Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Pride too Strong for Pesky Saints
Tuesday night's first round girls division 2 match up between Merrimack Valley and St. Thomas was a roller coaster entertaining game between two teams that left it all on the court. MV prevailed 76-54 but coach Tim Bradley of the Saints would not let his team roll over as they showed a tremendous amount of character fighting back after MV delivered what could have been a knock blow right out of the gate in the first quarter.
MV Pride coach Dave Huckins has team approach every game like a MMA fight. They come out swinging with a smothering tenacious full court press. The Pride feature 3 athletic guards, seniors Oliva Thurber, Emily Mulleavey, and junior Cassidy Huckins. Their bigs are as good as any other duo in division 2. Mary Mullen a veteran senior who is a monster on the boards with a deadly jump shot from 15 feet and in. Mayson Kimball only a sophomore is a star with a very bright future. She may be one of the best players in the state that nobody has heard of!
MV starts the game on a 10-0 run with 2 steals by Mullen and one by Huckins. The Pride finish the 1st period with a commanding 28-9 lead. Mullen and Kimball leading the way with 11 and 10 points in the quarter.
Most teams after taking the shots that MV was hitting them with would have rolled over and given up! Bradley calmly told his girls at the end of the quarter that they were better than that and that he believed in them. They just had to do what they had worked on and they were capable of getting back in the game! The Saints fought back with a full court press of the their own and started to heat up from the outside. Hitting 5 3's in the second quarter. Two by Reagan Williams, and one each from Sarah Wade, Hannah Turgeon and Nicole Anderson.After being down by 19 St. Thomas was able to turn the tables and close the lead to 3 going into halftime down 37-34, game on!
Starting the third quarter it was anyone's game. St. Thomas used a tremendous amount of energy trying to climb back in the game. They somehow had to find a way to keep it going. It wasn't meant to be, Emily Mulleavey of the Pride hit a big 3 to push the lead to 8 at the 5 minute mark of the third period. MV also a got a couple big baskets from Erin Frost coming off the bench pushing the lead back to 16 at the end of the third quarter 61-45.
The 4th quarter was the Mayson Kimball show scoring 12 of her team high 38 points! For some unknown reason the all state teams have always been picked before the playoffs. That logic makes no sense to me but with that being said I hope that the coaches in Division 2 don't penalize Kimball for being a sophomore and consider her as an all state player. This young lady at 5' 11" is the real deal. She is mobile, she can handle the ball, and is a monster on the boards. She will be playing for Lauren Moore and the New England Crusaders this summer in AAU. This will put her on the radar and get her exposure to college coaches which she deserves. I would not be surprised to see her playing at a NE-10 school in a couple years!
Kimball is not the only all state caliber player for the Pride, Mullen who finished with 21 points is almost a lock as an all state selection and she will be playing in some of the postseason All Star games. The dynamic duo is a good as any pair in D2.
This sets things up for a potential great elite 8 match up with Lebanon on Friday. Lebanon features their own dynamic duo with senior Heather King and junior Vanessa Fleury. Lebanon also has one of the best point guards in the division in Samantha MacDonald. The Pride's press versus the slick ball handling of MacDonald should be a real battle. The two teams played a overtime thriller earlier this season. NH Notebook will bring you the outcome!