Lancers fall just short in final to BG
Tuesday, March, 13
By Christopher Smith
MANCHESTER — Give Londonderry a ton of credit.
The Lancers dove after every loose ball. They hit big shots in pressure situations. They brought fans at the Southern New Hampshire University gymnasium to their feet for the final three minutes of the Division 1 title game. And they fought tooth and nail to the end after their best player, Aliza Simpson, fouled out with 5:37 left.
In the end, the No. 3 seeded Lancers lost 46-43 to top-seeded Bishop Guertin last night in one of the more exciting high school championship games you will see.
Londonderry coach John Fagula is no newcomer to state championship games. He won 11 titles at Nashua High, including five straight from 1985-1989.
“I don’t know about (it being) the most exciting one but it’s certainly up there because of what we were dealing with: losing the one kid (Simpson) who has really been this plug the whole time,” Fagula said. “You’re wondering, ‘Is someone else going to (step) up?’ ... They haven’t had to do that much because (Simpson) has stayed in ballgames throughout the whole year.”
The Lancers lost their second straight Division 1 championship game, but they were in good spirits afterward and they should have been.
Londonderry’s lone senior, Lindsey Bolduc, shed no tears. She had a smile on her face from ear to ear. She knew her team had given every bit of effort it had in it — not just last night but during its whole playoff run, including knocking off five-time defending champion Winnacunnet in the Division 1 semifinals.
“I did not think we would make it this far,” Bolduc said. “I don’t think anyone did, actually. I think we’re very proud that we beat Winnacunnet. That was our main goal. I’m very proud of what we did.”
The Lancers trailed by as many as 10 points in the fourth quarter yesterday.
“Ten points and I was like, ‘Please don’t let this (become) a blowout. I don’t need that right now,’” Bolduc said.
Londonderry looked in pretty good shape when Simpson made a steal and cruised in for a layup to cut Bishop Guertin’s lead to just six points with 6:18 remaining.
But then, Simpson fouled out with 5:36 left.
“I think we knew that we could do it, it was just getting it into our heads not to be shy, not to think, ‘Oh, no, the game is over because she’s out,’” Bolduc said. “We just had to keep telling each other that we could do it and that the game wasn’t over.”
The Cardinals increased the lead to nine points with 4:11 left.
But Londonderry scored seven straight points to make it 41-39 with 1:16 remaining.
And the Lancers tied it 42-42 with 0:51 remaining when Katherine Dzenis nailed a 3-pointer.
The basketball rolled around the rim twice before finally going through the net.
The Lancers fans went wild and screamed so loud people might have heard them in Londonderry.
“I didn’t think it was going in,” Bolduc said. “But it went in and I was like, “All right. It’s tied. We’ve got this. We can do this.’”
Bishop Guertin’s Jamie Sherburne converted two foul shots with 0:43 remaining to put the Cardinals ahead 44-42.
Bolduc then drove hard to the basket and got fouled with :07 remaining.
She hit her first shot to make it a one-point game.
“I just didn’t want to airball (the second shot),” Bolduc said, chuckling a bit. “That’s all I was thinking. I just wanted to hit something and maybe one of us would get the rebound and come back up with it.”
That didn’t happen though. Bolduc missed her second foul shot and Bishop Guertin’s 6-foot forward Meghan Green grabbed the rebound.
Londonderry fouled Sherburne with :04 left. And Sherburne converted both her free throws to make it 46-43.
A desperation shot at the buzzer by Dzenis was no good.
“To find ways to continue to keep coming back and staying with what we were doing, that was impressive to me and I was really extremely proud of that,” Fagula said.
Bolduc added: “We’re a strong team as it is and we’re just losing me so next year I hope they will be right back in this position.”
Londonderry (43): Jaime King 2-0-6, Aliza Simpson 4-2-10, Katherine Dzenis 1-1-4, Lindsey Bolduc 2-4-8, Casey Evans 1-5-7, Jordan Marett 0-0-0, Elisbeth Caron 3-0-6, Taylor Collins 0-0-0, Karisa Magoon 0-0-0, Brittany Roche 0-2-2. Totals 13-14-43
Bishop Guertin (46): Jamie Sherburne 5-6-16, Gabriela Piercy 0-0-0, Cassie Dauer 1-2-4, Meghan Green 7-3-17, Nicole Hayner 1-2-5, Megan Kerutis 1-0-2, Madison Gibbs 1-0-2. Totals 16-13-46
3-pointers: L — King 2; Katherine Dzenis; BG — Hayner