NHIAA Div. III Girls' Basketball: White Mountains pulls upset, will face Bow in final
MANCHESTER - Defending champion White Mountains of Whitefield returned to the Division III girls' basketball final, never giving No. 1 Conant of Jaffrey much of a chance in Thursday's semifinal.
Katie Wood had 12 points, and the Spartans earned a comfortable 46-31 win at Southern New Hampshire University. Third-ranked White Mountains takes an 18-3 record into Saturday's championship against Bow. Tip-off is at 4 p.m. at the SNHU Fieldhouse.
In the third quarter, Chelsea Payer and Wood netted back-to-back threes, lifting White Mountains to a 30-17 lead - and the Spartans were only warming up. Wood hit one more trifecta in the quarter, and Payer (11 points) knocked down a 25-foot buzzer beater as the Spartans extended their lead to 38-21 entering the final stanza.
Madison Springfield scored a game-high 20 points to lead Conant, which fell to 19-2.
Bow 36, Bishop Brady 31
Lindsey Nerbonne wouldn't break under pressure. She wouldn't wear down. And she wouldn't let the Bow girls' basketball season end in the semifinals.
A relentless worker and team leader, Nerbonne brought all the pieces together for a 36-31 victory over Bishop Brady of Concord at the Southern New Hampshire Fieldhouse on Thursday night. The Division III final is set for Saturday (4 p.m.) at SNHU.
It was a back-and-forth game until the shots began falling for Bow in the fourth quarter.
Freshman Amanda Murray hit a baseline 15-footer. Dina Tischofer, Nerbonne, Ashlie Tucker and Suzanne Barry all made buckets, pushing ahead the Falcons, 32-25. Bow's roster seems to be endless - and they all can play.
"We have confidence in everyone," said Nerbonne, who led the second-ranked Falcons with 13 points.
Talor Ong had 11 points to lead third-ranked Bishop Brady, which ended the year at 18-3. The Green Giants trailed by three points with 37 seconds remaining but couldn't convert.
Nerbonne, heading to Syracuse University on a field hockey scholarship, stepped to the free throw line with 18.6 seconds remaining. She had bricked her previous two free throws, but this time, she drilled both shots to give Bow a 35-29 lead. She made one more with 3.2 seconds left.
"We want the ball in her hands," Bow coach Bill Vermette said. "She can drive. She can dish. She makes good decisions."
Nerbonne, a one-woman press-breaking machine, got the Falcons rolling at the end of the first quarter.
The 5-foot-7 senior beat the Green Giants with a baseline drive, and then added a jumper to begin the second quarter as Bow went ahead, 12-8.
From there, Barry ripped an offensive rebound and added to the Falcons' lead, but the Green Giants had the final say of the half. Riselly Deoleo beat the buzzer with a running layup through traffic, trimming Bow's lead to 15-12 at the break.
Barry grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds and had six points as Bow (19-1) defeated Brady for the third time this season. The Falcons made only eight of 19 shots from the line.
Victoria LeBlanc and Sarah Thomas each had six points for the Green Giants, who took a 21-19 lead early in the fourth quarter. Then Bow unleashed a 9-2 run, which included a dagger three-point play by Nerbonne with 2:16 remaining. The Falcons had struggled for much of the night against Brady's zone defense. Nerbonne's lighting-quick drive to the basket gave Bow a 30-25 lead.
"We like to push the ball up the floor, but Bishop Brady's defense was very effective. Our execution wasn't great in the first half," Vermette said. "Sometimes we need to slow it down and get the ball to our bigs (forwards) because we have the personnel."
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White Mountains 46, Conant 31
White Mountains: Katie Wood 4-0-12; Payton Curtis 2-7-12; Chelsea Payer 4-1-11; Kayla Bosse 2-2-6; Olivia Conway 0-3-3; Karisa Bergman 1-0-2; Totals: 13-13-46 Three-pointers: Wood 4, Payer 2, Curtis
Conant: Madison Springfield 7-5-20; Teresa DiTommaso 4-3-11; Margaret Maloy 0-0-0; Katherine Chadbourne 0-0-0; Heather Bilodeau 0-0-0 Three-pointers: Springfield
White Mountains (18-3) 8 14 16 8 --46
Conant (19-2) 6 7 8 10--31
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Bow 36, Bishop Brady 31
Bishop Brady: Sarah Thomas 1-4-6; Riselly Deoleo 2-0-4; Taylor Ong 5-1-11; Victoria LeBlanc 0-6-6; Emma Will 2-0-4; Totals: 10-11-31 Three-pointers: none
Bow: Ashlie Tucker 4-0-9; Lindsey Nerbonne 4-4-13; Suzanne Barry 2-2-6; Dina Tischofer 2-1-5; Taylor Marston 0-1-1; Amanda Murray 1-0-2; Totals: 13-8-36. Three-pointers: Tucker, Nerbonne
Brady (18-3) 6 6 8 11 -- 31
Bow (19-10 9 6 2 19 -- 36