Lady Lancer Basketball Standout Courtney Shay Snares D-I Honors

There are few young athletes who have the talent, determination, and confidence,  to be able to step from junior high school athletics to high school sports and become major contributors on the varsity level right away.

And anyone who saw Londonderry High School sophomore Courtney Shay enter D-I varsity field hockey and then varsity basketball as a freshman during the first half of the 2016-17 school year knew that this was one of those special young athletes who could jump right into high school games and acquit herself beautifully against even the most seasoned veterans.

Testament to the fact that Shay’s considerable hoop skills have been noticed throughout tough New Hampshire Division I came recently when the LHS standout was named a 2017-18 All-State Honorable Mention selection by the league’s coaches.

It’s not tremendously common for many freshmen or sophomores to tally all-state honors in any high school sport, but there wasn’t really any way in which Shay’s name could be left out of the all-state mix this winter.

As a centerpiece of an extremely young 2017-18 Londonderry High girls’ basketball squad – which had just one senior to go with five juniors, four sophomores, and no less than five freshmen – Shay played every bit like a battle-tested junior or senior with perhaps three years of varsity experience under her belt for veteran coach Nick Theos’ crew.

And with the young guard averaging 12.4 points, six rebounds, and two assists per game and standing as a great example of toughness, smarts, and athleticism for her teammates, the Lancers improved tremendously through the season after starting out 0-4.

Shay played a vital role – with youngsters like Colleen Furlong, Katie Sullivan, Ashley Schmitt, Mia Fantauzzi, Ashley Rourke, and Charlotte Sullivan gaining vital varsity experience – in helping Londonderry to an 8-4 record through the remainder of the regular season. And the 9-9 Lady Lancers ended up collecting the seventh seed.

Shay and junior teammate Michelle Marino led the Lady Lancers to a first-round tournament victory over number 10 Exeter by each scoring 18 points, and Shay was also Londonderry’s leading scorer in the truly lopsided quarterfinal tourney loss to the second-seeded Pinkerton Lady Astros which ended the LHS crew’s campaign. Shay netted 11 points that night.

“Courtney started all 23 games for us and was a captain as a sophomore,” said coach Theos. “She was very versatile as a defender, able to guard opponents, point and center, and anyone in between. One case in point was Pinkerton where she guarded (point-guard Amanda) Lemire and (big forward Brooke) Kane and in the second meeting did a great job against both. She was especially good against Lemire, keeping her off balance throughout the game with her length.”

And longtime LHS coach Theos will be the very first person to state that he has a true gem in his lineup every night with youthful Shay.

“I have to keep reminding myself that she is only a sophomore,” he said. “She plays the game like a four-year senior. She was the heart of this year’s team, and every time I challenged her she rose to the occasion. That included a dominating performance in the first round of the playoffs where she led us to a home playoff win by scoring 18 points and grabbing nine rebounds. She is a special kid and a special athlete. As a field hockey standout as well, Courtney’s future is very bright as she helps lead this program into the future.”

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