The Londonderry High School girls’ basketball squad fortified its fine Division I record with a hard-fought, 49-43 road victory over the host Manchester Central Little Green last Friday night, Feb. 12.
For now 12-2 Londonderry, it was a second consecutive victory and the squad’s 10th in its last 11 games as the D-I tournament nears. The middle-of-the-pack Central squad slipped to 7-6 with the defeat, having gone 3-3 in its last six contests.
The two teams were knotted up at 11-11 after one period, but Central grasped a slim 25-23 advantage when it was time to adjourn for halftime. But the Lady Lancers enjoyed a strong fourth quarter, rebounding from a 35-32 deficit going into that last stanza by netting 17 big points and claiming the victory.
“It was a very offensive first half for us, scoring 23, but not so much defensively with us giving up 25 first-half points,” said coach Nick Theos. “We just seemed sluggish through the entire first half, and Central was hitting everything. Luckily, the girls responded to the halftime (talk) and came out much better in the second half, especially in the fourth, where we outscored them 17-8.”
Theos altered his lineup for that decisive fourth period, and it paid off beautifully for the two-time defending Division I state champs.
“I went with a smaller unit, all guards, where Kelsey (Coffey) was the tallest girl on the floor, and it worked,” he said. “Defensively, we shut them out, taking away passing lanes and contesting shots. And we spread them out offensively and let Jackie (Luckhardt) and Kelsey go to work. It was a tough game, but a game that we really needed to keep pace with the other top teams.”
Coffey ended up leading the locals with her 15 total points, 11 of which came in the second half and included a couple of big three-pointers. Luckhardt contributed a superb all-around performance with 12 points, nine rebounds, seven assists, and three steals.
The Lancers entered this week aiming to keep their winning ways rolling, starting with a home game against the Dover High Green Wave on Tuesday, Feb. 16, after Londonderry Times press time.
Caption: Junior standout Kelsey Coffey and the two-time defending state champion LHS girls’ hoop squad have been soaring of late.