By Nick Curcuru
---- — When watching both the Manchester Essex boys soccer and boys basketball teams this school year one thing was evident: Liam Aldrich makes them go.
The senior captained both squads and as a midfielder and point guard, Aldrich was the one who created opportunities for points in both the fall and winter. His dynamic play on both the soccer field and the hardwood earned Aldrich the 2013 Gloucester Daily Times Male Athlete of the Year for Manchester Essex.
During the 2012-2013 school year Aldrich led both the Hornets soccer and basketball teams to a state tournament berth.
The boys soccer tournament berth came in dramatic fashion. The team needed to win each of their final four regular season games against tough competition including two teams that had previously beaten them. Aldrich played an instrumental role in Manchester Essex winning each of those final four regular season games making a big play in each one propelling his team into the postseason, where it would pick up a win in the first round over Maimonides.
Aldrich made play after play on the soccer field last fall despite receiving extra attention from his opponents. The senior captain’s blazing speed and ball skills, however, helped him make plays all over the field regardless of how many opposing defenders he drew.
”He is such a dynamic player,” Hornets head coach Rob Bilsbury said. “He’s a threat to make something happen every time he touches the ball.”
Aldrich kept it going in the winter on the basketball court. Although he was starting for the first time this winter after being stuck behind several outstanding athletes the previous two seasons, Aldrich handled himself like a seasoned veteran controlling the tempo of the Hornets offense.
He was a deadly player both as a scorer and a facilitator as his 14.6 points per game were third on Cape Ann and his 44 three pointers were second in the area. The senior captain helped the Hornets to yet another state tournament berth and a 13-7 regular season record.
If Aldrich had an open look, he’d most always make the shot and while he was a dangerous player offensively, he played a pass first game setting up his opponents with open looks by creating space for them off the dribble. In the backcourt he was also valuable given his ability to break a full court press. With the Cape Ann League featuring several teams running the full court press, Aldrich’s role was vital to the team’s success.
“He’s crucial to us,” Hornets boys basketball coach Bryan Shields said. “When other teams press, we just get the ball in his hands and we let him go and he creates. He really sets the tempo for us every game. The fact that he’s able to control the ball and he’s able to go by people and create on his own and then make shots and find looks for other guys is huge for us.”