A pleasing defeat of a Manchester opponent followed by a lopsided loss to the defending Division I state champions from Nashua left the youthful Londonderry High girls’ basketball squad contemplating a 1-5 league record coming into this week.
After starting their Division I season at 0-4 and going 0-6 overall through holiday tournament play, the Lady Lancers got into the win column with a 52-44 defeat of the host Trinity High Pioneers in the first 2018 contest for both squads in Manchester on the evening of Tuesday, Jan. 2.
Londonderry won the first, second, and (most importantly) fourth quarters in bagging the victory. Coach Nick Theos’ crew led 14-5 after one quarter had been completed and 24-13 at halftime. The Lady Pioneers outscored the locals 16-9 in the third quarter and trailed by a mere four points at 33-29 moving into the fourth.
But the Lady Lancers outscored their hosts 19-13 in the final stanza en route to their first success of the winter.
Excellent performances came from many sources, including high scorer Colleen Furlong (17 points), Courtney Shay (15), and Charlotte Sullivan (12 points and 12 rebounds).
“Colleen had three, three-pointers in the game and went 4-4 from the foul line in the fourth quarter,” said Theos. “We had a double-digit lead in the third quarter until Trinity hit four threes in that quarter to cut the lead to two. But key baskets by Shay and a big three by Ashley Rourke helped extend the lead in the fourth.”
With its league record having improved to 1-4 with the win, coach Theos had quite a few positives to contemplate prior to his squad’s Friday trip to Nashua to take on the two-time defending Division I champion Bishop Guertin Lady Cardinals.
“Our first win, and I’m glad the girls are learning how to compete coming down the stretch of games,” he said. “We are getting better at executing in the crucial moments of games, and that should help us as the season progresses.”
It was, however, no real surprise that the LHS troop got walloped by a 63-23 contest in the Friday night game at Guertin in Nashua because Londonderry had had a very similar outcome against that opponent in the Commonwealth Holiday Classic in Massachusetts during the Christmas break.
The Lancers were right with their hosts after one period, trailing by just four points at 13-9. But the Lady Cardinals had their advantage up to a full 18 points at 31-13 by halftime, and by the close of three stanzas they led by some 27 points at 49-22 and a victory was pretty much in the proverbial bag for the Nashuans.
“They beat us from the second quarter on,” lamented Theos. “They trapped us, put us in bad spots, and turned us over. They also have (standout guard Erin) Carney, who scored 30 points by herself. A point-guard who is young but strong, can dish but can also score, she is going to be tough for anyone to deal with.”
Londonderry received seven points from Rourke and five from Shay on the tough night, but Theos was still hopeful as his crew came into this week facing contests with Concord (at home on Tuesday the ninth, after Londonderry Times press time) and then on the road in Exeter on Friday Jan. 12.
“We still have a long way to go and a lot of learning that needs to take place. I just hope the girls stay together to see how good they can become,” said Theos.