Sunday, February 6, 2011

Pinkerton Girls Topple a Talented but Shorthanded BG Team


Pinkerton vs. BG in girls basketball. This had the potential to be a hotly contested battle between two winning teams, both with a Player of the Year candidate (Katherine Harris of Pinkerton and BG's Meghan Green). Harris was on fire early, finishing with a team-high 16 points to go with 5 assists and 3 steals. Green meanwhile sat out hr second straight game with an ankle injury.

Cardinals senior forward Jenny Fallon picked up the slack with a game-high 16 points, 9 rebounds and 3 steals. But in the end Pinkerton was too strong, as they went on the road and defeated Bishop Guertin 44-26 on Saturday afternoon in Nashua.

Quick Start out of Gate for Harris, Astros
Harris is best known as a lock down defender and a point guard who distributes the basketball. But if this year's Pinkerton squad has a weakness, it is that they lack offensive firepower. So Harris at times has taken on more of a scoring role. She was hitting all of her shots early, scoring 7 points in the game's first 2 minutes.

Guertin meanwhile was lost offensively without Green in the lineup. They scored just 5 points in the 1st quarter and only 2 in the 2nd frame. Fallon had all 7 of BG's 1st half points. It wasn't until 4:42 were left in the 3rd quarter when freshman guard Jamie Sherburne hit a pair of free throws that someone on BG besides Fallon got in the scoring column.

As much as BG was struggling offensively, there's no denying that Pinkerton is a very good defensive basketball team, especially Harris who is the best defender in NH. Astros head coach John Barry really preaches team defense to his players.

"I've known Coach Barry since the 3rd grade" said Harris, who is the #4 ranked player in the NHIAA Class of 2011. "He's always stressed the importance of defense to us. I try to get the other team's players off the game when I guard them."

Right before the Sherburne free throws, Pinkerton senior guard Danielle Kimball (who was 0/5 shooting up until then) hit a three-pointer off of some good ball movement by the Astros. The shot gave Pinkerton a 25-7 lead early in the 3rd quarter, which was their largest of the game.


3rd Quarter Comeback for Cardinals
After the three by Kimball, BG went on a 13-1 run the rest of the quarter, and heading to the 4th they were right back in the game only trailing 26-20. The Cardinals were able to push the basketball and get the game to be played at a faster pace. Sherburne was able to get the run started with her 2 free throws, which came courtesy of an outstanding pass down court by sophomore Madison Gibbs. Gibbs then made another nice pass, with an entry pass to the post for Fallon for an and-1 finish. Sherburne then made back-to-back baskets inside, and just like that it was a 26-20 ballgame.

"We didn't get complacent in the 3rd quarter" said Coach Barry. "They just started grabbing us more. It's hard to shoot and to score the basketball when you're getting grabbed and hacked on every play. It was a very physical game"


Astros Regain Control in 4th, Cruise to Victory
With Green out of the lineup for BG, a 26-20 game is definitely closer than I think anyone in the gym expected this game to be. So give the Cardinal girls credit for that. But in the 4th quarter the Pinkerton depth played a key role. In the 1st half they sat their starters quite a bit with the big lead, going with a 10 player rotation. BG meanwhile was only playing 7 girls, with their 5 starters (Gibbs, Fallon, Sherburne, Nikki Hayner and Lauren Stelmash) all playing big minutes. As a result the Astros outscored Guertin 18-6 in the 4th quarter to seal the win.

"I was proud of the way we came back in the 3rd quarter" said Guertin head coach Kevin Gibbs. "Then we just ran out of gas in the tank. We were not only playing without Meghan, but also Lindsay Spirito who suffered a concussion in the Trinity game."

Freshman guard Colleen Fortier hit a three-pointer to start the 4th quarter from the left wing which put an end to the BG run and made it a 29-20 game. That was a big shot, and really took the win out of the Cardinal's sails. Down the stretch though, it was the senior back court of Harris, Kimball and Michelle Reid whose steady play preserved the win.

"Katherine is a very tough, intelligent player She is second in her class at Pinkerton" said Barry. "All 3 of my senior captains are very intelligent players, who make good decisions with the basketball."

As well as G played in the 3rd quarter, they will need Green back in the lineup if they want to contend for a top 8 seed in the D-I playoffs.

"Meghan will be back for Tuesday night against Dover" said Coach Gibbs. "That is a must-win game for us. We want to not only get a top 8 seed, but hopefully a top 7 seed so that we can avoid playing Winnacunnet in the first round. I think that if we do that we'll have a shot at making the final four."


Free Throws Were Critical for Astros
Here's a stat for you to chew on. Pinkerton went 22/32 from the foul line, 69%. BG shot just 4/10 from the charity stripe, 40%. So Pinkerton MADE more than twice as many free throws as Guertin ATTEMPTED. Yikes! That's why they were able to get the win despite only making 9 of the 46 field goals they attempted. That's only 19.5%. Ouch!

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