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Bow girls line up Capital Area title by beating MV, 37-30

Bow's Suzanne Barry, left, and Merrimack Valley's Molly Mullen, right, battle for a ball during the finals of the Capitol Area Holiday Tournament on December 30, 2012 at NHTi.  Bow defeated Merrimack Valley. 

(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor Staff)

Bow's Suzanne Barry, left, and Merrimack Valley's Molly Mullen, right, battle for a ball during the finals of the Capitol Area Holiday Tournament on December 30, 2012 at NHTi. Bow defeated Merrimack Valley. (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor Staff)

It was a physical and aggressive defensive battle between Bow and Merrimack Valley in the girls’ championship game of the Capital Area Holiday Tournament. In the end, MV sent Bow to the free throw line a few times too many and the Falcons capitalized to claim the title, 37-30, yesterday.

The physical nature of the championship game wasn’t completely unexpected. Although the same starting five Falcons took the floor against the Pride for the opening tip, the game plan was different.

“We changed our game plan and played some different positions to match the size of MV that we don’t see in Division III,” senior tri-captain Suzie Barry (three points, eight rebounds, one block, one steal) said after the game.

The game plan worked, and Bow successfully matched the size of the Pride as the teams finished with nearly identical numbers of rebounds, blocks and steals. With two teams so well-matched, the difference that separated the winner from the runner-up were two things: shooting and fouls.

“I thought we played pretty good defense,” Pride Coach Joe Raycraft said, “but we sent them to the line way too many times … and missed some easy shots.”

The game was close at the outset, and it wasn’t until late into the second quarter that Bow was able to open its lead. Bow led 8-4 at the end of the first quarter, but a three-point play from MV’s Jordan Neylon (nine points, two rebounds) and a layup from All-Tournament player Rebekka Donovan (six points, game-high 10 rebounds) helped the Pride tie the game, 10-10, halfway through the second quarter.

But Bow’s Samantha Lulka (five points) hit a 3 and a mid-range jumper, and tournament MVP Lindsey Nerbonne (game-high 12 points, six rebounds, game-high four steals) showed great hustle by grabbing rebounds, drawing fouls and creating turnovers to give the Falcons a 19-12 lead at halftime.

Bow held MV to only one third-quarter field goal, which didn’t come until 2:09 remained, and Taylor Marston (five points, two steals) hit a 3 to extend Bow’s lead to 27-17 heading into the final frame.

Nerbonne hit a free throw to open the fourth quarter, giving Bow its largest lead of the game (28-17), but that was as large as the Pride would allow it to get.

MV’s Jordan Filion (four points, four rebounds, three steals, one block), who was also named to the All-Tournament team, made two layups and forced several turnovers and Emily Mulleavey hit a key jumper from the right corner as the Pride came back, thanks to solid efforts from Molly Mullen (four points, five rebounds), Mary Mullen (five points, two steals) and Neylon.

The Pride scored 13 points in the final quarter, but also sent Bow to the line 16 times in the final frame, with the Falcons making 10 of them. Dina Tischofer (six points, four rebounds) was responsible for four of the shots down the stretch. Fouls, combined with shooting only 6-for-29 from the field in the second half, prevented MV from getting any closer than 37-30 despite playing valiantly until the final buzzer.

Even though Bow won the team title and Barry, Tischofer and Nerbonne were named to the All-Tournament team, the Falcons came away with much more from the tournament than a trophy.

“I thought we played really well and played good team ball. That’s what we focused on all tournament.” Nerbonne said after receiving her MVP award. She further added that, “we haven’t faced too many teams with that much size … we really need that (experience) down the stretch when we play bigger teams.”

Falcons Coach Bill Vermette added, “I think we played three good games. It’s nice to win, but it’s nice to progress and play better against some speed, some size and some pressure. In a tournament atmosphere, that is what you look for as a team, to progress and get better. I think we did that.”

∎ Natasha Velez, a sophomore for Bishop Brady, was also named to the All-Tournament team.

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

Pittsfield 70, Farmington 62

Down by one point with 3:17 to go, Xenthios Cyr (14 points, seven in the fourth quarter) hit a 3 to give Pittsfield a 62-60 lead and the Panthers ended the game with an 11-2 run to clinch a victory and the Mike Lee Holiday Tournament championship title.

The game was close early on, with Pittsfield down 12-9 after the first quarter and down 29-28 at halftime, but in the third quarter Farmington started to take control of the game by triple-teaming some of Pittsfield’s taller players. So Coach Jay Darrah changed his team’s game plan and Pittsfield started to run the ball through its guards instead.

That’s when guard Chris Perkins (22 points) came alive, hitting four 3s as part of 16 third-quarter points to keep Pittsfield in the game.

Pittsfield also got a great game from Elias Doucette (18 points, nine rebounds, seven assists).

“He did everything for us tonight.” Darrah said. “He did whatever needed to be done.”

Max Tuttle played well on defense and was 4-for-4 from the line down the stretch.

Doucette and Tyler Booth were both named to the All-Tournament team.

Conant 74, Coe-Brown 42

In the Mike Lee Holiday Bash at Farmington, Coe-Brown ran out of gas competing against a solid Orioles team, in the championship game. Conant outscored the Bears in each quarter and limited the Bears to just two points in the third quarter for their largest margin.

Andrew Langdon paced the offense with 12 points and five rebounds, while Chris Laurion contributed seven points and 10 rebounds. Alec Zollman (six points) and Mike West (five points, four rebounds) were key contributors off the bench for Coe-Brown.

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