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High schools: Coe-Brown girls pick up pace in win over Oyster River

  • Coe-Brown's Abigail Ahern looks to shoot as Oyster River's Claire McCarthy defends her during the game at Coe-Brown on Monday, February 24, 2014.<br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

    Coe-Brown's Abigail Ahern looks to shoot as Oyster River's Claire McCarthy defends her during the game at Coe-Brown on Monday, February 24, 2014.

    (ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

  • Coe-Brown's Jennifer Schlim, left, and Sydney Fisher vie for the rebound with Oyster River's Sara Messler during the game at Coe-Brown on Monday, February 24, 2014.<br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

    Coe-Brown's Jennifer Schlim, left, and Sydney Fisher vie for the rebound with Oyster River's Sara Messler during the game at Coe-Brown on Monday, February 24, 2014.

    (ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

  • Coe-Brown's Haley Ruth dribbles the ball down the court with Oyster River's Jenny Mistretta in pursuit during the game at Coe-Brown on Monday, February 24, 2014.<br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

    Coe-Brown's Haley Ruth dribbles the ball down the court with Oyster River's Jenny Mistretta in pursuit during the game at Coe-Brown on Monday, February 24, 2014.

    (ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

  • Coe-Brown's Sarah Curtin dribbles the ball down the court as Oyster River's Sophie Merritt defends her during the game at Coe-Brown on Monday, February 24, 2014.<br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

    Coe-Brown's Sarah Curtin dribbles the ball down the court as Oyster River's Sophie Merritt defends her during the game at Coe-Brown on Monday, February 24, 2014.

    (ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

  • Oyster River's Claire Salmon defends Coe-Brown's Sydney Fisher during the game at Coe-Brown on Monday, February 24, 2014.<br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

    Oyster River's Claire Salmon defends Coe-Brown's Sydney Fisher during the game at Coe-Brown on Monday, February 24, 2014.

    (ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

  • Coe-Brown's Abigail Ahern looks to shoot as Oyster River's Claire McCarthy defends her during the game at Coe-Brown on Monday, February 24, 2014.<br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)
  • Coe-Brown's Jennifer Schlim, left, and Sydney Fisher vie for the rebound with Oyster River's Sara Messler during the game at Coe-Brown on Monday, February 24, 2014.<br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)
  • Coe-Brown's Haley Ruth dribbles the ball down the court with Oyster River's Jenny Mistretta in pursuit during the game at Coe-Brown on Monday, February 24, 2014.<br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)
  • Coe-Brown's Sarah Curtin dribbles the ball down the court as Oyster River's Sophie Merritt defends her during the game at Coe-Brown on Monday, February 24, 2014.<br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)
  • Oyster River's Claire Salmon defends Coe-Brown's Sydney Fisher during the game at Coe-Brown on Monday, February 24, 2014.<br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

With the playoffs fast approaching and the end of the regular season looming, the Bears overcame a slow start with a solid 17-6 second quarter to build a 27-14 halftime lead and outscored Oyster River by 13 points in the second half to secure a 61-35 win over Oyster River (6-10) in last night’s girls’ basketball matchup played at Coe-Brown Northwood Academy.

“It’s vacation week, so it took them a little while to clear the cobwebs out of their heads in the first quarter, but they played well after that,” Coe-Brown Head Coach David Hartnett said. “We had a hard time putting the ball in the basket, we were creating the turnovers but weren’t getting points,”

After a slim 10-8 lead after the first quarter, the Bears corrected that problem, continuing to create turnovers with an effective pressure defense, but this time Hartnett’s squad converted those turnovers into baskets and ran the floor better to extend their lead to 13 points at halftime.

Led by junior forward Abigail Ahern (13 points) and junior guard Hailey Ruth (13 points, six assists), Coe-Brown continued its effective pressure defense and took advantage of the Bobcats’ poor ball-handling to outscore them 20-12 in the third quarter to take a 57-26 lead heading into the final frame. The Bears iced the victory with a 14-9 fourth-quarter performance.

With the win, Coe-Brown improves to 12-5 and holds onto sixth-place in the Division II standings, a spot it can solidify with a win over Kingswood (5-11) on Thursday at home. If the Bears hang on to the sixth spot, they would draw the 11th seed in the first round of the playoffs, which is still up for grabs with four days remaining in the regular season and many games yet to be played. As for his own team, Hartnett is confident in his team’s game-plan. And as last night’s performance showed, his players are too.

“As a team we’re well rested and we’re finally starting the to run the system would’ve been trying to start for the past couple of years, offensively and defensively,” Harnett said.

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

Hanover 61, John Stark 18

The second-place Marauders (14-2) shot well from 3-point range and did a good job of forcing turnovers early on in a decisive win over John Stark (1-16). Emilee Stenger scored seven points and attacked the rim in addition to great defense to lead the Generals.

Merrimack Valley 68, Kingswood 38

The Pride (13-4) got off to a strong start taking a 17-6 lead after the first quarter and extending it to a 57-28 lead heading into the final frame in a comfortable road win over Kingswood (5-11).

Mary Mullen (23 points, 10 rebounds), Cassidy Huckins (14 points, four threes) and Mayson Kimball (13 points) all reach double-figures for MV.

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

Belmont 46, Franklin 43

A hounding pressure defense got Belmont (2-14) running and the Raiders breezed to an 18-3 lead after the first quarter and a 36-16 advantage at the half, then held on to upset Franklin (5-12) and make the Tornadoes’ playoff hopes a little less secure.

“Our offense was our defense in the first half,” Belmont Coach Derek Hamilton said. “We generated a lot of energy.”

But the Raiders got into some foul trouble in the second half as Franklin began to rally. After the Tornadoes cut the lead to two points late in the game, Belmont had a chance to ice it from the line, but after hitting one of two free throws, the Raiders grabbed a pair of offensive rebounds and missed the front end of two one-and-ones, allowing Franklin one last chance. The desperation shot at the buzzer missed.

Trevor Hunt led the way for Belmont with 17 points and 11 rebounds, while Chris Duggan added 12 points, six rebounds and three steals. Andrew Derosia and Tyler Rolfe spearheaded the defensive effort.

For Franklin, Dana Bean scored 17 points and Bruce Carey added 13.

Hopkinton 67, Bow 45

Bow got off to a hot start, going 3-for-4 from 3-point range in the first quarter to keep it close, but Hopkinton (15-1) took over from there, outscoring the Falcons 36-10 over the next two quarters and holding Bow to two field goals, spurring the Hawks to victory in a physical game.

The story of the game was Hopkinton’s defense, which held Bow to 3-for-23 shooting over the second and third quarters to extend a narrow first-quarter lead of 23-19 to 41-22 at halftime and 59-29 heading into the final frame.

“They’re big and and physical and I thought we handled them pretty well,” Hawks Coach Dave Chase said, noting Hopkinton’s 41-24 rebounding edge, which prevented the Falcons from scoring on offensive rebounds, a major part of their scoring early on. The Hawks man-to-man defense forced 24 turnovers.

Sam Winslow (18 points, eight rebounds, 10-for-14 from the free-throw line) and Jake Nelson (14 points, 10 rebounds) had large impacts on both ends of the floor for Hopkinton, while Luke Luneau (11 points, four rebounds), Gabe Nichols (10 points, seven rebounds) and Liam McNicholas (eight points) contributed in a balanced team effort.

Bow was led by Matt Ehrenberg (eight points, five rebounds), Nate Alford (seven points) and Adam Nelson and Shane Wunderlie (two threes each).

Mascoma 45, Kearsarge 34

The Cougars (2-15) played well against one of the better teams in Division III, trailing 21-18 at halftime, but Kearsarge had trouble scoring as Mascoma (11-6) won a defensive battle. The Cougars came to within eight points of the lead thanks to some key stops in the third quarter, but Mascoma held Kearsarge to eight field goals in the game.

Carter Noordsij led the Cougars with 13 points and five rebounds and scored 10 of his team’s 16 free throws on 13 attempts from the line. Trent Noordsij had seven points and eight rebounds while James Bromwell added six points. Francis Carpenter scored his first varsity points.

Kearsarge ends the season on Friday with a road game against arch-rivals Newport (14-3).

Epping 81, Pittsfield 51

The Panthers (10-7) played well in the second quarter, but Epping (14-3) responded with a 23-8 third-quarter run to cushion a solid lead in a home win.

“They’re stronger, they’re more experienced, they’re more athletic. They are a good team,” Pittsfield Coach Jay Darrah said of Division IV’s fourth-place team that is a favorite to go far in the playoffs.

Epping took a 47-31 halftime lead and extended it to 70-39 heading into the final frame. Pittsfield was led by Xenthios Cyr with 23 points. Kris Perkins scored nine points in limited playing time due to foul trouble and Cam Darrah added nine points.

The Panthers are one of four teams with 10-7 records battling for the seventh through 10th seeds for the playoffs. A win over Concord Christian (5-11) at home on Thursday would improve Pittsfield’s bid for home-court advantage in the first found of the playoffs.

BOYS’ HOCKEY

Manchester Central 4, Concord 1

Concord’s road to the playoffs just got a lot more difficult following a loss to Central (9-7-0), a team the Tide (6-11-0) had beaten a couple of weeks ago.

“They were clearly better than us,” said Concord Coach Dunc Walsh, whose team fell behind 3-0 after the first period but played the Little Green evenly the rest of the game.

Now, in order for the Tide to continue its 26-year playoff streak, it must beat rival Bishop Brady tomorrow and hope for Hanover to lose its final two games, at Exeter then home against No. 4 Trinity.

“We knew coming into the year it could be a long year,” Walsh said. “We’ve had some moments where we looked better, but it’s been a tough year.

“The only thing we can control now is how we play Wednesday.”

Central put Concord in an early 3-0 hole, then tacked on a fourth goal early in the second period. Concord got one back at 12:37 of the middle frame when Connor Beatty scored on the power play with assists from Alex Orcutt and Matt Norris. And though Ben Nelson (29 saves) kept Central out of the net in the third, Concord could pull no closer.

GIRLS’ HOCKEY

Oyster River 3, Bishop Brady-Trinity 1

An Ann Margaret Disciscio goal 9:07 into the game gave Bishop Brady-Trinity a 1-0 lead that it held through the first two periods. But the Giants’ physical style led to a few penalties in the third and Oyster River capitalized, scoring a pair of power-play goals in its three-goal outburst.

Sarah Plourde was strong in net for Brady-Trinity, making 23 saves. But the loss likely takes away home ice from the Giants for the playoffs. Oyster River (10-5-1) flip-flopped rankings with Brady-Trinity (9-6-0), taking over the fourth spot. If the final week of the season plays out as expected, the teams will meet again in the quarterfinals, with Oyster River hosting.

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