

March 11. 2018 9:46PM

Hanover's boys coach, Dick Dodds, left, poses with his brother John Dodds, the girls coach, after they both won a title in the NHIAA hockey championships held at SNHU Arena in Manchester on Saturday. (THOMAS ROY/UNION LEADER)

Hanover High School hockey has experienced more than its share of good days over the years. The Hanover girls have won 10 state championships, and the Hanover boys have won nine.

The best day in the history of Hanover High School hockey? That came Saturday, when each program won a state title at SNHU Arena. The Hanover boys beat Bedford — a team it lost to twice earlier in the season — and the Hanover girls knocked off Exeter to claim its 10th title in the 11 years the NHIAA has sponsored a girls’ hockey tournament.

The hockey gods seemed to intervene on Hanover’s behalf this year. After the boys semifinals in each division were postponed because of last week’s storm, the NHIAA rearranged Saturday’s schedule. Instead of playing in Saturday’s fourth game — as was originally scheduled — the Hanover boys played in Saturday second contest, which came right after the girls’ championship game. Stacking the games one after another undoubtedly allowed more Hanover fans to witness some history.

It was the first time Hanover girls’ coach John Dodds and his younger brother, Dick, each guided their team to an NHIAA state championship on the same day. Both programs reached the championship game in 2011, but the Hanover boys finished as the Division I runner-up that year after the girls won the championship by beating Oyster River.

The teams both won titles in 2006, but the NHIAA didn’t sponsor a girls tournament back then. Although the girls played in a makeshift tournament, the boys and girls championship game were held at different venues.

“It’s really special,” John Dodds said minutes after the Hanover boys beat Bedford. “We’re both really proud of the tradition of Hanover hockey on both sides. If they got knocked out, he’d be down here cheering for me. Didn’t matter. I’d be doing the same for him if we had lost.

“I’m awful proud of the boys program and what he’s done with it. Good friends and proud of the coaches. I think he just represents the program, the town really, really well.”

The Dodds brothers each skated as a forward for Hanover High, but never on the same team.

When John was a senior, Dick was a freshman who held his brother in high regard.

“I idolized him from Day 1,” Dick explained in the locker room following his team’s victory over Bedford. “Still do. We share stuff, bounce stuff off one another. I’ve watched what he does with his team. The team is constantly improving. The individual skills and the team skills are incredible. I watch that. I see that.”

John Dodds: “We certainly get a lot of feedback from each other. I see him at the rink almost every day, because he works there, so we know what’s going on with each team, and players. When it comes to the technical stuff, he’s the one who knows more than I do.

“There was always enough of a gap so that we couldn’t be on the same team, but in the days that I grew up we didn’t have all that extra stuff going on and we’d be playing street hockey (together). Even in the middle of summer we’d be playing street hockey.”

Dick Dodds said when he heard the boys’ and girls’ teams would be playing in back-to-back championship games, he fought the urge to envision two Hanover victories.

“I tried not to,” he said. “I didn’t want to be disappointed with anything that happened. Obviously we knew we would both be there, then all of a sudden we were back to back.

“I’ve been doing this a lot of years (36) and I can’t remember an event like this. To be able to share it (with the girls’ program) is really special. Definitely going to go down in my record book as a terrific event for the family.”

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THE top-seeded Portsmouth High School boys’ basketball team won’t be lacking motivation when it faces fifth-seeded Manchester Central in Wednesday’s Division I semifinals at the University of New Hampshire. Not only will a berth in the championship game be at stake, Portsmouth (18-2) will also be looking to avenge a 63-46 season-opening loss to Central (15-5) that ended the Clippers’ 43-game winning streak.

The second half was the difference in the first meeting. Portsmouth led 30-24 at halftime, but a 10-0 run in the third quarter helped Central carry a 43-41 advantage into the final eight minutes. Central, the tournament’s fifth seed, finished the game on an 18-2 run, and scored the game’s final 10 points.

Central’s Kyler Bosse led all scorers with 22 points that night. Alex Tavares led Portsmouth with 15.

Portsmouth’s other loss this season came at Bedford, 58-44. The Portsmouth/Central winner will face either second-seeded Exeter (16-4) or 11th-seeded Dover (10-10) in Saturday’s championship game.

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GARRETT MACOMBER, who helped the Plymouth Regional football team win the Division II championship in 2016 and 2017, will continue his football career at Endicott College, a Division III school in Beverly, Mass.

Macomber made his decision last week, after flirting with UNH and St. Anselm College. Macomber, who played running back, defensive end and linebacker in high school, said he expects to be used as a running back at Endicott.

“It came down to, number one, the coach; number two, the academics; and then the location, the campus … things like that,” Macomber said. “It was the most stressful process of my high school life. That includes athletics, tests, SATs … everything.”

Macomber was named the New Hampshire Gatorade Player of the Year following his junior season at Plymouth.

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MANCHESTER’S WENYEN GABRIEL was named to the all-tournament team after he helped Kentucky defeat Tennessee 77-72 in Sunday’s SEC championship game. Gabriel, who played at Trinity High School, had 12 points, six rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots in 28 minutes.

Gabriel scored 23 points in an 86-63 victory over Alabama in the semifinals, and had six points and six rebounds against Georgia in the quarterfinals.

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