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High schools: Gilford girls hang on to top Laconia for 8th straight win

  • Laconia’€™s Lindsey Drouin (34) and Gilford’s Lauren Dean (11) battle for a rebound during the first half Thursday in Gilford. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Gilford’s Lauren Dean gets surrounded by two Laconia players as she heads to the basket during the first half on Thursday at Gilford. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Gilford guard Brook Beaudet drives around a pair of Laconia defenders during the first half on Thursday, January 25, 2018 at Gilford. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff



Monitor staff
Friday, January 26, 2018

GILFORD – There was a time not too long ago when a meeting between the Gilford and Laconia girls’ basketball teams was appointment viewing.

They used to play in the same division and go head-to-head as many as four times per year, providing fans in the Lakes Region with memorable moments like triple-overtime thrillers and championship clashes when both programs were the class of Division III.

And while the rivalry has died down over recent years, Thursday’s contest proved not all that much has changed. Locked in a low-scoring, defensive battle, Gilford delivered down the stretch, sinking 14 of 22 attempts from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter to narrowly top Laconia, 43-39, and pick up its eighth straight victory.

“Every time you’re playing Laconia, that’s what you have to expect,” Gilford coach Rick Forge said. “It’s not always the prettiest basketball to watch, but it’s competitive and it’s always close.

“We knew it was going to be a battle tonight. We know they’re tough, very, very aggressive and play a different style than we normally see in Division III. When you play Laconia, you know it’s going to be a physical game.”

Leading 35-25 with five minutes left in the contest, the Golden Eagles (8-2) were in good shape to pull off a comfortable home victory before Laconia’s last-gasp effort.

The Sachems (4-5) began fouling, trading free throws for field goals to inch closer, but could never get the deficit down to a one-possession game. Hannah Dow (team-high 11 points) drained a 3-pointer and Meghan Gaspa added a putback layup to make it 35-30, but the Golden Eagles did just enough at the charity stripe to fend off the late run.

“We looked at the clock with five minutes left and we were down 10, so I took a timeout and said, ‘We can either keep getting punched in the face or you can fight for the last five minutes and see what happens,’ ” Laconia coach Jeff Greeley said.

“I thought we were resilient and that’s what I kept saying about this bunch. They just keep playing hard and when you have a group of kids that play hard, you’re never out of a game.”

It’s part of the reason Greeley admires this year’s team so much.

The Sachems struggled with their shooting all night, never had a lead in the second half and made just two field goals from the floor in the second and third quarters combined. And still, it was a four-point game when the final buzzer sounded.

“We had (the lead) down to almost one possession and we’re making one basket in the second and third frame and you’re still in it. A part of me says we scrap, we scrap and we scrap and we’re still in it. That says something about this bunch.”

While the Sachems did a good job containing Gilford’s perimeter threat and senior guard Brooke Beaudet, it didn’t seem to bother the Golden Eagles, who struggled in their own right shooting the ball, but used a balanced effort to chalk up another win.

Beaudet and senior teammate Lauren Dean each notched 10 points, while 5-foot-6 guard Shelby Cole finished with a game-high 12 points.

“We made enough free throws down the stretch, we did enough good things and spread our offense out enough tonight,” Forge said. “We didn’t have that one big standout scorer like we usually do and I think that helped. … Nobody is going to have a big game against Laconia, that’s just not going to happen.”

Laconia, which led by five after the first quarter and had the game tied up at 24-all with the first bucket of the fourth, received solid contributions from Dow, Becca Howe (six points) and freshmen guards Sophie George (eight points) and Isabella Daly (six).

(Jay McAree can be reached at 369-3371, jmcaree@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @JayMcAree.)

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

Concord 49, Keene 31

Key players: Concord – Ky Buccholz (14 points), Kasie Maloney (10 points), Caitlyn Kelley (defense), Quinn Daniels (7 points)

Highlights/key moments: The Crimson Tide scored 20 in the second quarter to take a 28-17 lead at halftime. Concord held Keene to 14 points in the second half while the Tide continued to build its lead.

Coach’s quote: “I am really proud of our girls. We came out ready to play and played with a lot of pride, positive energy, and urgency. When we play fearless and get into attack mode, we are a totally different team. Hopefully this will generate some momentum moving forward.” – Concord’s Tim LaTorra

Records: Concord 2-7; Keene 1-7

Pelham 52, John Stark 45

Key players: John Stark – Jillian Douzanis (21 points)

Highlights/key moments: Stark was outscored 16-8 in the second quarter as Pelham pulled away. Douzanis hit five 3-pointers in the game.

Coach’s quote: “We did a number of very good things tonight. We just needed some shots to drop.” – Stark’s Bruce Johnson

Records: Pelham 8-1; Stark 3-5

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

Pelham 50, John Stark 37

Key players: Christian Barr (11 points), Trey Gamache (8 points)

Highlights/key moments: Pelham took a 27-15 lead over the Generals into the halftime break.

Coach’s quote: “It was ugly from start to finish. Pelham did nice things defensively. We had open looks but couldn’t get our shots to fall.” – Stark’s Mike Smith

Records: Pelham 5-3; Stark 3-4