Category Archives: Colby-Sawyer

Scots Play Great and Win Third Straight

Seniors Austin Bentson (9 points) and Greg Walker (23 points) enjoy the end of Gordon's win over Colby-Sawyer.

Garrett Harden - red hot with a career-best sixteen points against Colby-Sawyer

(Wenham) Gordon put on quite the show against a quality Colby-Sawyer team and defeated the visitors, 70-58, on Tuesday night at the Bennett Center.

The Scots (9-12/ 5-5) took the lead for good (Greg Walker layup on a feed from David Dempsey) eleven minutes into the first half (22-21) and rode great passing (18 assists) and shooting (53.3%) to the end.

The Chargers (10-11/ 6-4) got as close as one point (42-41 at 12:14 in the second half) but Shaun Roach followed with a three and, after a C-S turnover, David Dempsey added a layup to give Gordon some breathing room.

Colby-Sawyer was still near enough to worry some of us later when a John Roberts tip-in narrowed the Scot lead to 58-52 with 5:10 left.  Gordon had won the last two games in the last minute so you could feel this one heading in that direction. 

Not tonight.  Over the next three minutes Gordon ran nine straight (Greg – two layups, Austin Bentson – a three, and JT Himmelstein – a layup) while C-S missed seven straight shots and added two turnovers.

Two minutes left and a 67-52 lead was certainly a lot different than the last two games.

The Gordon shooting was remarkable.  Early on the Scots were taking and making difficult shots.  Greg hit a couple of jumpers that were close to 3-point shots. 

Colby-Sawyer was intent on stopping Gordon’s inside game and they did a nice job on David Dempsey (8 points) by swarming him in close.  David contributed in other ways with eleven rebounds and four assists.

That heavy Charger defense in close opened some nice looks elsewhere and on this day the Scots took full advantage.  They tied a season high with nine makes long-range.  Garrett Harden led the way out there with five-for-seven shooting and a career high 16 points. 

JT Himmelstein (inbounding) - handed out nine assists

JT Himmelstein had a career assist game with nine of them.  Those assists can pile up quickly when the point guard can find the scorers without turning the ball over.  In this game, a pass to either Greg or Garrett had assist potential written all over it.

John Roberts (12) and Robbie Burke (10) led the Charger scorers.  Will Bardaglio (8 points) came in as the 3rd scorer in the Commonwealth Coast Conference with 16+ per game.  I thought that his long-range touch would hurt the Scots during their occasional use of zone defenses but it never happened.  From where I was sitting, the Chargers missed a lot of makeable shots. 

Colby-Sawyer has now lost four straight while Gordon has won three straight. 

The Scots travel to Medford to play nonleague Tufts at 7PM on Thursday. 

Garrett (#12) defends Will Bardaglio (8 points) while JT (#1) covers James Tobin (5 points).

The CCC picture currently has Gordon in 9th.  The top eight get into tournament play after the season.  The Scots need to take care of the three league opponents ahead (Western New England, UNE, and Salve Regina) and hope that one of the current top eight falls past them. 

Saturday’s 3PM game with Western New England is the last home game of the season.  It is also Senior Day.  No they won’t be honoring my wife and I!  It will be Greg and Austin standing there with their parents wondering where the four years have gone.

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Filed under 2010-11 Gordon College men's basketball, Colby-Sawyer

Seniors Graduate on May 15th

Aaron, Mike, Tim, Ben, Brady, Justin, and Ben do some post-graduation posing.

(Wenham)  I was there and I can confirm it – they graduated! 

Aaron Trigg waits to march to graduation.

I was at Gordon on sunny/breezy Saturday morning (May 15th) and watched Jeff Derr, Aaron Trigg, Brady Bajema, Tim MacDonnell, and Ben Gaskill end their four years among us.

Last time I saw the five of them together was in March in Middlebury (VT) when the home team took out our Scots in the NCAA D3 tourney.  Who knew that Middlebury’s Andrew Locke would block thirteen shots and send Gordon to a first-round exit?

It was good to see all the players’ families together for one last time.  You always imagine that there are games ahead that they will attend but it seldom, if ever, works out. 

There was talk of everyone getting back together when the CCC tournament banner is put on display in the Bennett Center during the 2010-11 season.  That would be special.

I was very impressed with commencement speaker Jim Cymbala.  It wasn’t just the brevity of his remarks but the topic – the importance of prayer.  There was something there for all of us!

Coach Tod Murphy waves to seniors.

One comment that previous Gordon coach Mike Schauer used to make to me when I mentioned a talented player on an opposing team: “The important thing,” he would say, “was to make sure he graduates.”  And here is Tod Murphy at graduation, probably hoping that Aaron, Brady, Tim, Jeff, and Ben weren’t graduating!

Anyone on board knows that there are big changes ahead.  For starters, look at the team picture on Championship Saturday and delete the front row.  However, one of the trademarks of your Scots over the past eight seasons has been to graduate players yet still be able to qualify for the CCC tournament (top eight) every season.  Let’s be optimistic here! 

The other significant change, other than the roster, is the future of the CCC.  My understanding is that in two seasons Gordon and eight other schools (UNE, Endicott, Salve Regina, Roger Williams, Nichols, Curry, Western New England, and Wentworth) will form a new conference.  That will leave Regis, New England, Colby-Sawyer, Anna Maria, and ENC out in the cold for reasons I choose not to guess at.  It will be interesting to see how this all works out.

Anyhow, God bless Aaron, Brady, Tim, Jeff, and Ben.  And God bless your families as well.

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Filed under CCC Tournament, Colby-Sawyer, Curry, ENC, Endicott, Gordon College men's basketball 2009-10, Mike Schauer, New England College, Nichols, Regis, Roger Williams, Salve Regina, Tod Murphy, Wentworth, Western New England

Finally the Finals

(In James 4, it talks about making assumptions about tomorrow – “Why you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”  I got home to Newburyport after the game with writing plans.  Twenty-two hours later the electricity has been restored, for which I am grateful.)

Aaron Trigg (27 points) hits a free throw late in front of a large Scot crowd

(Wenham)  What a game!  The efficiency of the Scots on both ends of the court, combined with the sixth-man level crowd made this a memorable evening.

It also got Gordon (23-4) past the semifinal CCC tourney hump that had eluded them during the past four seasons.

Gordon reached the unfamiliar finals of the Commonwealth Coast Conference tournament with their, 77-58, win over Colby-Sawyer (15-12) at the Bennett Center on Thursday night.

This was the eighth straight CCC postseason for the Scots but just the first time getting to The Big Game on Saturday night. 

Last season Colby-Sawyer ended Gordon’s season in the semifinals up at New London, but not this time.

The Scots took an 11-9 lead, 4 ½ minutes into the game on Aaron Trigg’s 3-pointer and never trailed the rest of the way.

Greg Walker (20 points) hit jumpers, jump hooks, and layups

The Gordon offense was consistently good (51% field goal percentage) from just about everywhere.  Aaron Trigg (27 points), Greg Walker (20 points) and Brady Bajema (16 points) led all scorers and gave the normally tight Charger defense fits all game.

Aaron had the long-ball going (5-for-7), made ten free throws and handed out five assists.

Greg picked up his defense on Jason Chevrefils (he had 19 points in the earlier CS win) and hit short jumpers to avoid the double-teams he faced when getting the ball closer to the basket.

Brady took the ball to the basket more than he has all season, made seven free throws and dished out seven assists.

Gordon’s defense was excellent as well. The CCC’s co-defensive player-of-the-year (Ben Gaskill) combined with Tim MacDonnell to stymie Jon Chaloux – top scorer in the CCC with 18PPG.  The last-game Charger suffered through a four-point game going 0-for-8 from the floor.  Ben also had ten rebounds.

Similar to the Endicott experience on Tuesday night, there was no history to suggest that Colby-Sawyer didn’t have the coaching, players, and big-game experience to give the Scots a bad night.  They had beaten Gordon three straight, including a 90-64 rout last February at the Bennett Center.

The Chargers were as close as 32-29 in the first half and the Scots lead at halftime was a very uncomfortable, 36-31.

The Scots came out in the second half unaware, apparently, about what was supposed to happen and built the lead to 43-32 in the first three minutes.  Twice Gordon broke down CS’s interior defense with Greg Walker as the finisher.

The lead was still double digits (51-41) with 13 ½ minutes left before Corey Willis nailed an NBA range trey to instantly cut the margin to seven.  The worrywarts from the Endicott game now resurfaced at the Bennett Center.

But Aaron answered with a 3 of his own and started Gordon on a 13-2 point spree over seven minutes that made things 64-46 with 6 ½ minutes to go.  Aaron had a couple of threes, Greg had a couple of layups, and Brady had three free throws.

Things got a bit dicey over the next two minutes as CS ran six straight but the Chargers would get no closer than twelve the rest of the way.  Brady and Aaron combined for 9-of-10 free throws in the end game. 

The Gordon crowd has been spectacular in both games.  They chose to give Charger freshman Corey Willis special chanting attention and he ended up shooting just 3-for-12.

Jon Chaloux - Held below 18PPG average by Ben Gaskill and Tim MacDonnell

The only negative I heard from The Pit was their late-game chanting of “over-rated” in senior Jon Chaloux’s direction after he fouled out of his last game.  Earlier that chant made sense but not when an excellent player has just ended his career.

In the same vein, it was classy of Aaron to step away from the foul line late in the game and applaud CS senior captain Dave Rosso when he exited for the final time.

The Curry Colonels (15-12) will be the Big Game opponent Saturday night.  They have been in the Big Game three of the last four years winning two years ago. 

Gordon defeated Curry, 74-68, in Wenham on January 23rd.  In that one, the Scots had 26 turnovers (all-time high?) but nailed eleven 3’s.  Curry features two CCC first-teamers – Jarrell Jackson and Mark Mastrullo. 

box score

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Filed under CCC Tournament, Colby-Sawyer, Curry, Gordon College men's basketball 2009-10

Gordon Routs Endicott to Win CCC Tourney Opener


Tim MacDonnell launches a free throw during the closing minutes of Gordon's defeat of Endicott.

(Wenham) Gordon (22-4) cruised past Endicott (12-13) in surprisingly easy fashion, 73-52, before a huge home crowd to win the opening round of the Commonwealth Coast Conference tournament on Tuesday evening.

The win puts the Scots into the Final Four for the 4th straight season.  Thursday night the opponent will be Colby-Sawyer which did a number on Nichols (82-65) tonight at home. 

Thursday’s game is at the Bennett Center (7PM) and hopefully the same supportive crowd will be on hand again.  For this game, I saw sections of stands opened up that I didn’t know existed and there were students filling them!

Gordon/Endicott games in recent years are always close.  In two meetings, the teams split the results.  Endicott broke a tie in the last minute in December to win at the Bennett Center.  In late January, Gordon broke a tie in the last two minutes to win.

That’s why this one was so surprising.  Gordon took the lead midway through the first half (13-12) on a JT Himmelstein trey and never trailed thereafter.

A 9-2 run over the final three minutes of the half put the Scots in front, 33-21, at halftime.  Gordon’s last three points came from a how-many-times-have-we-seen-this corner shot by Aaron Trigg on a pass from Brady Bajema.

Again, those familiar with the rivalry expected some sort of Gull response in the second half but after Mike Rhodes’ layup cut the halftime lead to 38-27 the Scots rattled off seven straight.  Now the Gulls were in serious trouble, 45-27, …………. but fifteen minutes were left. 

However, even the worrywarts in the crowd began to relax several minutes later after Gordon exploded for thirteen straight to put this one away, 65-36, with 4:40 remaining.  Jeff Derr started this run with a crowd-pleasing breakaway jam.  Brady also came up big in this stretch with a trey, two assists, and two foul shots. 

The Gordon defense was extraordinary from beginning to end.  Brady shut down Graham Whitelaw (12.5 points per game) completely.  For that matter, Endicott didn’t have anyone score in double figures. 

Aaron Trigg - CCC MVP gets 16 vs Endicott

Brady Bajema - CCC first teamer gets 14 against Endicott

The CCC released information today that most of us already knew – Aaron (Player-of-the-Year) and Brady (1st team All-League) are terrific players. 

Aaron led all scorers with 16 points and in the process moved past Steve Heintz into 4th place on the all-time Gordon scorers’ list with 1546 points. 

Brady had five assists to go with 14 points.  The CCC’s best free throw shooter connected on 11-of-12 attempts. I already mentioned the defensive job he did on senior Graham Whitelaw.

Endicott limited Gordon’s 3-point looks but the Scots found openings in closer to the basket as a result. 

Endicott used full-court pressure but Gordon reacted well to it especially in the second half.  During that half the Scots had six turnovers but two of the them came in the last 1 ½ minutes when reserves from both squads filled the court. 

The Gulls were not helped by the fact that freshman starter Lance Greene was unavailable because of a foot injury.

Andrew LeClair, one of Colby-Sawyer’s all-time greats, now an assistant coach, was in the house taking notes.

Gordon is back in the Final Four for the fifth straight season.  Twice in the past four seasons, it has been Colby-Sawyer ending Gordon’s season.  The Chargers were the last team to defeat the Scots this season (74-63 at New London on February 9th).  I know, what’s the good news?  Gordon is playing at home and coming off a wonderful win over rival Endicott.

The Endicott turnout must have been impacted by the fact that the Gull women were playing at the same time at Endicott.  Some of the Gull fans on hand probably wished in the second half, as the Endicott deficit mounted, that they had stayed home too.

 box score

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Filed under CCC Tournament, Colby-Sawyer, Endicott, Gordon College men's basketball 2009-10

Scots Return to Winning Ways Versus Nonleague Bates

Aaron Trigg (25 points) and Brady Bajema (24 points-8 assists) lead Scots past Bates

(Lewiston ME)  Gordon 78 Bates 64

Trust me, that final score is very misleading.  It took two streaks, one (thirteen points) to get the lead, and another (ten points) to put the game out of reach on Thursday night at Lewiston.

Gordon (18-4/9-1) trailed 58-55 with 7 ½ minutes to go.  Having played Tuesday night (loss at Colby-Sawyer), you weren’t confident about their chances on the road in the end game versus a quality Bates (12-11) team on its own court.

However, the Scots played about as well as I’ve seen them play, during the next three minutes, collecting thirteen points over the next six possessions and shutting out the Bobcats.

Austin Bentson had a couple of big plays.  On one end, he somehow put a shot in after stumbling into the lane, and then followed that with a steal down the other end that sent Aaron Trigg off for a fastbreak layin. 

When the wonderful three minutes ended, Gordon had an unlikely 68-58 lead with 4 ½ to go.  Bates came out of a timeout and scored points on three straight possessions while the Scots turned the ball over twice in succession.  So now, we’ve got a 68-64 game with 2:50 left.  Plenty of time for good or bad things to happen.

Only the ultimate Gordon optimist would have predicted, however, what actually happened the rest of the way – Bates never scored again and the Scots collected the last ten points of the game.  Pretty amazing on both counts.

Ben Gaskill - An assist, rebound, layup, and free throw in closing minutes

Ben Gaskill, minus the beard, came up big at the end.  He started with an assist on a Brady Bajema three.  The next time Gordon had the ball they were clearly (with a seven point lead) into a hold-onto-the-ball mode.  You’re thinking that Aaron or Brady will get the shot as the 35-second clock runs out.  However, Ben ends up with the ball with everyone yelling for him to shoot.  He takes an off-balanced jump shot as the shot-clock buzzer sounds.  The defense seemed to freeze, hearing the buzzer, just for an instant.  Ben follows his shot, gets his own rebound, and puts in the layup and is fouled.  He makes the free throw and with 1:16 left, the ten-point lead (74-64) was a mountain Bates wasn’t going to climb in such a short time.

The stat sheet revealed plenty of goodies.  Brady reached a season-high in assists with eight.  The free throw shooting (13-for-14) was also a season high.  Greg Walker’s three blocks were a season high.

Aaron’s 25 points put him into a tie with Jon Marstaller (parents and sister were on hand at Bates) for 5th place on the all-time scoring list. 

Aaron and Brady were deadly shooting from anywhere.  How about a combined 11-for-11 from the foul line!

Brian Ellis (24 points) had the Bates offense run through him for much of the evening.  He was 10-for-15 and seemed like a bad matchup for the Scots no matter what sized Gordon player attempted to guard the 6’5” junior.

Ahead for Gordon is a trip to Springfield on Saturday to face Western New England (12-10/7-3).  As nice as it was to beat Bates, the matchup was nonleague.  The results of the last three games of the season (WNEC/UNE/Salve Regina) affect seeding in the Commonwealth Coast Conference tournament.  I’d like to see three games played during tourney week at the Bennett Center.

When I looked earlier at the trio of road games, two of which we just played, I imagined weather issues being a factor.  Dry roads to New Hampshire, and now Maine, in February!  God is good!

The heating system in the Alumni Gym did not disappoint.  You just have to be prepared for it.  Every Bates student I saw in attendance was wearing a short-sleeved shirt.  The gym is 84 years old and has always given off a warm welcome, I’m told.

Box Score

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Filed under Bates, CCC Tournament, Colby-Sawyer, Gordon College men's basketball 2009-10, Western New England

Gordon’s Thirteen Game Winning Streak Ends vs Colby-Sawyer

Dave Rosso - Hits four 3's for Colby-Sawyer

Jason Chevrefils - 19 points/2 steals

(New London NH) Let’s face it – we Gordon faithful were getting spoiled.  And who could blame us after over two months of win after win. 

And who would have expected our winning ways (thirteen straight) to end in New London (NH) where the Colby-Sawyer Chargers were coming off three straight losses?

However, the, “on any given night” reality bit the Scots (17-4/ 9-1) and they came out on the wrong end of a 74-63 score on Tuesday night in Commonwealth Coast Conference play.

Going undefeated in the CCC is now off the table.  What remains, though, over the last four games (Bates/Western New England/UNE/Salve Regina) of the season, is trying to gain the most favorable position possible in the postseason CCC eight-team tournament that starts on February 23rd.  Still sitting alone atop the current CCC standings (9-1), put the Scots in complete control of their destiny. 

Gordon did not play well enough to defeat Colby-Sawyer (12-10/5-5).  But those on hand will tell you that the Scots made a serious run late to steal this one but that mishandlings and misfirings kept the upset from happening.

One nearby Charger fan, was overheard to say during the game that, “this was the best I’ve seen them play,” referring to the home team.  No doubt, he was referencing C-S’s red-hot, long-range shooting (nine for eighteen) and their well-schemed half-court defense (twenty-one Gordon turnovers). 

An early Colby-Sawyer 8-2 deficit vanished as both of the Charger positives just mentioned kicked in and Gordon helplessly watched the scoreboard effects of first half C-S runs of twelve points and nine points that plunged them into a 37-28 hole.

Freshman Jason Chevrefils (19 points) gave the Scots nothing but trouble all night.  He got good low-block position time after time and knew how to score from there.  His jump hook, similar to Greg Walker’s, was never successfully defended. 

In the second half, Jason combined with long-ranger David Rosso (fourteen points on four 3’s) to do most of the damage as the Chargers ventured into laugher territory (64-49) with just 4:20 left in the game. 

It was easy to wonder at this point, why the Chargers could have lost to Regis, Curry, Roger Williams, Endicott, and Salve Regina.  However, over the next two minutes the Scots put up points – eight straight at one point – and the home team started turning the ball over in the backcourt and missing shots down the other end. 

Credit a “first-time-I’ve-seen-it” full-court trap, steal, or foul approach used by Gordon.  It worked for the next two minutes and things got a very interesting (65-59) when Aaron Trigg made his only three of the game. 

The last two minutes the Scots reverted to misfiring (1 for 6) and mishandling (3 turnovers) while C-S sealed the deal with seven of eight free throws.

The CCC’s top scorer, Jon Chaloux, collected ten points in the first half but Ben Gaskill limited him to only two more thereafter. 

Ben Gaskill - Grabs 13 rebounds and defends the CCC's top scorer

Ben had a game-high thirteen rebounds along with a hard foul on breaking away Jason Chevrefils attempting a layup.  Ben got the ball but plenty of Jason along with it.

Dunks are unusual for Gordon and Greg Walker had one in the second half on a breakaway. 

C-S did a great job on the perimeter containing Brady Bajema (11 points – 3 for 10) and Aaron (14 points – 5 for 13).  Aaron has gone three-for-fifteen from long range over the last three games.

Bates is next in Lewiston at 7PM on Thursday.  This is a nonleague game so the minutes of Aaron, Ben, and Brady may be impacted especially with a visit to Western New England in CCC action looming on Saturday.  The need to secure home-court advantage during the remaining four games, including Bates, should be the top priority.

Another top priority at Bates is trying to keep cool in the gymnasium; at least it was two years ago.  The ancient structure had an equally ancient heating system that puts out heat in a fashion that has spectators wondering how much of their clothing they can take off without being arrested. 

More seriously, Bates has won five straight.  We managed to defeat them for the first time ever last February at the Bennett Center thanks to a season-high, 20-point run in the second half. 

Box Score

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Filed under Bates, Colby-Sawyer, Gordon College men's basketball 2009-10

Brady Bajema Reaches 1000 with 23 Points in Win Over Nichols

Plenty of friends/family were on hand to watch Brady gets his 1000th point for Gordon

Brady collects 23 points on a special afternoon

(Wenham) Brady Bajema tallied 23 points, including the three that put him over 1000 career points, as the Scots (17-3/9-0) defeated Nichols (10-10/3-6) at the Bennett Center, 62-49, on Saturday afternoon. That’s thirteen straight and counting in this remarkable season.

Before the game, Aaron Trigg was given a basketball commemorating him getting to 1000 points in a game played last February 10th.  Aaron’s parents joined him as Coach Tod Murphy presented the special basketball.  My picture-taking abilities fall off considerably when the subjects don’t cooperate. 

Young and old from Whitinsville Christian (Brady’s high school) were on hand hoping to see Brady get the three points he needed.  He did not disappoint as he nailed a long one on his first shot 1 ½ minutes into the game.

Fortunately, for Gordon, that wasn’t the end of his scoring because Nichols defended the Scots other two top scorers (Greg Walker 5-for-15 and Aaron 2-for-12) into lower than usual production.

However, good teams have other options and on this afternoon, it was Brady, who actually was caught smiling afterwards.  I was told that a picture catching this would be a rarity.

While Brady had fourteen in the first half, the Bison had Pete Atkin’s 16 over the same half and the teams were tied at halftime, 25-25.

Freshman Justin Kuntz gave Nichols its last lead, 31-30, with a jumper at 14:49.  The next 3+ minutes the Scots put together an eight-point run.  David Dempsey hit a couple of shots and Brady added a jumper in the lane.  It was, however, Jeff Derr’s offensive rebound conversion that excited the lively home crowd the most.

The lead grew to ten (50-40) with five minutes left on another David Dempsey inside move.  Have I mentioned that he is a tough matchup for most teams – too big for fast defenders and too fast for big defenders?

The Scots then hit eight of eleven free throws in the last two minutes of the game to keep Nichols from getting closer than nine points in the end game.

The Bison struggled mightily to find any kind of offense in the second half.  Credit the Gordon defense for a lot of that.  Good defense always forces a team into one-on-one offense with few assists.  Imagine this: Nichols had zero assists in the second half! 

Pete Atkins (#15) led Nichols with 18 points

Pete Atkins paced Nichols with 18 points but had just two of them in the second half.  He did take a hard fall midway through the second half but returned to play some more.  Ben Gaskill (6’9”) did a nice defensive job on the 6’3” sophomore.

I am getting more and more comfortable with Gordon’s ability to handle fullcourt pressure.  The Bison pressed some but never got a backcourt turnover doing it. 

Gordon’s next three games are on the road and what a road trip it will be.  New London(NH) on Tuesday, Lewiston(ME) on Thursday, and Chicopee(MA) on Saturday afternoon.  That’s a lot of miles over a five-day stretch against very good teams in Colby-Sawyer, Bates, and Western New England on their home courts. 

That schedule means some early AMs for those of us planning, Lord willing, on being in the audience, but after thirteen straight who wants to miss any part of this extraordinary season by not being there.  Not I!

Box Score

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Filed under Bates, Colby-Sawyer, Gordon College men's basketball 2009-10, Nichols, Western New England