DURHAM — Exeter High School is the NHIAA’s co-ed Unified champion for the third straight year.

Sparked by forward Brian GraunasPhillip, who posted 12 points, eight rebounds and got his team fired up early following a flurry of blocked shots, the second-seeded Blue Hawks topped No. 1 Berlin, 46-29, at Lundholm Gymnasium in Saturday morning’s championship game.

Exeter got 10 points and a pair of 3-pointers form Aidan Almon, another 10 from Hunter Colella, and eight points from Alex Goodell. It was Exeter’s third straight win over Berlin (10-1) in the state final.

“It feels good,” said captain Alex Andersen who scored back-to-back buckets in the fourth quarter for all four of his points. “The whole team did great. We did everything we had to do.”

Exeter trailed 8-2 early when coach Bill Ball called a timeout.

The response was a 15-2 run, sparked by six points and two athletic blocks by GraunasPhillip. Alex Goodell scored back-to-back hoops in the second quarter to give Exeter a 17-10 lead. A GraunasPhillip three-point play and Goodell layup in the closing seconds made it a 22-12 Exeter lead at the half.

The Blue Hawks never looked back.

“That timeout really helped us,” said playing partner Adam Gray. “Coach Ball told us to rebound, and Brian set the tone with those two blocks.”

The Hawks kept the momentum rolling in the second half with Almon drilling a straightaway 3-pointer. The lead was 33-16 Exeter when Berlin made one last push, scoring six straight points.

But GraunasPhillip scored a bucket in the paint and Exeter’s lead was 35-22 after three quarters.

Berlin’s first points of the fourth came on Felix Frechette’s 3-pointer with 2:10 remaining. Before that shot, Exeter had pushed the lead to 20.

The crowd let out a huge roar for Andersen’s back-to-back hoops that closed out Exeter’s scoring.

“It’s special every year,” Gray said. “Third in a row definitely feels great. Berlin, they have a great team, great program, great coach. They worked very hard but we came out on top today.”

Berlin was led by Roger Belanger’s 12 points. Randy Belanger chipped in six points and four rebounds.

Garrett Frattali chipped in two points and five offensive rebounds for the Hawks, who topped No. 7 Londonderry, 60-49, in the quarterfinals and No. 6 Keene, 48-37, in the semis.



EXETER (11-0)

Colella 5-0-10, Goodell 4-0-8, Andersen 2-0-4, Almon 4-2-10, GraunasPhillip 5-2-12, Frattali 1-0-2. Totals: 21-2-46.

BERLIN (10-1)

Frechette 2-0-5, Ra. Belanger 3-0-6. Ro. Belanger 5-2-12, Johnson 2-0-4, Champaign 1-0-2. Totals 13-2-29.

Exeter 8 14 13 11—46

Berlin 10 2 10 7—29

3-Point Goals—Exeter 2 (Almon 2), Berlin 1 (Frechette).