Sunday, February 14, 2016

New Hampton Girls Top Lawrence in a Nail-Biter

It's no secret that many of New Hampshire's top local basketball talent now resides in the prep school ranks, as opposed to the NHIAA. Two of the region's top prep school girls basketball teams went at it on Saturday afternoon, as New Hampton (15-4 coming in) traveled to Groton, MA to take on Lawrence Academy (14-2 coming in).

Both teams have multiple standout players from NH. Included are University of Miami commit Rebecca Ripley (Stratham, NH), Eva Hodgson (Rindge, NH), Kaitlyn Petrocelli (Merrimack, NH) and Hannah Cuthbertson (Hudson, NH) for New Hampton, and Lawrence Academy's Abby Streeter (Nashua, NH) and Nicolette Arnold (Derry, NH).

It was a highly competitive game, with various ties and lead changes. Lawrence took the lead late, but New Hampton won it with a pair of clutch baskets - one on an assist by Hodgson and the other on a put-back by Ripley (pictured above). Hodgson iced it with a pair of free throws, and the Huskies notch a quality win on the road 53-47.

Hodgson tallied 11 points, 5 assists and just 1 turnover. The sophomore guard helped lead Conant High to an undefeated season and D-III title last year as a freshman. Now she's at New Hampton, and holds scholarship offers from Fordham, Holy Cross and New Hampshire.

Hodgson hit a 3 off the catch from the right wing, as the Huskies extended their lead to 39-32 with 11:16 left in the 2nd half. She has a very smooth release off the catch, fundamentally sound. It was the largest lead either team had all game. Lawrence fought back, as Arnold drove into the lane and hit a floater to cut the New Hampton lead to 39-38 with 8:35 remaining, capping a 6-0 run by the Spartans. Senior guard Emily Pratt drained a pull-up jumper from 18 feet to put Lawrence back on top 47-46.

New Hampton ball, trying to answer back. Hodgson gets the ball in the corner with a defender closing out - she uses an up-fake to get by her defender, drives baseline and makes a nice dish inside to a teammate for what would turn out to be the winning layup. That put the Huskies back on top 48-47 with 2:47 remaining.

New Hampton did a good job of locking down defensively down the stretch, holding Lawrence scoreless for the last 3 minutes of the game. It did help the Huskies cause that Lawrence's star big, 6-foot-3 junior Erin Antosh (who dominated this game at times) fouled out with 2:26 left to play.

Arnold missed a 3-pointer with 1:05 left and Lawrence trailing 49-47. Then Ripley converted a strong put-back to make it 51-47 Huskies with just 35 seconds left in regulation. Hodgson added a pair of foul shots late, and New Hampton wins it 53-47.

Hodgson finished with 11, while Ripley tallied 5 points, Streeter chipped in with 8 and Arnold had 2. Cuthbertson was held scoreless but played solid defense. Petrocelli sat this game out with an ACL injury which was suffered early in the season. She may need surgery. New Hampton could have definitely used Petrocelli in this game so they'd be better able to match up with Antosh. With Petrocelli out, Lawrence had a definite size advantage.

Hodgson scored the game's first bucket when she made a strong drive along the baseline and finish through contact to put the Huskies ahead 2-0. Lawrence played a zone defense all game, which definitely gave New Hampton problems at times. Both teams were cold offensively early on - with 10:40 left in the 1st half it was still just 5-5.

With the score tied 8-8, Hodgson drilled a 3-pointer off the catch from the top of the key with just 1 seconds left on the shot clock. That's right, prep schools have a shot clock, which is the way the game of basketball is meant to be played.

Streeter, a 5-foot-10 wing, connected on a 3-pointer off the catch from the left wing to put Lawrence back on top 15-12. Streeter again showed a smooth stroke from the outside, hitting another 3 off the catch, this one from the left wing to cut the New Hampton lead to 22-20 with 2:35 left in the 1st half. The teams were tied 28-28 at halftime.

Ripley made a nice block coming from the weak side early in the 2nd half. Antosh continued to dominate inside for Lawrence to keep them in the game. Then after a scoreless first half, Ripley finally got on the scoreboard by sinking a 3-pointer from the top of the key off the catch against the Lawrence zone defense. The Spartans kept battling, as Streeter ran the floor for a transition layup.

It was a hard fought game between two good teams, with lots of local talent on display.

No comments:

Post a Comment