A solid victory over Merrimack followed by a loss to the rival Pinkerton Academy Lady Astros in Ball Family Trophy play last week left the Londonderry High girls’ basketball squad with a 6-4 record in Division I this season.
The Lady Lancers appeared to have a pattern emerge during their first nine games of the divisional campaign, winning their first three games, losing their next three, and then bagging their third consecutive victory over the Merrimack High Tomahawks in a 56-40 success at LHS Wednesday night, Jan. 25.
The hosts busted open a tight game in the second half against the 5-4 Merrimack mob. The contest was tied at 8-8 after one period and 15-15 at the half, but Londonderry outscored its guest by a pretty stellar 41-25 margin during the second half.
Amanda DeAngelis netted 16 points and blocked four shots for the victors, Courtney Shay and Hannah Hagearty each tallied 11 points and snagged seven rebounds, and Delaney McGurn contributed seven points and six assists to the cause.
“Both teams were tight in the first half,” noted LHS coach Nick Theos. “We turned the ball over a lot against their press, which gave them easy baskets. Once Emmy Dumaresq got their press under control we were able to get easy baskets ourselves. Emmy played most of the game and set the pace while Amanda had all 16 of her points in the second half. I told her to go out and show what she was made of in that second half, and she surprised even me, playing very physical and running the floor well.”
But the Lancer squad ended up having trouble putting the ball in the bucket in its lopsided 58-39 loss to rival Pinkerton in Ball Family action in Derry Friday Jan. 27.
And giving credit where it’s due, one huge factor in the Lady Lancers’ loss was an intense defensive performance by the host Astros, who managed to slap the ball out of Londonderry hands and block shots throughout the battle.
The first quarter was high-scoring, with Pinkerton grasping a tiny, one-point advantage of 17-16 at its end.
But the second period was quite different, with the Lancers going scoreless for the first 4:15 as the PA lead grew modestly to 20-16 with the hosts struggling mightily to score as well.
Dumaresq finally netted some points for LHS when she nailed a three-pointer – her third to that point – with 3:45 to go in the half, and the score moved to 20-19.
By the close of that stanza, the Pinkerton lead sat at a modest 26-21 as two teams which combined for 33 first quarter points only netted 14 in the second.
The Lancers had more scoring woes during the first five minutes of the third quarter, not hitting a field goal until youngster Katie Sullivan sank a trey. But at that juncture, the Pinkerton lead had grown to eight points (35-27), and it would bulge further up to 11 at 43-32 with one quarter remaining.
Pinkerton sophomore Brooke Kane took advantage of the fact that she was by far the tallest player on the court, particularly in the third period, when she netted 11 of her squad’s 17 points.
The Lady Astros created more space between themselves and their rivals in the fourth quarter, outscoring Londonderry by a 15-7 margin to win by 19.
As had been the case in the previous two periods, the Lady Lancers struggled mightily with hitting their shots from the floor in the fourth quarter, not sinking a field goal until just 2:02 remained.
Londonderry – which was playing without senior stalwart and sharp-shooter Kelsey Coffey – lost standout sophomore Amanda DeAngelis to her fifth foul with 4:46 to go in the game as LHS was working diligently to keep pace with its now 8-1 host.
“You’ve got to give (Pinkerton) credit. They had to have had double digits in blocks tonight. Some of them were close (to being fouls), and some were very nice blocks,” said Theos.
The Lady Astros had Kane finish her productive night with 22 points, 12 rebounds, five blocks, and three assists. Point-guard Amanda Lemire tallied 19 points, and Tori Overko contributed seven.
Londonderry was led by Dumaresq with the nine points she potted on threes in the first half, McGurn was good for seven points, and Courtney Shay tallied six.
The Lady Lancers stepped into this week aiming to jump back on the winning track in games at Nashua South on Tuesday the 31st, after Londonderry Times press time, followed by another road contest at Salem High this Friday night, Feb. 3.
Caption: LHS cager Amanda DeAngelis was surrounded by Lady Astros last Friday night. Photo by Chris Paul