On Monday night in Nashua it was a rematch of last year's girls D-I title game between Bedford and Bishop Guertin. In last year's finals Bedford won by just 1 point 39-38, but BG graduated 3 starters Meghan Green, Nicole Hayner and Madison Gibbs (all 3 are playing in college, Green and Hayner at D-I schools) whereas Bedford returns their top 7 players from last year (all 7 of them are likely future college players). So needless to say Bedford was definitely the favorite to win this time. Nobody was surprised that the Bulldogs won on Monday night, but it was surprising that they won in such convincing fashion, 48-25.
Bedford led 22-0 before BG finally got on the board. The Cardinals shot 0/12 from the free throw line in the 1st half. Senior shooting guard Rachel Collins was on fire, going off for 16 points in the 1st half. Bedford's big front line of 5'10" Haley Driscoll, 5'11" Ali Glennon and 6'1" McKenzie Brown made it tough for BG to get any good looks in the paint, plus Gabby Hunter came off the bench and grabbed 12 rebounds.
"The tip play worked, and that really got us going" said Collins, referring to the play off the opening tip-off where Brown tapped it to Glennon, who immediately zipped a cross court pass over to a cutting Collins, hitting her right in stride for an easy layup. "We did the same play in our first game too. Everyone came out really strong for us."
On the next time down the floor Brown hit a nice turnaround bank shot, then Brown drilled a jumper from the elbow to make it 6-0. BG called timeout, and they came out of it in a match up zone. Collins made them pay by connecting on a 3-pointer from the top of the key. Glennon then drove to the rim, hit a reverse layup and it was 11-0 Bedford with 3:58 left in the 1st quarter.
BG senior point guard Jamie Sherburne was trying to get her team back in it, but Bedford sophomore point guard Bri Purcell was playing tough on the ball defense to force a 5 second violation. Collins then hit an 18-footer off a kick out by Glennon, and it was 13-0 Bulldogs after 1 quarter.
In the 2nd quarter the Bedford run continued. Collins hit another 18-footer, then Hunter drilled a 15-footer of her own from the baseline. Then Collins again hit a jumper, this time a 3-pointer out of a baseline out of bounds play. Brown capped the run with a strong put-back to make it 22-0 Bedford.
BG finally got on the board as Sherburne (held to just 3 points) connected on a pull-up jumper with 3:50 left in the 1st half. Bedford just continued to put on a clinic, though. Against BG's full court press, Purcell threw it over to Brown in the middle of the floor who immediately turned and dished it to Collins in stride for a layup. This Bedford team has great chemistry, they're unselfish, they move the ball well and they're fun to watch. How deep and talented are they? Well, Driscoll was a first team all-state player last year in D-I - she didn't score a single point on Monday night yet Bedford still won by 23.
"They don't know how many points they get, they never ask how many points they get because they don't care" said Bedford head coach Sue Thomas. "They all just feed off each other. Someone always steps up, like Gabby with 12 rebounds tonight. This year on defense it's all about stopping dribble penetration, trapping and being relentless."
Glennon then made a nice up-and-under move, finished inside and Bedford was up 30-6 at halftime.
Bedford switched to a zone in the 3rd quarter. BG was moving the ball well against it but wasn't able to get quality looks. Glennon (10 points) made a couple more nice buckets, one on a nice drop step and turnaround leaner, then later slashed through the defense and banked in an off balance shot in the lane. That made it 39-12 Bedford. The Bulldogs led 39-14 after 3, and cruised from there to the 48-25 victory.
BG is a good team, they already have 2 quality wins against Salem and Nashua North (both were on the road). The Cardinals however were going against a team that may be simply on another level than anyone else in New Hampshire this year. Londonderry, Pinkerton, Alvirne, Salem, North and BG are all good teams, but none of them will be favored when they take on Bedford.
The Bulldogs will get a tough test this Friday however. They will be playing in a holiday tournament in Portland against McAuley High of Maine which according to Coach Thomas has a 56 game winning streak.