Apr. 1—ROYCE WILLIAMS is a scorer but, as the Trinity of Manchester boys basketball team concluded its regular season, he provided more than just baskets.
As was his focus all season, the senior guard from Manchester generated well-rounded production for the Pioneers over their 7-2 end to the NHIAA Division I regular season.
Williams averaged 21.4 points and 6.4 rebounds, logged 23 steals and posted his 1,000th career point over that span, earning him the February Apple Therapy Services/Bedford Ambulatory Surgical Center/Express MED Athlete of the Month award from the New Hampshire Union Leader Board of Judges.
Williams, who led Division I in scoring each of the past two seasons, had six games with at least 21 points and five double-double outings over Trinity’s final nine regular-season games. The Pioneers, who won four games the previous year, finished this past season with a 14-3 overall record and reached the Division I semifinals.
“I think the key word we use, especially in February, was he was efficient,” Trinity coach Keith Bike said of Williams. “He did more than just score those games. He’d have six steals, 10 rebounds. … He just played a more complete game.”
Williams said he wanted to add more to his repertoire over his senior campaign to better prepare himself for playing after high school. The Division I Player of the Year is currently looking into post-graduate possibilities.
“The biggest thing was coach would tell me to do whatever I can to win games, work your hardest and let the game come to you, which I felt like I was doing,” Williams said.
Williams opened February with a month-high 34 points in Trinity’s 55-45 home win over his former team, Manchester Central, which was also the Pioneers’ first regular-season game against a Queen City rival. Williams transferred to Trinity from Central after his sophomore year.
“Anytime Trinity plays Central, before I even got to high school I remember going to games and how intense it was,” Williams said. “Anytime we play a city team, it’s always a big impact game. A lot of emotion and intensity comes out. It’s all about proving who is the best in the city of Manchester.”
Williams reached the 1,000-point milestone in the third quarter of the Pioneers’ 59-36 home triumph over another city rival, Manchester Memorial, on Feb. 22. He posted 21 points, 12 rebounds and six steals, marking his fourth straight double-double performance of the month.
Although he said he played it off like it was not a big deal in the moment, the achievement was one Williams set for himself as a little kid. When he learned he was 50 points away from reaching 1,000 earlier in the season, Williams started tracking his stats from each game.
“I always wanted to be a 1,000-point scorer, have my name on a plaque and basketball,” Williams said. “It felt awesome to get the recognition from my teammates. It felt good — an accomplishment I wanted to do with friends and family.”
Williams, who his friends jokingly called Mr. 1,000 Points after the Memorial game, also spent the season working to help Trinity’s younger players like freshmen Devohn Ellis, Mark Nyomeh and Bike’s son, Tyler, develop. Williams said he hopes they can build on the Pioneers’ turnaround season this year.
“I think the biggest thing with Royce and our program is that they decided winning was more important than individual accolades,” Bike said. “Him and the four other seniors leaving left on a high note. They established a reputation to say, ‘Let’s try to put Trinity back on the map.'”
Other athletes considered for the February honor were Bedford High School girls basketball player Isabella King, University of New Hampshire women’s basketball player Amanda Torres, Goffstown High School boys hockey player Grady Chretien, University of Notre Dame men’s hockey player Alex Steeves, Plymouth Regional High School wrestler Cole Johnston and Hanover High School skier Teddy Ruth.
King, a senior guard, averaged 18.7 points and 5.7 rebounds per game, shot 55.8% from the field and recorded her 1,000th career point over Bedford’s seven February regular-season games. Torres, a senior guard from Hudson, averaged 12.4 points, 2.6 rebounds, two steals and 1.8 assists over UNH’s 1-5 end to the season, including its 49-43 loss to Albany in the America East Conference quarterfinals.
Chretien, a senior forward, logged 27 points (19 goals, eight assists), factoring in 27 of Goffstown’s 35 goals in its 5-1 end to the regular season. Steeves, a junior forward and Bedford resident, recorded 13 points on five goals and eight assists in a 4-3-1 February campaign for Notre Dame.
Johnston, a senior captain, earned a first-period pin in Plymouth’s 45-15 NHIAA Division III semifinal win over Mascoma Valley of Canaan at 182 pounds and another pin at 195 pounds in the Bobcats’ 48-24 triumph over Bow in the D-III championship meet.
Ruth repeated as the NHIAA ski jumping champion shortly after placing 13th in the giant slalom to help Hanover win the boys NHIAA Division II Alpine Championship on Feb. 11.
Previous 2021 winner: January, Diana Pivirotto, East Kingston (hockey).
To submit a nomination for future Athlete of the Month consideration, email the Union Leader Sports Department at [email protected] and enter “Athlete of the Month” in the subject line.
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