Friday, December 17, 2010

Strong Guard Play Lifts Alvirne Girls Past Merrimack

The Alvirne girls basketball team improved to 2-1 on the young season with a 58-48 victory at home over Merrimack. The Broncos got strong guard play from the Purcell sisters, Deanna and Sandi as well as Katie Donovan.

Merrimack senior Rachael Carter played very well in the loss, but Alvirne was just too quick and had too many weapons for the Tomahawks to handle. Merrimack is now 1-2 on the season.

This game really wasn't as close as the final score indicates. Alvirne led 48-24 after the 3rd quarter. The game was essentially over at that point, and in the 4th quarter the Broncos sat their starters quite a bit. Give Merrimack credit though for not giving up and continuing to play hard even after going down by 24 points. Carter had a very good game with 17 points. She's a very athletic guard who showed an exceptional all-around game.

Still, it was clear that these teams are playing on 2 different levels right now. Alvirne just has more weapons. "DJ" Purcell played very well like usual. She hit shots, and if her defender played up on her she drove it hard to the basket. Purcell 15 points, although she spent more time than usual on the bench with her team up by 15+ points for virtually the whole game. Donovan (13 points) also had another solid game for the Broncos. She has the ability to knock down the outside jumper, but in this game she took the ball to the rim and made some nifty moves in the paint and also got herself to the line a few times.

Going into this season, everybody in girls Division knew what "DJ" and Donovan could do. But the wild card was the younger Purcell, Sandi. And as well as she played on Tuesday night vs. Winnacunnet, she was even better in this game. Sandi is only 5'2" but man can she play. Tough, scrappy and quick are 3 words I would start with to describe her play. She's just fearless in there, getting after it on defense, running the offense like a seasoned veteran and taking it strong to the rim, going hard after rebounds. You would never guess she is only a freshman. She tallied 9 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals.

I know Merrimack isn't exactly a powerhouse team, but if the Purcell sisters and Donovan keep playing like this Alvirne will go places. And in supporting roles forwards Taylor Carbone and Maya DesFosses also played well. One of the keys to the Alvirne success in this game was second chance points. They were able to grab offensive rebounds and loose balls and turn them into points on a number of occasions.

As for Merrimack, Carter was a do-it-all player. 1st year head coach Amy Larkin-Perez has her team playing hard and seems to have them headed in the right direction. 5'8" sophomore guard Kate Cole had a quiet 1st half but in the 2nd half she played tough defense and also drilled a pair of three pointers. Senior forward Danielle Donahue and junior guard Athena Rondeau also played hard and did some nice things out there for the Tomahawks.

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