The challenges of the Londonderry High girls’ basketball team continued last week as they chased the elusive .500 mark and their best possible finish in tough Division I as the state tournament approaches.
Coach Nick Theos saw his team trounce the struggling Alvirne High Broncos at LHS last Tuesday, Feb. 13, but the results weren’t as positive in the locals’ double-digit loss to the Manchester Central Little Green in the Queen City three evenings later.
In the 52-20 walloping of Alvirne of Hudson, the Lancers won each quarter by holding their opponent to precisely zero points in the third period.
Londonderry grasped a modest, four-point lead of 12-8 after one stanza, but it outscored its guests by a 14-5 margin in the second quarter and by a huge 14-0 tally in quarter three to glide into the final period up 40-14.
“It was a tight game for the first quarter. They came out aggressive and we needed to match their intensity,” said coach Theos. “I went deep into the bench in the first quarter and a half to find and motivate the girls, and it paid off. On defense and on the boards we took over the game from the second quarter on.”
Freshman force Ashley Rourke led the Lady Lancers in scoring with a dozen points, and sophomore stalwart Courtney Shay contributed 10 with Michelle Marino and Colleen Furlong each adding eight.
“Everyone got in and contributed tonight from the first to the last girl,” said Theos. “We worked hard and fought for every possession. It was another step forward for this group and one step closer to being ready for the playoffs. Can’t wait to see how everything ends up.”
Alvirne slid to 3-13 with that, but in the Manchester Central Little Green the Lady Lancers went up against a 9-6 entity seeking its third straight success in Manchester at the end of last week.
The home-standing Central crew would keep its modest winning skein rolling with a 50-37 success.
The Green won every quarter but the second, holding advantages of 14-9 after one stanza, 25-21 at the half, and 38-28 going into the final period of play.
Rourke once again paced the LHS scoring attack with 15 points, but nobody else in Lancer garb was anywhere near double digits.
“It was a physical, frustrating game,” said Theos. “We never really got our legs under us. In the first half it was a four- point game, and we shot 8-14 from the line. We were being aggressive on offense and getting to the basket, but our percentage was not quite there. In the second half we only went to the line once, and we couldn’t adjust. The style of the game had changed and we struggled to find our offense.”
Still, the coach saw his young crew battle hard and make things tough on its opponent as it tried to close out the victory.
“Down 10 after three quarters, we kept it close for most of the second half with little runs, but couldn’t really get anything big started,” lamented Theos. “In the final minutes of the game, down nine, we started to extend our defense looking for steals or fouls and they pushed the lead out to 14. It was a tough game for us because I know we can do better. I can coach better and the girls can play better. One positive I took away was we didn’t quit. No matter how crazy the game got or how frustrated we were, the girls gave their best effort.”
The locals came into this week looking at two home games to end their regular season. They were home against Dover this Tuesday the 20th – after Londonderry Times press time – followed by a battle with the tough Bishop Guertin bunch of Nashua this Friday night.