NHIAA Div. III Girls' Basketball Championship: Bow's defense doesn't rest
Bow players charge the floor as they begin to celebrate the team's Div. III state championship win over White Mountain Regional High School hosted at Southern New Hampshire University Saturday. (Mark Bolton/Union Leader)
Appropriately enough, it was a 1,000-point scorer who got it done.
Bow senior Lindsey Nerbonne, who went over 1,000 points this year, scored a pair of layups in the opening minute of the fourth quarter providing the fourth-seeded Falcons (21-1) the cushion they needed to secure their first title in 13 years.
The baskets gave Bow a 10-point lead. It might as well have been 50.
The fourth-seeded Spartans (18-4) struggled all day with their offense and nothing changed in the final quarter. They were held to one field goal over the final 29 minutes of the game and ended up shooting 3-for-30 for the game.
The tournament record for fewest total points in a championship game was tied (46), while the 17 points White Mountains scored was the lowest in a title match.
"We just picked a bad day to lay a big egg," White Mountains coach Gary Jenness said.
No one should have been surprised. After all, these were the same two teams that combined for 21 points at halftime when they met in the semifinals last year. White Mountains won that game, 36-29, and went on to win the title.
Nerbonne, who will play field hockey for Syracuse University next fall after earning 2012 New Hampshire Union Leader All-State Player of the Year honors in that sport, said she and her teammates were waiting for another chance to play the Spartans.
"It was definitely a revenge game," Nerbonne said after scoring a game-high nine points. "We weren't as nervous or jittery this time. We knew what to do."
What the Falcons did was put the clamps on the Spartans by shutting down their perimeter game and dominating the boards. White Mountains, coming off a pair of 46-point outputs in its previous two tournament games, went 0-for-11 from the 3-point stripe and was out-rebounded by a whopping 40-18 margin.
The Spartans actually made two of their first three shots to go up 5-2 three minutes into the game, but they didn't get another field goal until the first minute of the fourth quarter. Bow didn't do much more, leading 8-5 after one quarter and 11-7 at the half, but it was enough.
Bow was up 13-10 when Dina Tischofer knocked down a short jumper with 2:10 left in the third quarter after the Falcons got one of their 19 offensive rebounds. Madeleine Horner scored on another putback and Nerbonne finished off the 6-0 run with a no-look pass to Taylor Marston to make it 19-10.
When Nerbonne scored two quick baskets in the fourth quarter to make it 23-13 with 6:52 left, it became an almost impossible task for White Mountains.
While last year was a learning experience for the Falcons, Jenness thinks his team was in a similar situation this year after losing three starters and five seniors from a year ago.
"When you get behind, every time you touch the ball, every time you shoot, every time you go for a rebound, you're so tense and nothing goes right," Jenness said.
The win capped a remarkable run for Bow, which lost its season-opener to Bishop Brady before running the table.