By Michael Muldoon
---- — DERRY — If it weren’t for a persuasive and persistent middle school coach, Scott Bradley might have been known as one of the tallest snowboarders in New Hampshire.
But Hood Middle School coach Dave Brown, a former Pinkerton Academy basketball star, is persuasive and persistent. So Scott Bradley now is known as one of N.H. Division 1’s most improved big men.
Bradley, who averaged 3.8 points a game as a junior, has averaged 14.0 points a game in three games this winter. He hopes to maintain that pace when Pinkerton takes on Lawrence tomorrow night in the semifinals of the 38th annual Greater Lawrence Christmas Tournament.
“It’s a little intimidating, but I’m excited,” said Bradley. “We have hopes of being the first Pinkerton team to win it. We have the ability.”
Bradley has plenty of athletic ability. Originally, he thought he’d be limiting it to the slopes.
“I snowboarded with the 6th and 7th grade ski club,” said the 6-5 co-captain from Derry. “Then finally Coach Brown said, ‘Please try out for the team.’”
Given how quickly he was growing, relented and dedicated himself to another winter sport.
Of the snowboarding he says, “I was pretty good back in the day. I’d do the 15-footers at Pat’s Peak.”
The acrobatic moves are now part of his basketball repertoire. He’s one of the state’s top dunkers. He said he can even do a 360-dunk, which is usually reserved for the NBA dunk contests.
“He’s very explosive,” said Astros coach Pete Rosinski, whose club improved to 1-2 with the win over Greater Lawrence Tech in the first round of the Christmas Tourney.
“He can throw it down with ferocity.”
That explosiveness can be attributed to good genes. The rest of his game comes from sweat and sacrifice.
“He lays it all out,” praised Rosinski. “If there is a loose ball, he goes after it. If there is any way he can get a rebound, he’ll work for it. He runs back hard in the transition game. His work ethic exemplifies what a captain should do.”
That captain’s role is important to him.
Nobody would have said anything if he sat out the recent Alvirne game, but he would have none of it.
“I had a 101.3 degree temperature,” noted Bradley, who plans to try out for the volleyball team for the first time this spring.
“I just felt it was my responsibility to put out the effort. The easy way out is to say I’m sick. I’m a senior captain. If there is any way I can be on the court, I should be on the court. I played the whole game. It was a shaky performance, but I feel better about doing it. I didn’t even tell the team I was sick.”
Besides, this is finally his turn to be a featured performer. Last year was all about deferring to 6-4 Eagle-Tribune Super Teamer Chris Light, who led all area scorers at 18.0 points a game, and 6-5 Alex Patrikis, a second-team All-Division 1 center.
“It’s definitely been a change,” said Bradley, who hopes to play college ball at UNH or UMass as a walk-on or as a recruit at University of Toronto, Suffolk, Keene State or Plymouth State. “It’s my first year on the varsity but first year as a go-to player. I’ve been in their shadows.”
Follow Michael Muldoon on Twitter under the screen name @MullyET.