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High schools: MV, PA, Brady and Concord win at Cap Area tourney

  • Merrimack Valley’€™s Abby Grandmaison fights for the ball among three Hopkinton players including Maurgan McGrath (right) during the second half at the Capital Area Holiday Touranment at NHTI Tuesday, December 26, 2017. GEOFF FORESTER—Concord Monitor

  • ABOVE: Pembroke Academy’s Ciera Clark (21) cuts to the basket through Kearsarge’€™s Livi Hernon (22) and Caitlin Prescott during the first half at the Capital Area Holiday Tournament at NHTI on Tuesday. Pembroke won, 58-44. BELOW: Kearsarge forward Caitlin Prescott blocks a shot from Pembroke’€™s Savannah Youngman. Pembroke will now face Merrimack Valley in Thursday’s semifinals while Kearsarge moves to the consolation bracket. GEOFF FORESTER photos / Monitor staff

  • Merrimack Valley’€™s Aislinn McDonald drives to the basket around Hopkinton’€™s Maurgan McGrath (3) and Ellie Owen (25) during the second half of the Capital Area Holiday Tournament at NHTI on Tuesday. McDonald finished with 14 points and five rebounds to help MV to a 57-38 win. GEOFF FORESTER/ Monitor staff

  • Kearsarge forward Caitlin Prescott blocks Pembroke’€™s Savannah Youngman shot in the first half at the Capital Area Holiday Tournament on Tuesday December 26, 2017. GEOFF FORESTER—Concord Monitor

  • Pembroke’€™s Morgan Allen (22) and Kearsarge forward Caitlin Prescott (24) fight for a rebound during the first half at the Capital Area Holiday Tournament at NHTI on Tuesday December 26, 2017. GEOFF FORESTER—Concord Monitor



For the Monitor
Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Merrimack Valley girls’ basketball team has been making adjustments this season and it looks like things are starting to click.

The Pride trailed the opening game of the Capital Area Holiday Tournament at NHTI by two points after the first quarter, but MV outscored Hopkinton by 15 points in the second in what coach Bob McNutt desribed as, “the best quarter we’ve played all year,” en route to a 57-38 first round victory on Tuesday.

“It was our legs and our energy in the second quarter,” said McNutt, who is in his first year at the helm of MV’s program. “It was a whole different quarter. It was our ability to play defense and our ability to get up the floor offensively (that made the difference).”

The Division II Pride (2-2) looked sluggish in the opening quarter against the D-III Hawks (3-2), partially due to having only one practice in the past nine days, but also because McNutt is implementing a new defensive scheme.

“We’re not a big team, so we’re trying to force teams to take tough shots and take away the paint,” McNutt said. “We need to box out and run the ball. Last year they did a lot of matchup zone defense and this year we’re trying to play man-to-man. We’re trying to head in that direction.”

Thanks to strong offensive production from Abby Grandmaison (17 points, seven rounds), Carly Huckins (14 points, four assists, three steals) and Aislinn McDonald (14 points, five rebounds) and excellent defense from Kylie Marquis, MV pushed its lead to 42-25 at the end of the third quarter.

“We made them shoot some tough shots and we were able to run the floor (in the second quarter),” McNutt said. “We got some easy baskets.”

According to McNutt, Marquis is the unsung hero of the Pride’s defense, and is asked to guard the opposition’s top players.

Marquis’s efforts paid off in Tuesday’s contest, as Hopkinton’s top scorer, Amelia Thomas, was held to 10 points and 10 rebounds.

“We’re trying to take away their best player and committing (Marquis) to that role,” McNutt said. “She’s buying into it and working on it and helping us offensively when she can.”

The Pride outscored Hopkinton 16-13 over the final frame to secure a spot in Thursday’s semifinal against Pembroke, which bested Kearsarge, 58-44, in the following game.

MV topped Pembroke, 60-33, just six days ago in what McNutt described as the Pride’s most complete game.

“We’re playing well in spurts, but we need to play well over a full 32 minutes,” McNutt said. “This was a good team effort. A solid team effort, but we need to get into the gym and practice. It’s early in the year.”

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

Concord 55, John Stark 50

Key players: Concord – Quinn Daniels (12 points, 12 rebounds), Jordyn Lengle (10 points, 11 rebounds); John Stark – Emily Patten (14 points, 3 steals), Jillian Douzanie (11 points)

Highlights/key moments: The Generals led the entire first half and had a 24-23 lead at the break, but the Tide opened the fourth quarter on a 9-2 run and shot 8-for-13 from the free throw line down the stretch.

Records: Concord 1-3; John Stark 2-2

Pembroke 58, Kearsarge 44

Key players: Pembroke – Brooklyn Zanie (17 points, 5 steals), Morgan Allen (14 points), Olivia Langevin (12 points, 3 steals); Kearsarge – Jordan Busch (12 points, 6 rebounds), Tori Andrewski (11 rebounds)

Highlights/key moments: The Spartans jumped out to a 17-4 lead after the first quarter and a 29-12 lead at halftime. The Cougars cut their deficit to 45-35 with three minutes to go before the Spartans secured the victory at the Capital Area Holiday Tournament at NHTI. Pembroke advances to a semifinal match on Thursday against Merrimack Valley while Kearsarge drops to the consolation round.

Coaches’ quotes: “We came out strong in the first quarter and kept up the intensity through the rest of the game with senior leadership on both ends of the court.” – Pembroke’s Michaela Champlin

“We had a slow start and we fought back and got things going again in the second half, but we didn’t make enough plays to climb over the hill. The girls are working hard. It’s a work in progress.” – Kearsarge’s Keith Roberts

Records: Pembroke 2-2; Kearsarge 2-1

Bishop Brady 50, Bow 41

Key players: Bishop Brady – Sarah Doherty (17 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists), Ami Rivera (14 rebounds, 9 points), Lauren Roy (9 points) Riley Marsh (8 rebounds, 4 points); Bow – Patty Nordin (13 points), Lea Crompton (10 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists)

Highlights/key moments: Halle Laramie hit two big jumpers to get the game rolling, but the Falcons came back and the score was tied at halftime, 30-30. Kaylee Smith hit a huge 3 to put the Giants up by seven late in the game and secure a berth in Thursday’s semifinals of the Capital Area Holiday Tournament.

Coach’s quote: “Proud of the team tonight for their effort and fight. Energy was high on and off the court and contributions came from freshmen to seniors alike. Great way to open the local holiday tournament.” – Brady’s Annie Alosa

Records: Brady 2-1; Bow 1-1

Conant 51, Coe-Brown 34

Key players: Coe-Brown – Ahna McCusker (11 points, 15 rebounds), Val White (8 points, 4 rebounds)

Highlights/key moments: The D-II Bears trailed just 27-23 at halftime, but dropped their opening game of the Manchester Central Tournament to the D-III Orioles thanks to clutch shooting from Conant in the second half.

Coach’s quote: “I actually saw some really good things today. I felt we moved another step closer against a tough Conant team.” – Coe-Brown’s Joe Vachon

Records: Conant 3-3; Coe-Brown 1-2

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

Franklin 85, Nute 41

Key players: Franklin – Jayden Torres (46 points), C.J. Gaslin (12 points), Harrison Clark (11 points)

Highlights/key moments: The Tornadoes took a 24-7 lead after the first quarter and never looked back in a decisive opening-round win at the Mike Lee Holiday Bash in Farmington.

Coach’s quote: “It was nice to get a win under our belt. Extremely satisfied with our rebounding and boxing out. It was also nice to see Jayden break the single-game scoring record previously held by Tim Lee’s 45 (points) against Inter-Lakes in 1997.” – Franklin’s Michael Donnell

Records: Franklin 0-2; Nute 0-3

Kennett 76, Pittsfield 61

Key players: Pittsfield – Cam Darrah (28 points), Josh Whittier (8 points), Dylan Bocash (8 points)

Highlights/key moments: The D-IV Panthers led 15-11 after one and trailed 33-29 at halftime, but a 25-point third quarter by the D-II Eagles put the Mike Lee Holiday Bash contest out of reach. Kennett made 11 three pointers, seven in second half.

Coach’s quote: “We didn't shoot the ball very well today, but were still able to work on things and that is the main goal of the holiday tournament.” – Pittsfield’s Jay Darrah

Records: Kennett 0-2; Pittsfield 3-0

BOYS’ HOCKEY

Concord 6, Goffstown 1

Key players: Concord – Derek Kelleher (2 goals), Colin Kastle (goal, assist), Liam O’Brien (goal, assist), Devin Philbrick (2 assists), Kyle McKinnon (goal), Evan Makris (goal), Cam Lariviere (goal), Mike Stoddard (assist), Jake Sullivan (assist), Spencer Burgess and Parker Taylor (combined 15 saves)

Highlights/key moments: The Tide opened the Manchester Christmas Tournament with a 2-1 first period lead and a 5-1 second period lead.

Coach’s quote: “We played well in spurts, but need to get better in our end of the ice and eliminate turnovers.” – Concord’s Dunc Walsh

Records: Concord 3-0; Goffstown 3-1

BOYS’ INDOOR TRACK

Belmont second

Key players: Belmont – Hunter Dupuis (1st 300 in 38.74), Nick Randos (1st 1,500 in 4:26), Kaleb Brown (2nd 600), Zack Duclos (2nd shot put), Ian Remenar (3rd 300), Micah Edgren (3rd 600), 4x160 (2nd), 4x400 (2nd); Laconia – Dan Engelsen (7th 1,500)

Highlights/key moments: The Raiders took second with 63 points in a four-team morning meet at UNH. Milford (85) won the meet while Belmont topped Souhegan (25) and Pelham (3). Engelsen was the lone competitor for Laconia.

GIRLS’ INDOOR TRACK

Belmont fourth, Laconia fifth

Key players: Belmont – Alice Riley (3rd 1,500, 3rd 3,000), Jessica Hutchinson (4th 1,500), 4x160 (4th); Laconia – Skyler Tautkus (3rd 300), Victoria Dean (4th 600)

Highlights/key moments: Milford (81.5 points) narrowly topped Souhegan (81) in a five-team meet at UNH. Nashua South (72.5) finished third with Belmont (20) and Laconia (7) rounded out the team scores.