Saturday, January 11, 2014

Bedford Girls Too Much for North to Handle

By: Jeremy Leveille
For most games the Bedford High girls basketball team plays this season they will win in a landslide. Simply put, they're just too big, too fast, too deep and too talented for most other teams to handle. Their game on Friday night vs. Nashua North was no different.

The Bulldogs got a balanced scoring effort, led by senior forwards Haley Driscoll with 14 points and McKenzie Brown with 13. Bedford led throughout, and after a great pass from sophomore point guard Bri Purcell to Nikki Tucci for a layup they went up 32-17 early in the 3rd quarter. Shortly after that it was again Purcell with a nice dish, this time hitting Driscoll in transition for a layup. That made it 36-17 Bulldogs. They kept on moving the ball, hitting shots, and just kept increasing their lead. They led 16-8 after 1, 28-15 at halftime, 50-27 after 3 and cruised to the 66-39 win.

"There's a reason why they're the best team in the state" said Nashua North head coach Ricky Oliver. "They've got the bigs, they've got the guards. Our game plan was to pack in in on defense and make them shoot it, but McKenzie Brown is too good."

This Bedford team is a pleasure to watch and to cover. They're so unselfish and always looking to make the extra pass. They play the game hard, dive on the floor for loose balls and have sound fundamentals. This group has been playing together for a long time and you can tell by the camaraderie on and off the court.

North was hanging in there early in the game, led by their young, exciting back court duo of junior Taylor Choate (10 points) and Dezi Okorie (13 points). But then one of the Titan's other key players, sophomore guard Sara Cordova (who hit 5 threes vs. BG earlier this season) left the game and did not return.

"She got hit in the nose" explained Coach Oliver. "We took her out as a precaution, so she doesn't get a concussion."

With Cordova out, North had trouble keeping up with Bedford's offensive onslaught. Senior guard Rachel Collins drove baseline and hit a tough leaner. Then Brown faced up from 18 feet on the wing, took the ball right at her defender, powering her way inside for 2. Then the Bulldogs had a perfectly executed fast break, as Ali Glennon passed it up the floor to Brown who turned and zipped it over to Courtney O'Connell for a layup. It took them about 3 seconds to score and the ball didn't hit the floor once.

To start the 3rd quarter Bedford just kept on rolling. Brown hit a jumper from 18 feet, then Purcell made a couple nice passes for layups. Caroline Conrad made a great extra pass to Tucci(8 points), who hit a her second straight mid-range jumper as the Bulldogs now led 42-23.

Bedford continued to pour it on, as Tucci dished it to Driscoll, cut to the basket and got the pass back for a layup on a perfectly executed give-and-go play. Then Purcell used a nice hesitation dribble move to get in the lane, missed the shot but Gabby Hunter was there for a strong put-back. Purcell made another great pass, this time to Hunter for a layup.

Up 23 heading to the 4th quarter, Bedford's starters went back in for one more push. Brown made a great pass from up top to Driscoll who was open underneath the bucket for 2. Then Glennon made a steal at the 3/4 court mark, took it all the way to the rim for an and-1 finish with her off-hand.

Give North credit though as they kept battling and never gave up, even down by 20+ points in the 2nd half. Okorie was active on the boards and made a nice steal. Then Choate drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key. Bedford went on to win it 66-39 to remain undefeated.

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