By: Tuesday and Friday
Sophomore Mia Roy scored the last 3 points for Bedford in the last 19 seconds on 3 made free throws to help Bedford advance past Londonderry and send the Lancers to Saturday’s 7:30 pm title game vs BG at SNHU. Roy was subbing in for the injured Bri Purcell who took a hard charge from Jackie Luckhardt with 1:45 remaining in the game and wobbled off the floor. Roy made the most of her end of game playing opportunity by calmly sinking the biggest 3 free throws of Bedford’s season. Sue Thomas said, “Mia sits on the bench the whole game, then hits 3 big free throws.”
Okie Dokie, you might ask why I use the term “Sleep Walks” in the heading? Well, 2nd year coach Nick Theos said something about, “bring your pillow” if these 2 teams meet again in the playoffs. I should have taken Coach Theos’ advice. What it comes down to now is the upper level teams in D1 girls are so familiar with each other in 2016. They play summer, fall, AAU and 2 to 3 regular/playoff games against each other. Even though they are opponents, on the court they are like sisters in the same family. They know each other’s tendencies….. drive and kick, dribble drive and finish, post up and go up lefty or I won’t shoot unless I’m the last option. This leads to basketball sleep overs and why it’s now mandatory to bring a pillow to a Bedford – Londonderry game.
Bedford shot 27% in the first half and Londonderry actually shot a respectable 44% in the first half. Offensive possessions became longer with more passes, the familiarity for defense takes time off the offensive possessions and before you know it we are at halftime with Londonderry winning 16 to 14. Some might say a shot clock would help and others say it’s the 10 foot longer college court and the cavernous shooting background. For you saber rattling shot clock restless NH natives out there, let me say this: The shot clock wouldn’t have helped this game last night. A shot clock wouldn’t have helped 3 point air balls that missed the rim by 2 to 5 feet, of which there were a few. It is what it is and we’re talking the #2 and #3 teams in girls’ D1.
The 3rd quarter required another pillow and a Stearns & Foster king size mattress as Bedford outscored Londonderry 4 to 2. The 2 teams shot a combined 2 for 19 in the 3rd quarter. For this Nick Theos had this to say, “We’re an even match-up. Every time we play them no one can seem to put it in the basket.” Sue Thomas added, “Playing here is hard. They can’t hear anything.”
With 3:07 left in the game Nicole Tucci hit a huge 3 at the top of the arc to give Bedford a 25 to 22 lead. With 1:45 left the collision of the game happened with 2 hardnosed players. Londonderry’s Luckhardt drove hard on the bench side baseline. Bedford’s Purcell was their defensively and they met like 2 derailed Amtraks. Both went down hard. The call was a charge on Luckhardt. She got up slowly. Purcell remained on the floor for minutes. As Purcell got up and was helped to the sidelines you could just tell with her physical body language that she wasn’t going to play if Bedford advanced to the title game. It was confirmed by Sue Thomas after the game.
Tucci said, “The second she went out we all said, let’s do it for Bri.” Kat Wells hit 2 FTs to cut the Bedford lead to 25 to 24. At 1:21 Kelsey Coffey hits a jumper to give Londonderry the lead at 26 to 25. Courtney O’Connell finishes a strong layup to give Bedford back the lead at 27 – 26 with 1:05 remaining. With 1 minute left AN ACTUAL GAME BROKE OUT. Londonderry couldn’t convert offensively and Bedford tried to protect the lead. Mia Roy hits 2 free throws with 19 seconds left to give Bedford a 29 to 26 lead. With 11 seconds left Luckhardt appropriately scores the last 2 points of her fine career on a strong finish dribble drive to make it 29 to 28 Bedford. Balcom then fouls Mia Roy. The calm sophomore sinks 1 of 2 free throws to make it 30 to 28 Bedford.
With 6 seconds left there is a time out and Londonderry has to go the length of the floor. I say to Jeremy, “If you’re Londonderry, you have to go with Big shot Brittany Roche for the DAGGER THREE!!” He does a double take. Heh, I’m just trying to get basketball fans to lift their heads from their Bedford and Londonderry pillows!!
You knew the ball was going to Luckhardt for her to make something happen. She blew by the first defender and was coming to center court, but as she tried to put it into dribble overdrive she lost the ball out of bounds in the front court and the game was over. No problem for this well respected Lancer senior. She played the game right and played it well for her career at Londonderry. “Nobody has meant more for this program over the past couple of years than Jackie Luckhardt”, said Nick Theos. I agree coach, whether or not your head is on a pillow or if you’re wide awake and watching the 2 familiar foes known as Bedford and Londonderry go at it one more time.