It was the result you would have expected when an 11-3 team goes up against a 3-9 squad - a lopsided victory for the favorites. That was the case on Thursday night in Hampton, where Winnacunnet improved to 12-3 on the season with a 63-27 win over arch-rival Exeter.
The Warriors led 33-12 at halftime, 52-22 after 3 quarters and starters from both teams saw very limited action in the 4th quarter. The big story of the game was that Winnacunnet 6-foot senior forward Meg Knollmeyer (a candidate for D-I Player of the Year) scored her 1,000th career point during the 1st half.
"I came in feeling under pressure and stressed about it" said Knollmeyer, who will play her college ball at Division II New York Institute of Technology. "After I got the 1,000th point I was relieved."
Winnacunnet has had a lot of great players over the years, including the likes of Tiffany Ruffin, Emily Siegart, Samnantha Corcoran, Kirsten O'Neil and Mimi MacLeod. Knollmeyer continues that tradition.
"Coming into high school, I knew it was the school that Tiffany Ruffin went to" Knollmeyer explained. "She scored 1,000 points, so I wanted to. It feels good."
There's no clear cut favorite in D-I girls right now. BG, Winnacunnet, Bedford and Londonderry all have a shot at the title, while Pinkerton and North are right there as well. Now that Knollmeyer has got her 1,000th point, the Warriors can just focus on winning another title. They lost in the finals last season to Londonderry, but they recently beat the Lancers by 20. Head coach Cassie Turcotte has taken her team to a pair of Final Fours, but is trying to win her first title since taking over for legendary head coach Ed Beattie.
"It was an awesome achievement for Meg, and I congratulate her" said Coach Turcotte. "But it was on our minds, so now we can move on."
Knollmeyer had another strong game tonight vs. Exeter, dropping a game-high 24 points. She is a beast inside. Most teams in the state can't match up with her, let alone trying to also match up with teammate Kaya Cadagan, a 5-foot-11 junior who gives the Warriors two threats in the paint. Cadagan chipped in with 8 points, while junior wing Emily Britton had 14 and senior point guard Katie Valcich had 6.
"We didn't play defense the way we should play defense" said Coach Turcotte. "I think we came in with a preconceived notion about what was going to happen. Where's the motivation to get stops when you're up by so much?"
Exeter meanwhile was led by sophomore guard Anna Pafford (team-high 10 points) and senior guard Alex Peucker (6 points). Pafford is quick, she plays her tail off and has some nifty moves around the basket to get her shot off. She is only a sophomore and is definitely a player to watch.
"Games like this against lower seeded teams are good for us to work on fundamentals and getting other players more time" said Knollmeyer.