Central girls take another giant step
MANCHESTER - Manchester Central girls' basketball coach Mike Wenners had to wait longer than he expected for his team to collect its first victory of the season, but that wait is over.
The Little Green capped the first night of the Central Girls' Basketball Christmas Tournament by posting a 52-48 victory over Coe-Brown of Northwood on Friday.
Central entered the game with an 0-4 record in Division I. Four sophomores and two freshmen were among the nine players who played for Central.
"Being so young we have to learn how to win, how to finish games off," Wenners said. "We play well in spurts. We took a step forward even though we lost to Dover by one (39-38), and this was another nice step."
The key stretch in the game came late in the fourth quarter, when sophomore Angelina Marazzi and freshman Amanda Gaudreault each made a 3-pointer on consecutive possessions for Central. Marazzi's 3-pointer gave the Little Green a 44-42 lead, and Gaudreault's shot increased the lead to five with 2:45 to play.
"They were both good shots," Wenners said. "We encourage them to take good shots when they're there. Those are shots they can make."
Coe-Brown, which spit its first four Division II games, missed 13 of its 24 free throw attempts.
"That was our downfall," Coe-Brown coach Dave Hartnett said "You can't win any games shooting like that."
Central led 18-11 after one quarter, but trailed 26-24 at halftime and 34-31 after three quarters.
Gaudreault led all scorers with 13. Sarah Michaud tossed in 10, and was the only other Central player to score in double figures.
Jenny Schim scored a team-high 11 for Coe-Brown, which has seven sophomores on its roster.
"I know Central was 0-4, but they're a better basketball team than their record," Hartnett said. "I'm not saying we're going to win the championship, but I think our team in February will be a lot different than the team we saw tonight."
The tournament will continue with four games today: Manchester West vs. Plymouth at 2:30 p.m.; Hollis/Brookline vs. Coe-Brown at 4 p.m.; Lebanon vs. Manchester Memorial at 5:30; and Trinity of Manchester vs. Central at 7 p.m.
The two unbeaten teams after today's action will meet in Sunday night's championship game, which is scheduled to start at 7.
Trinity 61, Hollis/Brookline 59: Trinity entered Friday night's game shooting just above 40 percent from the free throw line, but you wouldn't have known it by how the Pioneers shot free throws in the final eight minutes.
After missing 14 of their first 20 free throws, the Pioneers made 12 of 19 in the fourth quarter and rallied to post a two-point victory.
"One of the areas we've been working on is pressure defense," Trinity coach Matt Courchesne said. "In the fourth quarter we got some calls and took advantage at the line. Twelve for 19 is going to get it done. Six for 20 isn't going to get it done."
Trinity trailed 59-55 with less than a minute to play, but senior center Jillian Gilman scored down low and was fouled on the play. Her free throw cut Trinity's deficit to one point with 42.3 seconds left. After a steal, Hope Willard was fouled and her two free throws gave the Pioneers a 60-59 lead - their first lead since early in the second quarter - with 15.6 seconds to play.
The Cavaliers turned the ball over trying to inbound the ball, and didn't attempt another field goal.
Trinity's Meredith Farrell, a senior guard, led all scorers with 19 points. Gilman added 16 for the Pioneers, who improved to 3-3.
Guard Jenn Vachon led H/B with 15. She scored nine points in the final 4:23. Kellie Messier added 13 points for the Cavs, who entered the contest with a 4-1 record.
"The effort is always there, now we're looking more for execution," Courchesne said. "There's always room for improvement."
Memorial 62, Plymouth 32: The Crusaders outscored the Bobcats, 41-12, in the first half and raised their overall record to 3-3.
Memorial's Amelia Imamovic scored a game-high 16 points. The Crusaders received nine points from both Danielle Fletcher and McKenah Grisson, and eight from Allie Hartford.
Kenady Kelly led Plymouth with 10 points. The Bobcats are winless after five games.
Lebanon 68, West 10: Claudia Boutin tossed in a game-high 12 points, and Emily Kehoe and Sam MacDonald each finished with 10 as Lebanon improved its record to 6-0.
Lebanon led 19-2 after one quarter and 33-5 at halftime.
Natasha Boisvert and Alexandra Ricard each scored four points for West, which fell to 0-4.