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Hayner, Sherburne spark Bishop Guertin girls past Winnacunnet

NASHUA - Talk about lighting a fire. Bishop Guertin of Nashua has been annihilating opponents, winning 10 straight games, since a loss at Dover on Dec. 18.

The defending Division I girls' basketball champs kept on rolling with a 59-41 victory against Winnacunnet of Hampton on Monday. Senior forward Nicole Hayner netted four 3-pointers and had 16 points with eight rebounds as the Cardinals improved to 12-1 in the division.

BG senior standout Meghan Green (eight points) suffered an ankle injury in the first half and did not play in the second half. Despite the loss of Green - who sat out as a precaution, according to coach Scott Hazelton - the Cardinals turned a two-point lead into a 20-point cushion. Junior guard Jamie Sherburne stuffed the stat sheet with 15 points, seven assists and seven steals.

Melissa MacLeod had 18 points to lead Winnacunnet (6-5), winner of five consecutive big-school titles before BG took the crown in 2012. The Cardinals won't face another big test until next Tuesday's home game against Pinkerton of Derry, which is currently 13-0. Pinkerton coach John Barry was in attendance and scouting the Cardinals on Monday night.

The only question surrounding BG? How did it lose against Dover? Junior guard Gigi Piercey (illness) was the only starter missing that night. Nobody was on the bench for discipline reasons. The Cardinals were simply outplayed - and it inspired them.

"Since that night we've made a commitment to focus on getting better and not worrying too much about the wins and losses," Hazelton said. "Dover had a great game plan and beat us. No excuses. They beat us straight up. I think it was good for us. It showed me and showed everyone else that we can be beaten . Now our girls have taken an approach where they have something to prove. They feel like people are doubting them."

Shots were falling for the Warriors in the first half. Kelly Dolan, MacLeod and Shauna Morrison all hit shots as the visitors took an early 10-8 lead.

Hayner, however, hit a 3-pointer, to spark BG and Sherburne ended the quarter with a press-breaking layup to give the Cards a 14-12 advantage. They took a 27-25 lead into halftime but fast-paced BG soon upped the lead to double digits on layups from Megan Kerutis and Sherburne.

Winnacunnet turnovers became easy baskets for the Cardinals, who began the fourth quarter with a 46-30 cushion. Hayner kept knocking down threes. Madison Gibbs played a strong game and had seven points.

"Hayner and Gibbs have stepped up tremendously in the past five or six and games and put us in a whole new category, in my opinion," Hazelton said.

Winnacunnet coach Cassie Turcotte had no answer for BG's incessant fullcourt pressure in the second half. Carly Gould's five points were the only points for Winnacunnet in the quarter.

"I don't think it was anything that Bishop Guertin did differently. We went into halftime feeling pretty good about where we were, and then came out very flat. We had 10 turnovers in the third quarter," Turcotte said. "One error led to another, and it gave Bishop Guertin the momentum with some fastbreaks. They have a guard (Sherburne) that is faster than anyone I've ever seen, and she can handle the ball. I think BG's guard play gives them an advantage."

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