Friday, March 11, 2011

#1 Seed Souhegan Girls Avoid Upset, Defeat #12 Seed John Stark

The Souhegan High girls basketball team improved to 21-0 on the season with a 43-39 victory over John Stark on Thursday evening at SNHU in the D-II semi-finals.

Souhegan trailed in this game for nearly the entire game. But thanks to some big shots down the stretch by Jane White, Christan Wojtas, Mickenzee Larivee and Lauren Cordts, the Sabers were able to get the comeback win.

Nearly a Big-Time Upset
Stark jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead, with senior guard Katie Cullerot scoring all 7 points. Souhegan answered back with an 8-0 run, led by back-to-back three-pointers by Wojtas and then a pull-up jumper from 18 feet by White. Stark answered back though, ending the 1st quarter on a 6-0 run to lead 13-8.

After a three by White cut the Generals lead to 13-11, Stark answered back to take a 21-13 lead. Erica Vaillancourt hit a big three from the top of the key for Stark, and sophomore forward Jillian Gilman (16 rebounds) was doing a very nice job on the boards. Another three by White cut the lead to 21-16 at halftime.

Souhegan then tied the game up at 23-23 in the 3rd. Stark was able to hold onto a 29-27 lead heading into the 4th. Becca Titcomb (10 points) was doing a nice job on both ends of the floor for the Generals.

The teams then exchanged leads for the next couple minutes. Larivee made 2 FT's to put Souhegan up 34-32 with 3:00 left. Cullerot then made a nice drive and finish with the left hand to tie it back up at 34-34. Stark then had a tough call go against them. Gilman caught the ball in the post, turned and shot it. Nothing wrong with the play that she made, yet she was called for an offensive foul. definitely a head-scratcher.

With the game tied up at 34-34, Souhegan then hit back-to-back jump shots which turned out to be the difference (along with another FT later by Larivee). Wojtas (who was battling a stomach bug which also sidelined junior forward Ceara McNamara) hit a jump shot from 15 feet on the baseline. Then White hit a BIG three-pointer to put the Sabers up 39-34 with 1:10 remaining.

"I might be biased, but I think Jane should be Player of the Year" said Coach Faulkner.

Just when it looked like it might be all over Cullerot made a hard rive to the basket and and-1 finish. That cut the Souhegan lead to just 3. They sent Larivee (only a freshman) to the line for 2. She missed the first shot, which made the second shot HUGE. If she could make the second shot it would make it a 2 possession game with only about 8 seconds left. Larivee made the shot though and it was 43-39 Sabers. Game over.

Souhegan Had Trouble with Stark Zone
"We were doing too much dribbling and not enough passing against their zone" said Souhegan head coach Jeremy Falkner. "Tonight was out lowest scoring game of the season."

The tempo was also in John Stark's favor. They're a half court team, and Souhegan is a team that wants to run. But for the game's first 3 quarters it was definitely a half court game, which played into Stark's hands.

"We've been using that zone for the last 2 games" said Cullerot, who had a game-high 20 points. "We were just trying to keep their 2 best scorers (White and Wojtas) out of the paint and force them to take outside shots."

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