After the frustration and upset connected with the Londonderry High girls’ basketball squad’s loss to the rival Pinkerton Academy crew at LHS two Fridays ago had ebbed away, coach John Fagula’s Lady Lancers got back down to the business of winning.
With star senior guard Aliza Simpson still out of the LHS lineup with an injured right knee, the team is putting loads of effort into making itself go without its prime catalyst on the court. And sometimes the final products have been impressive, while others times, not so much. Regardless of any artistic merits or the lack thereof, however, the Londonderry crew ended last week with a stellar 11-1 record.
There’s no rule written that a victory has to be aesthetically pleasing to count, and the Lady Lancers benefitted from that fact Tuesday night, Feb. 4, at home against the Nashua North Lady Titans.
Londonderry snared a 51-38 win over the North crew, which began the night with a strong 7-2 record. In the wake of their daunting loss to Pinkerton in Ball Family Trophy play the previous Friday night, the fact that the Lady Lancers claimed a win over North was significant. But the host team’s performance was a bit ugly, particularly during the sloppy first half.
Fagula’s force netted 14 of the first 16 points, and it looked as though a blowout was in the offing. But some incredibly sloppy passing, weak rebounding, and a lack of focus the rest of the way helped North score six of the last eight points of the period to leave LHS with a 16-8 lead going into period two.
The second quarter was back and forth all the way, with the Lady Titans outscoring their hosts by a 14-9 margin to go to halftime with the Lady Lancers grasping a slim, 25-22 advantage.
But the Londonderry crew left Fagula with some positives – despite a total of 26 turnovers on the night – by winning the third and fourth quarters to snag the victory.
The Lady Lancers led by seven points (38-31) going into quarter four after outscoring their guests by a 13-9 margin in the third period, and they won the fourth quarter by a 13-7 tally as they put the win to bed.
Junior forward Casey Evans paced the LHS charge with 17 points and seven rebounds, and freshman guard Kelsey Coffey was good for 11 points. The talented ninth grader sank a couple of huge three-point shots – the last bucket of the third quarter and the first of the fourth – to give Londonderry the massive boost it needed.
“There’s no question that we needed this win tonight. We needed a positive after the loss the other night,” said Fagula. “To lose two in a row would have put some questions in some people’s minds.”
And the Lancer girls built upon that victory beautifully, traveling to the seacoast Thursday, Feb. 6, and collecting a 66-39 walloping of the host Exeter High Lady Blue Hawks.
The visitors led 15-10 after one quarter, and by halftime their advantage had grown to 11 points at 27-16.
The locals then outscored their hosts by a 39-23 margin in the second half to snare the lopsided win.
A total of 10 players contributed points to the fine LHS win, with junior forwards Tara Burke (21 points) and Evans (10) leading the charge and senior Taylor Collins tallying eight. Ashley Berube notched 13 rebounds and five blocked shots, and court general Jackie Luckhardt dished out nine assists.