By: Ross Laorenza
Saturday at SNHU featured four teams searching for a title, with one trying to cement their legacy in New Hampshire Highschool sports history. The D-III match-up between Monadnock and Contant was a hard-fought game won by the Huskies 44-36. Sunapee won their third straight D-IV title in the second game, 72-59 over Colebrook.
Monadnock wins D-III crown
The Monadnock girls are the 2017 NHIAA D-III champs after a 44-36 win over Conant. A stout defensive effort by Lydia Randall and Julia Tindell held Contant to three points in the second quarter and opened up what had been a back-and-forth affair. Also starting for Monadnock was Maura Hart, Caitlyn Boucher, and Cassie Walker. Conant countered with Meghan Wheeler, Daria Aho, Taylor Banish, Mariah Chamberlain and Grace Chadbourne.
Conant got on the board first when Wheeler fed Aho inside for a basket, and-1. A 5-0 run by Monadnock with shots from Tindell and Hart, but them up 5-3. Meghan Wheeler splashed home a three pointer giving the Orioles a new lead. Rebounding was key in the game. Monadnock pulled down 15 offensive rebounds leading to second chance opportunities. Julia Randal grabbed one such chance and scored on a putback. A three from Aho pushed Conant out in front 9-7.
After a free throw from Randall, Abigail May launched a three pointer to give Conant an 11-9 edge. Her outside shooting was a big part of the first half. Daria Aho used a nice ball-fake to give herself room for an open look at three. She made it. Randal grabbed another offensive board and scored to give Monadnock a 13-12 lead after one.
Monadnock opened the second quarter with an 8-0 run including two more threes from Abby May. With half the quarter gone they held a 21-12 advantage. Meghan Wheeler started pressuring the inside defender of Monadnock got for to the line twice. She scored Conant's only three points of the quarter. Two free throws from Randal and a baskets from Cassie Walker gave Monadnock a 25-15 lead at halftime.
The second quarter made all the difference. Contant really struggled shooting (29.7%) the whole game and could not mount a big enough comeback. Tindell and Randall got in foulf trouble late in the third, with Tindell eventually fouling out, but the game was in hand by then. Final score, Monadnock: 44, Conant: 36.
Julia Tindell commented on the team approach in the second half," He (Coach Dutilley) said 5 people defensive rebound and then offensive rebound when you can. We didn't want to dribble to early, so they would come up to us and out pressure on us."
Monadnock's approach led to a 32-24 advantage on the glass. Lydia Randal led all scorers with 16 points and 9 rebounds. Cassie Walker finished with 10 points, Abigail May with 9 point and Julia Tindell with 6 points and 8 rebounds.
Daria Aho led the Orioles with 12 points and 7 rebounds. Meghan Wheeler finished with 8 points and 4 rebounds in the loss.
Sunapee wins third straight D-IV title
The Sunapee Lakers won their 72 consecutive game enroute to their third straight D-IV basketball crown. It was an impressive 79-52 win. Katie Frederick was an absolute force scoring 26 points and pulling down 28 rebounds. All five Laker starters finished with double-digit points. Sydney Clark (13 points, 6 rebounds). Meghan Frederick (12 points). Faith Larpenter (13 points, 8 rebounds). Mary Grzanna (11 points, 7 rebounds).
"Every year we've had a theme," said Head coach Time LaTorra. "When these guys started it was about buying in, last year it was about appreciating-what we have and all the things that go along with it, and this year the theme was leave your legacy. And we never once spoke about the legacy bring what happens on the court. A legacy is about how you are going to be remembered as a person, as a student and as a role model for these young kids that want to play basketball as well. Tonight before the game was the first time we talked about leaving the legacy as a basketball player and giving one lasting impression; a summary of all the hard work that these kids have out in throughout their entire career, and they certainly did they tonight. And I'm so proud of them."
This will be a team that is remembered for a long time. They made basketball look effortless, while continuing to do all the right things off the court. On winning with Sunapee's core group Katie Frederick had this to say,"It's incredible. They're all my best friends. I love them all some much. I'm smiling, I can't stop smiling. It feels so, so lucky to get to share this with some of my favorite people."
From SNHU; Ross Laorenza: New Hampshire Notebook