‘A Good Fit for Me’ Former Sunapee, Hanover Standout Leading Young Chargers

  • Colby-Sawyer College freshman Lexie Hamilton looks for a fast break pass during practice in New London, N.H., on February 17, 2017. Hamilton recently received Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Division III Rookie of the Week honors. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News Photographs — Geoff Hansen

  • Colby-Sawyer College coach George Martin speaks with freshman Lexie Hamilton at midcourt about the drill he would like her to run in practice in New London, N.H., on February 17, 2017. Martin's teams have made it to postseason competition in 23 consecutive years. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Colby-Sawyer College freshman Lexie Hamilton, center, and her teammates watch the team's assistants shoot around during a water break at practice in New London, N.H., on February 17, 2017. Hamilton is following outstanding play at Hanover and Sunapee High Schools with a strong first year in college. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News — Geoff Hansen

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 2/19/2017 11:42:23 PM
Modified: 2/19/2017 11:45:49 PM

New London — Lexie Hamilton’s long-term vision includes the U.S. Air Force and a career in dentistry. The Colby-Sawyer women's basketball team is happy that, for now, Hamilton has decided to keep her vision on the court.

The smooth, shifty point guard nearly walked away from the game following a stellar high school career split between Hanover and Sunapee, even after a career-best 31-point night to carry the Lakers in a 66-62 win over Littleton in the NHIAA Division IV title game last March.

At the time, Hamilton was committed to the predental program at the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine, with no plans to play for its women’s basketball program.

Teetering on burnout following six years of AAU play and two varsity seasons in Hanover, Hamilton felt revitalized after moving to Sunapee prior to her junior year and helping to lead the Lakers through back-to-back undefeated seasons. She finished with 1,075 career high school points and scored 12.1 career points per game, according to Valley News records. 

Hamilton was initially willing to leave the game behind in order to focus on her chosen career path.

“I just really want to be a dentist, and (undergraduate study) is so important,” Hamilton said prior to Friday’s practice with the Chargers (17-8; 12-6 North Atlantic Conference). “I was convinced that was the route I wanted to take.”

Yet Colby-Sawyer coach George Martin had been determined to land Hamilton since the first time he saw her play as a freshman. Martin watched Hamilton drop 17 points against rival Lebanon in her third career high school game and never let her out of his sights. 

It also helped that Lexie’s older sister, Karley Hamilton, was a successful goalie for the Chargers’ women’s soccer team, graduating last year.

“Coach Martin was definitely persistent,” Lexie Hamilton said about her charge of heart. “Eventually, I realized this was going to be a good fit for me.”

It certainly has been so far. Entering Saturday’s regular-season finale at New England College, Hamilton led the NAC and was eighth among all NCAA Division III women with 141 assists, her 5.9 assists per game good for ninth in the country (Hamilton had no asssists for the first time all year in Saturday’s 76-65 loss at New England College). She also leads Colby-Sawyer in steals (40) and free throws made (54) and is second on the team in points (256; 10.2 per game) and minutes (646; 25.8).

Hamilton has been named NAC women’s basketball rookie of the week four times, most recently two weeks ago during a three-game stretch in which she averaged 15 points, 4.7 assists and 2.7 steals. The performances, highlighted by a 22-point night at Maine-Farmington in which she shot 4-for-4 on 3-pointers, also earned her regional Eastern College Athletic Conference and New England Women’s Basketball Association rookie of the week honors.

Taking over for graduated point guard Katie McCarthy, Hamilton didn’t realize she would see so much time or make as high of an impact during her first season in New London.

Martin had a clearer picture.

“I knew from that first game I saw her, when she was lights out against Lebanon, that she could contribute at this level,” said Martin, whose program has qualified for the NCAA Division III or ECAC tournament during 14 of the last 20 seasons and opens NAC tourney play on Tuesday. “She's the kind of player that sees the floor better than anyone else out there. She knows where (teammates) are going to be as soon as she gets the ball; sometimes, before she even gets the ball. She’s already a vocal leader. She’s not a afraid to step up and do whatever the team needs.”

One of seven freshmen on Colby-Sawyer’s roster, she’s formed a strong bond particularly with classmate Tianna Sugars, a center who’s averaging 7.0 points and 5.4 rebounds entering Saturday.

Hamilton has also built instant chemistry with upperclassmen such as leading scorer Lexi Iannone (11.6 ppg), and rebounding leader Kristen Ellis (6.9 per game).

Hamilton also leads the team with 102 turnovers, but her assist-to-turnover ratio is second at 1.38.

“A lot of those turnovers come with the territory of being a starting point guard, and there are good turnovers and bad turnovers,” said Martin. “A lot of them come from being aggressive and pushing the ball up the floor, which is our style of play and the way we want her to play.”

Though her Sunapee home is close by, Hamilton lives on campus and doesn't go home on weekends as much as even some of her friends who live farther away.

“At first I thought I’d have to leave New England to really feel like I was getting away, but I actually feel like that here,” Hamilton said. “Plus, it’s kind of nice having my mom (Terri) at so many games.”

Hamilton, a biology major, still plans to pursue dentistry, but first wants to enroll in the Air Force for four years after graduating from Colby-Sawyer in 2020.

“It’s a long plan, but I think I can make it work,” Hamilton said.

The Chargers are sure happy it starts here.

Jared Pendak can be reached at jpendak@vnews.com or 603-727-3225.

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