Thursday night's Championship game for the 40th annual Capital City holiday tournament featured 2 local teams that are undefeated in early season division play. The Bow Falcons are 6-0 in division 3 and have won every game by double digits. Kearsarge Cougars are 5-0 in division 2 and is tied for 1st place.
This girls tournament featured 8 teams all from the Concord area playing for bragging rights of who is king of the hill in girls basketball in the Capital City.
Both teams won 2 games to team reach the finals. Bow beat a very tough Merrimack Valley team in the first round 38-25. In the second round they ran into a Bishop Brady team that came close to pulling off a huge upset coming up just short losing to Bow 29-27. Kearsarge fell behind John Stark 17-11 after one quarter and then shook off the Christmas dinner and went on a 37-6 run over the next two quarters to pull off a 57-29 first round victory. Kearsarge played a much improved Pembroke team who beat Concord in the first round. Kearsarge jumped on the Pembroke girls early but the pesky Spartans hung around to the end with Kearsarge prevailing 46-33
This set up a championship game with both teams trying to keep their perfect records in tact going into the new year. This was a classic match up of size versus speed. Bow features all state point guard Lindsey Nerbonne and four other starters between 5'10" to 6'0". Kearsarge tallest starter is 5' 8" it wasn't hard to figure out what Bow's game plan would be. Right from the opening tap Bow took advantage of their size and pounded the ball inside with good success. They jumped out to an early lead and along with a very tight officials whistle it looked like Bow was just to big and would dominate the smaller Kearsarge squad.
Just in the nick of time Brittney Page the all state Cougar guard/forward hit 3 huge shots from long distance scoring 9 of her team high 14 points keeping Kearsarge in the game. With one point separating the 2 teams after one quarter the game settled down with both teams punching and counter punching, neither team could take control of the game.
Kearsarge up 32-28 earlier in the fourth quarter Bow lead by Nerbonne and her team high 14 points went on a 8-0 run going up 36-32 and taking control of the game with 4 minutes to play. The Cougars were staggered but still standing. Bow with the ball and chance to go up by 6 when Kearsarge guard Morgan Church came up with a big steal and found tournament MVP Katie Levesque under the basket. Levesque was fouled and went to the line for 2 shots. Making the first Kearsarge down by 3. The second shot hits the front of the rim and Levesque tips the rebound to a teammate. A quick ball rotation gets the ball back to Katie and hits a layup.
Kearsarge down by one makes a big defensive stop and Church after struggling with her shot all game hits a big left handed runner putting Kearsarge up by one. The momentum shifts back to Kearsarge when Levesque puts the nail in the coffin when she gets a nifty bounce pass through traffic from Church to hit a lay up and one foul shot. Molly Giles hits another nice jumper in the lane to put the game out of reach and give the Lady Cougars from Kearsarge their first Capital City Holiday Tournament Championship.
Jill Chergey, Ashlie Tucker, and Lindsey Nerbonne represented Bow , while Morgan Church, Brittney Page, and Katie Levesque from Kearsarge made the all tournament team. Katie Levesque at 5'5" was the tournament MVP. She scored 18 points her first round game and constantly out rebounded girls 5 and 6 inches taller than her the whole tournament. Don't be fooled by the size of the dog it's the bite that gets you!
Both Bow and Kearsarge have a lot to look forward to in their league play. Neither team is on the short list of potential state champions but they are both teams that are capable of doing a lot of damage come tournament time.