Saturday, March 8, 2014

MV Beats Lebanon in OT Thriller 67-61

Lebanon and Merrimack Valley girls basketball team met earlier this season with Lebanon prevailing at home beating Merrimack Valley in overtime. Friday night's match up had a lot more on the line with the winner earning the right to a final four appearance next Monday at Southern New Hampshire University.

With so much on the line both teams would be hard pressed to match the excitement of the first meeting. These two teams not only matched the first meeting but some how they were able to take the excitement of this game to a whole new level.

With 2 just seconds left on the clock and Lebanon holding on to a 2 point lead 53-51 Mary Mullen the 4 year varsity forward was on the foul line needing to make 2 shots to send the game into overtime.

The pressure doesn't get any bigger than this moment. Mary is not a stranger to playing on the big stage. As a ninth grader Mary played on the elite New England Crusader team that finished 3rd in the country at the AAU nationals in Cincinnati Ohio. She also has traveled to New York City and played against some of the best teenage girl talent on the East Coast at the prestigious Rose Classic.

"Just another day" Mary said, "we work on this every day, foul shots after practice. I have worked a long time shooting day after day, I was ready for this moment."

Mary did not let her team down. After coach Stevenson of Lebanon called a time out to try to ice Mary it did not work because Mary has ice water running through her veins, she calmly stepped to the line and nailed 2 foul shots!

Merrimack Valley had trailed the entire game, but now it's going to overtime tied 53-53.

This was an even match up on paper. The only very slight edge had to go to Lebanon with their dynamic senior point guard Samantha MacDonald. MacDonald scored 9 of her team high 22 points in the first quarter.

With both teams using their full court pressure MacDonald was the difference maker getting Lebanon out to a comfortable 17 to 7 1st quarter lead. To make things even tougher for MV their best guard defender Emily Mulleavey picked up her 3rd foul in the 2nd quarter forcing Coach Huckins to go the his bench and bring in senior Erin Frost and sophomore Sammi Osborne.

Lebanon was able to maintain that 10 point margin for most of the 2nd quarter until Frost gave MV a big lift hitting a jump shot and a 3 pointer to close the lead to 5. Ryleigh Stearns was able to give Lebanon a 7 point lead hitting a nice shot as time was running out in the 1st half. Lebanon takes a 30- 23 lead into halftime.

The 1st half was played at a high pace with both teams being physical and not backing down. Things slowed down in the third period when Lebanon forward Heather King was forced to sit down after picking up her third foul.

Lebanon with King their 2nd leading scorer with 18 points on the bench had to slow the pace down and were only able to score 9 points in the 3rd. MV didn't take advantage of the slower pace and were only able to manage 5 points of their own.

Going into the 4th Lebanon still had a comfortable 11 point lead 39-28. MV offense was playing way below their season average. Mullen only had 4 points at that point in the game and their number one threat Mayson Kimball had 12. It was a combination of the tough defense played by Lebanon and the ball just not falling.

Coach Huckins of MV told his team before the 4th " Lebanon has had their runs now it is our turn!" Coach Huckins has his girls drinking the Kool Aide. You can see how they respond to him, they believe in their coach and they go out a lay it on the line for him.

Over the last 12 minutes of the game Huckins team goes on fire. Scoring 25 points in the 4th and other 12 in overtime. Cassidy Huckins coach's daughter and the little 5' 2" sophomore Sammi Osburne started firing it up from behind the 3 point arch and they were hitting nothing but net. Huckins hits 3, Osborne 2, and a Mary Mullen jump shot at the 4:30 mark cuts the lead to 2.

Lebanon responds led by their 2 seniors MacDonald and King. MacDonald scoring 5 and King 6 in the period. The game is tied 51-51 with 22.6 on the clock when MacDonald drives the ball the length of the court to put Lebanon up 2.

Mary Mullen scored just 13 points on the night but she scored 8 in the 4th and 2 foul shots with the season on the line to get the game into overtime.

Lebanon didn't have a chance in OT. Mullen had blown the roof off the gym and the momentum needle was fully in MV's favor.

Emily Mulleavey, the defensive specialist hits a 3, followed by another 3 by Huckins, and Kimball (who didn't score in the 3rd or 4th) scores 6 in overtime. One spectator told me that this was the loudest this gym has been in 20 years. MV scored 28 points in the first 24 minutes of the game and 39 points in the last 12 minutes.

Coach Huckins, that was a nice little run your girls went on.

Coach Marsh and Lebanon have nothing to feel bad about, they played a great game. They just ran into a team that got hot at the right time and is starting to get a little bit of a Cinderella feel about them.

Merrimack Valley and Milford Monday at SNHU. Cinderella has a few more dances left on her card.

No comments:

Post a Comment