MANCHESTER — There are those who will tell you that games aren't won or lost in the first half. The Pinkerton Academy of Derry girls' basketball team presented evidence to the contrary Tuesday night.
The Astros outscored Manchester Memorial 24-0 in the second quarter en route to a 53-40 victory that improved Pinkerton's Division I record to 13-4.
The 24-0 edge turned a three-point deficit into a 37-16 halftime lead.
"When my girls channel it and play as a team on the court, they have incredible energy," Pinkerton coach Lani Buskey said. "That second quarter was the epitome of what can happen if we do things correctly.
"The second quarter is what we've been trying to show them they can do. The second half was mostly teaching our kids how to maintain composure."
Memorial wasn't helped by the fact that junior center Makenah Grisson missed much of the second quarter with three fouls. Despite the fact that it held Pinkerton to five points in the third, Memorial still trailed by 17, 42-25, entering the final eight minutes.
"Makenah is a confidence-builder for our team," Memorial coach Maureen Larouche said. "She has a presence about her that makes us play better."
Grisson tossed in a game-high 18 points. Memorial, which came as close as 11 in the fourth quarter, also received 17 points from junior guard Angie Marazzi.
It was the second loss in as many nights for Memorial, which dropped a 60-45 decision to Nashua North on Monday night. The Crusaders fell to 11-6, and will wrap up the regular season with a home game against Winnacunnet of Hampton on Friday night.
"I would be nervous to play us in the state tournament," Larouche said. "I think the kids believe in themselves — they believe they can beat any team out there."
Junior forward Val Martin led Pinkerton with 16 points. Senior guard Kayla Stacy added 12, and senior forward Colleen Fortier finished with nine. Stacy's 12 points came on four 3-pointers.
Pinkerton began the night tied for fourth place with Nashua North. The Division I tournament's highest-seeded teams will be at home for the tournament's preliminary round and quarterfinals. Pinkerton will play its final regular-season game at Salem on Friday night.
"I don't necessarily think that it (a top-four finish) is a big deal, but it's what they're aiming for," Buskey said. "We told them that two wins this week would put us in good position for the home game (in the quarterfinals). They want to play at home, and that showed in the second quarter."