The second semi-final in D-I girls basketball was even better than the first. Only 3 points separated Bishop Guertin from Manchester Memorial during their regular season match up, which BG won 47-44 back on January 24. Tonight the two teams needed overtime in order to decide a winner.
Amra Elezovic scored a game-high 19 points for the Crusaders, who were making their second straight trip to the Final Four. With :32 left she went to the foul line for 2 shots with the game tied 40-40. Both shots misfired and BG then got the ball with a chance to win it at the end of regulation. A 3-point attempt by Nikki Hayner was no good and we were headed to overtime where BG outscored Memorial 9-5 to win it 49-45.
The Cardinals are back in the championship game for the first time since 2007 where they will try to win their first girls basketball state title in school history. Hayner hit a BIG three in overtime to make it 45-40 BG with just under a minute left. 6'1" junior forward Meghan Green (who recently scored her 1,000th career point) had a big and-1 finish with 2:05 left in the 4th quarter which put BG up 40-38. And Sophomore point guard Jamie Sherburne played a great all-around game with 12 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists.
"Jamie Sherburne is a winner" said Bishop Guertin head coach Scott Hazelton, who is a former McDonald's All-American player now in his first season coaching BG. "She's the hardest worker at our practices. She defended Allie Hartford full court all game, that's pretty special."
The Sherburne vs. Hartford match up at the point guard position was a fun one to watch. Hartford made a great crossover dribble move and hit a step-back 3-pointer with :02 left in the 1st quarter. Memorial lead 9-6 after 1 quarter, but the big key for them was that they slowed the game down and got BG to play their style.
BG then was able to speed the game up in the 2nd quarter, forcing some turnovers and Hayner (14 points) and Madison Gibbs (9 points) both got hot shooting it from the outside.
Elezovic had a strong game with 6 assists and 4 rebounds in addition to her 19 points. It was her solid play along with Hartford and freakishly athletic freshman Peace Kabari that allowed Memorial to stay in the game the whole way. Kabari had 8 points, 8 rebounds and 3 steals - she is flat out quicker to the rebounds and loose balls than anyone and is also able to twist and turn her body in mid-air while going up for shots, rebounds and catching passes in traffic. You don't see players that athletic in NH very often.
Memorial did a nice job of battling back in the 3rd quarter. BG was up 24-14 in the 2nd period, but the Crusaders responded with a 20-6 run to take a 34-30 lead into the 4th quarter.
This was an intense game with 2 very good teams going at it. Clearly both teams played well enough to win. However BG out-rebounded Memorial 38-29, and they shot 8/11 (73%) from the free throw line compared to Memorial who went just 3/9 (33%) from the charity stripe.