NHTI Athletics: Lofton joins 1,000 point club; Men host playoff game Saturday

Janessa Lofton, a graduate of Nashua North High, joined NHTI's 1,000 career point club to cap her career in Concord. Courtesy photo.

Janessa Lofton, a graduate of Nashua North High, joined NHTI's 1,000 career point club to cap her career in Concord. Courtesy photo. sleone—

Published: 02-26-2024 8:00 AM

NHTI Lynx women’s basketball had its season come to an end over the weekend. They fell in the opening round of the Yankee Small College Conference (YSCC) Tournament to the two-seed, University of Maine-Augusta (UMA). The Lynx women’s basketball went out on a couple interesting high notes. Manchester native Maggie Brown was named the YSCC Player of the Week and Nashua native Janessa Lofton became the most recent Lynx to surpass 1,000 career points.

The men’s basketball team fared better in the opening round of the YSCC Tournament. They beat Paul Smith’s College 109-71 to advance to the YSCC Final Four this coming weekend. This year’s tournament is being hosted at NHTI, beginning with the semifinals Saturday, and the Conference Championships is Sunday. It’s a great chance for basketball fans to come to Concord and see the great talent playing locally.

Across men’s and women’s basketball, three of the last six United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) National Champions have come out of the YSCC, which makes up less than a quarter of USCAA athletic programs.

NH athletes starring for Lynx women’s basketball

Maggie Brown, a duel-athlete who also plays defense on the Lynx women’s soccer team, earned her first player of the week award. Brown averaged 18 points, 13 rebounds, and 7 assists. She was an excellent soccer player for Pinkerton in her high school days, and has started to excel on the basketball court for NHTI over the last two seasons. Brown averaged 12.1 points per game this season, second only to Janessa Lofton.

Lofton accomplished an incredible feat in the final game of the regular season. The Lynx senior averaged 13.7 points per game this season. The milestone has been at the front of her priorities all season long, and the determination she showed in the final three regular-season games to achieve her goal is incredible. 

In her final three regular season games, the Nashua North graduate scored 22 points against Great Bay Community College, 22 points against Five Towns College, and 27 points – a season high – against Northern Essex Community College. She ended the regular season with 1,005 career points. Then, she put up 28 points in the Lynx playoff loss to UMA.

Men’s basketball, and the Final Four

NHTI will play the Great Bay Community College Herons on Saturday at 2 p.m. for their Final Four matchup. If you’ve been keeping up with the Lynx, you may recall that the Herons handed NHTI an 86-79 loss late in the regular season. It was only the second loss against a conference opponent for Lynx men’s basketball this season. After feeling nearly unbeatable in the conference for over two months, the loss came as a reality check for the Lynx.

The Heron’s head coach, Alex Burt, was named the USCAA National Coach of the Year in 2023.

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He had the perfect game plan to stun the Lynx in the earlier meeting.

“I think the loss was good for us.” Terrian Wester said. “There were times when we played lazy, and we got exposed. Now everyone on the team knows the effort that’s necessary here.”

This year’s tournament is special to the Lynx. It’s an opportunity to be crowned conference champions on their home court. NHTI hasn’t won a basketball conference championship at home since the 2017-2018 season.