It seemed that every time varsity coach Nick Theos’ 2014-15 Londonderry High girls’ basketball squad faced a challenge or a disappointment during its campaign, the group gathered as a unit, collected its composure, and vanquished the next challenge.
And in the wake of its recent D-I championship game victory over the upstart Winnacunnet High Lady Warriors from Hampton, Theos’ 20-2 troop received more great news, as four of its players received all-state honors from their division’s coaches.
Junior forward Ashley Berube was named a First Team All-Stater after advancing her game significantly for the Lady Lancers following the departures of 2013-14 stalwarts Aliza Simpson, who graduated, and Casey Evans, who transferred to a private school in Rhode Island.
After playing a superb regular season, Berube was lost to a serious knee injury in the first half of the second-seeded Lady Lancers’ first-round tournament. But by that time the talented 11th grader had already earned her First Team All-State status.
“I’m very excited for her. The honor is well deserved. She came into her own this season,” said Theos. “We spoke when Casey left, and she knew what would be expected of her, and she rose to the occasion. I think she was right in the conversation with Taylor Choate of (Nashua) North for Miss New Hampshire Basketball.”
Berube’s untimely departure to the sidelines on crutches early in the tourney rivaled the LHS squad’s challenge as it began its defense of its state championship without Simpson and Evans. But Londonderry pushed past both of those tests to remain at the top of the D-I mountain.
Berube’s fellow junior – court-general Jackie Luckhardt – also stepped up her game considerably this year and did superb work where distributing the ball was concerned, and defensively as well. She was named a Second Team All-Stater.
“She filled an even bigger role for us than Ashley,” said Theos. “With Aliza gone, she was exceptional all season long. She was steady and she did whatever we needed.”
The now two-time defending D-I champions also had steady and clutch senior forward Brittany Roche collect honorable mention recognition, and sophomore guard Kelsey Coffey gain that status as well.
Roche carved herself several places in LHS girls’ hoop history during the 2013-14 title run by nailing clutch baskets in the semifinal win over Pinkerton and the championship game besting of Bedford. And she played important roles on offense and defense in helping her squad repeat this winter, contributing leadership with her trademark ice water-in-the-veins personality.
After making significant contributions to last winter’s title team as a freshman, Coffey continued to mature and was once again a force for her LHS crew as it remained the top team in its division for the second straight year. Two seasons, two titles for Coffey.