Going into the season Winnacunnet had a 77 game winning streak, they were coming off 5 straight championships and were the favorites to make it 6 in a row. But in December when BG went on the road and ran Londonderry out of their own gym they made a statement that they were a team to be reckoned with. Then a couple weeks later they beat Winnacunnet to end the Warrior's win streak and all of a sudden they were serious title contenders. But on Saturday night at SNHU they went from being contenders to being champions, as they defeated Londonderry (who has gotten MUCH better since that loss back in December) 46-43 to capture their first ever girls basketball state championship.
Bishop Guertin won the D-I boys state title last year. Their football team wins it basically every year. And now in head coach Scott Hazelton's first year at the helm the girls team is also taking home the hardware. Junior forward Meghan Green (who recently scored her 1,000th career point) had 16 points and 16 rebounds, and sophomore point guard Jamie Sherburne also had 16 points in the win as she battled hard all game against Londonderry sophomore point guard Aliza Simpson (10 points) who fouled out with 5:37 left to play.
Keep reading for the rest of the recap. Here are the video highlights and post-game interview.
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Guertin led virtually the entire game, and went up 41-32 with just 3:00 left to play. But the Lancers weren't ready to give up yet, as Jaime King and Katherine Dzenis hit threes late and with 44.6 seconds left it was all tied up 42-42. BG struggled with their FT's in the 2nd half but made just enough of them to get the win, and Londonderry senior Lindsey Bolduc (who is only 5'7" but she had 12 rebounds) missed a free throw that would have tied it back up. For BG freshman guard Megan Kerutis returned to the lineup after suffering a concussion in the loss to Winnacunnet a couple weeks ago. She played tough defense on the ball and hit a big pull-up jumper to put the Cardinals up 34-25 after 3 quarters.
Londonderry gave it everything they had and they deserve a lot of credit for beating Winnacunnet in the semi-finals and making it this far with a team that graduated all 5 of their starters from last season. The Lancers had just 1 senior (Bolduc) on the roster and at one point during tonight's game they had 3 sophomores and 2 freshman on the floor. They also won the JV tournament championship for the second year in a row so you know this will be a dangerous team for the next few years as well. And who knows, if Simpson doesn't foul out maybe they would have won this game.
On thing is for sure - the officials called this game WAY too tightly. There was WAY too many ticky tack fouls, on both sides. There were a total of 7 players who had 2 fouls or more at halftime. For the game BG was whistled for 20 fouls and Londonderry was called for 24. I don't know if the solution is getting rid of 3 man officiating crews or maybe just telling these refs to LET THEM PLAY, but something has to give. This was a good game. It could have been a GREAT game though if the refs could have LET THEM PLAY. That way the stars wouldn't have been in foul trouble so much and if there wasn't a foul being called on every play then there would have been a much better flow to the game.
As for BG this is the conclusion of a dream season for them. Everything fell into place for the Cardinals. They rotated 7 girls all year long and over the courser of the season those 7 players developed some GREAT chemistry together, especially Green and Sherburne who always look for each other in the half court or on the break. Nicole Hayner hit a big three early to put Guertin up 7-0, Cassie Dauer (the only senior on the roster) was tough on the boards, and hustled all over the floor and did the little things well all game. Kerutis and Gigi Piercy were tough on defense and brought tons of energy. Just think how good this team would have been if Paige Parkinson was allowed to play! For those who aren't aware of Parkinson's situation, where have you been all season? The 5'11" sophomore forward was denied a waiver to play after transferring from Nashua North. She'll be eligible to play next year though, and BG will be the favorites to repeat as champs. Hazelton will try to make it 2 titles in his first 2 years as coach, a feat that was just accomplished last night in D-II by Souhegan girls coach Jeremy Faulkner.
Londonderry will miss Bolduc, but they have a very good young nucleus including Simpson, King, Casey Evans Driscoll, Dzenis, Elisabeth Caron (who had a couple big baskets and some tough rebounds in the 2nd half of this game), Taylor Collins, Jordan Marett and Brittany Roche. The chances are pretty good that it will be these same 2 teams back in the finals next season.