High Schools: Fast start keeps Coe-Brown girls on a roll
The Coe Brown girls’ basketball team has come alive at the right time. After winning six straight games to cap off the regular season, the sixth-seeded Bears continued their hot streak last night, defeating No. 11 Hollis-Brookline, 55-47, in the first round of the Division II tournament on the Coe-Brown Northwood Academy floor.
Throughout the season, the Bears have done well when they push the ball offensively, and that’s exactly what Coe-Brown did from the opening tip last night, surging to a 22-11 lead after the first quarter.
“We ran the ball extremely well up and down the floor,” Bears Coach Dave Hartnett said. “We created layup opportunities for ourselves by creating turnovers.”
Junior point guard Haley Ruth was a key component offensively, leading the up-tempo offense. Meanwhile junior forward Sarah Curtin held Hollis-Brookline’s leading scorer, Bri Mackett, to seven points in the game.
In the second and third quarters, however, the Cavaliers were onto Coe-Brown’s game and succeeded in slowing down the pace.
“They held the ball a little bit, they waited to get good shots. … It took us out of our rhythm,” Hartnett said.
The slower play resulted in much tighter second and third quarters, as the Hollis defense held the Bears to only seven points in the second quarter and four in the third. Coe-Brown still held a comfortable 29-17 lead at halftime, but by the end of the third quarter the lead was only seven, 33-26.
Upset-minded Hollis cut the lead to three points early in the fourth quarter, but the Bears pushed the pace of the game by attacking the basket and spreading the floor, forcing the Cavaliers out of the zone defense that had stifled Coe-Brown in the middle of the game. Opening up the floor also opened the lead. Coe-Brown held a 10- to 13-point lead for a large portion of the final quarter.
Leading that offensive charge were junior forwards Abby Ahern (24 points) and Jen Schlim (15 points).
The Bears advance to the quarterfinals, where they will be the underdogs in a matchup against No. 3 Souhegan. The Sabers easily took care of No. 14 Kingswood last night, 65-30.
“We didn’t take care of the ball very well and shot poorly from the free throw line,” said Hartnett, referring to his team’s 49-44 season-opening loss to Souhegan back in December. And as Hartnett pointed out, his team had improved in both of those areas in the 18 games since they last met.
“If we continue to do what we did in the first quarter tonight against Hollis-Brookline, we’ll give Souhegan quite a game,” he said
Souhegan (15-4) will host the quarterfinal game Friday at 7 p.m.
D-II GIRLS’ BASKETBALL
No. 4 Merrimack Valley 76, No. 13 St. Thomas 54
The Pride (15-4) looked to make a statement in its first-round game against the Saints, jumping out to a 28-9 lead at the end of the first quarter. St. Thomas (7-12) made some adjustments going into the second and outscored MV, 25-9, shrinking the Pride’s lead to 37-34 at halftime.
“St. Thomas came out and played a really strong press defense and made five 3-pointers during the second,” MV coach David Huckins said.
After seeing its lead shrink to three, the Pride answered back with a pressure defense of its own led by freshman Erin Frost (six rebounds, five steals), forcing the Saints into some costly turnovers. MV also picked up its offensive pace, finishing the second half outscoring St. Thomas 39-20.
Mayson Kimball (38 points, nine rebounds), Mary Mullen (21 points, 11 rebounds) and Emily Mulleavey (seven points, five assists) paced the Pride offense.
MV plays No. 5 Lebanon at home Friday at 7 p.m. in the quarterfinals.
No. 8 Pembroke 43, no. 9 Windham 33
The Spartans (13-6) defeated the Jaguars in a game that saw Pembroke jump out to a 24-12 lead at the end of the first half.
Windham (10-9) came out strong defensively in the third quarter, allowing Pembroke to score only five points, but the Jaguars were not able to capitalize on the offensive end, scoring only nine points of their own. The fourth quarter saw the Spartans make 9 of 11 free throws to pull away with the 10-point victory.
Pembroke will face No. 1 Milford on Friday at 7 p.m. in the quarterfinals.
D-I BOYS’ BASKETBALL
No. 1 Manchester Central 83, No. 16 Concord 41
The Crimson Tide (6-13) tried to put up a fight against the undefeated Little Green, but were just overpowered throughout the game.
Manchester Central (19-0) put up 41 points in the first half while holding Concord to 12. Concord was able to provide some more offense during the second half, scoring 29 points, but the Little Green kept the game out of reach. Second-year Concord Coach John Finnegan praised Central, saying the D-I tournament is the Little Green’s to lose.
Freshman Matt Giroux led the Crimson Tide with nine points. Garrett Jewell (eight points) and Jacob Szulc (eight points) also contributed on offense.
D-III BOYS’ BASKETBALL
No. 13 Raymond 69, No. 20 Bow 51
The Falcons (5-14) fell to the Rams (10-9) for the third time this season, exiting the playoffs in the first round. No details were reported.
No. 16 Somersworth 66, No. 17 Franklin 33
The Golden Tornadoes ended the season with a tough loss against the Hilltoppers (6-13) in the first round of the playoffs. Franklin ends the season with a 5-14 record. No details were reported.
D-IV BOYS’ BASKETBALL
No. 7 Groveton 63, No. 10 Pittsfield 59
It was a back-and-forth game until the end, but the Panthers (11-8) couldn’t complete the upset over the Eagles. According to Pittsfield Coach Jay Darrah, turnovers cost his team a very winnable game, which saw three lead changes in the last minute.
With 33 seconds left in a tie game, Jesse Slater (nine points) scored two of his seven fourth-quarter points to put the Panthers up 59-57, but Groveton (12-7) regained the lead on a 3-pointer with 17 seconds remaining. Looking to take the last shot and win the game, Pittsfield committed a costly turnover gave Groveton possession. The Eagles were fouled and made three free throws to put away with the win.
Kris Perkins (23 points), Xenthios Cyr (11 points) and Derek Pike (nine points) led the Panthers offense.
No. 2 Littleton 57, No. 15 Concord Christian 39
The Kingsmen (5-14) saw their season end convincingly, as the Crusaders (17-2) extended their winning streak to seven games. No details were reported.