NHIAA Div. IV Girls' Basketball Championship: Familiar end for Groveton, Burke
PLYMOUTH - Sparked by the double-double performance of Makenna Burke and an stingy defense that held one of the division's top-scoring teams to 25 points below its tournament average, Groveton captured the Division IV girls' basketball championship with a convincing 60-40 victory over North Country rival Colebrook Saturday at Plymouth State University's Foley Gymnasium.
Burke, who recently reached the 1,000-point career milestone, scored 27 points and hauled down 12 rebounds. Her point production was four points shy of the division's championship game tournament record of 31 scored by Epping's Kerry Bascom, who went on to star at the University of Connecticut, in 1985.
"Makenna ended her high school career in a great way," said Groveton coach Tim Haskins, whose teams have won five of the past six division titles. "She really stepped up during the stretch run and into the playoffs. The 27 points is one thing, but don't forget the rebounds and she was helping to bring the ball up court against the Colebrook pressure."
It was the fourth state basketball title for Burke, who also played for the Eagles as an eighth-grader.
The fourth-seeded Eagles established themselves late in the first quarter with an 8-0 run and followed with a 20-6 second period advantage to take and 32-17 lead into the locker room at the half.
They weren't seriously challenged the rest of the game.
Groveton hustled the ball up the floor on each possession and worked the ball into the paint where Burke and Sadie Conroy, and later in the second half Becca Rogers, tallied their points.
"We ran the ball in the second quarter and we had a match-up to get the ball inside to McKenna," said Haskins. "When she was covered, we had some other players like Conroy and Rogers getting the ball and scoring points."
Conroy and Rogers each closed with 10 points as the Eagles beat Colebrook's full court pressure and tallied transition baskets.
Ten of Groveton's final 14 points came from the free throw line to put the game on ice.
"Free throws had been our Achilles Heel much of the season, but we shot close to 60 percent today (20-of-34)," said the Groveton coach.
Colebrook opened the game with a Josee Brunault coast-to-coast layup and her three-pointer midway through the first gave the No. 3 Mohawks a 7-4 lead. Alexyss Lawson added a free throw for an 8-4 advantage that evaporated with Groveton's 8-0 burst.
Colebrook never led again.
"The girls worked so hard to get to this game," said Colebrook coach Steve Cass. "We wanted to get them into foul trouble, but we didn't take it to the rim, and that failed to produce the fouls. And rebounding was no friend to us."
Groveton outrebounded its foe 25-14 in the pivotal first half and 44-36 through the entire game.
The Mohawks beat Groveton twice during the regular season when the Eagles, who opened with an eight-game win streak, lost four of five games and fell to 9-4.
"We righted the ship with a home win over Littleton, and since that game we have been playing great basketball," said Haskins. "Defensively, we keyed on Brunault and (Erica) Cass and did a reasonably good job of it.
"Our defense was pretty much the same as the last four or five games in anticipation of this game," Haskins added.
Brunault led Colebrook with 15 points. Cass added nine, all on three-point field goals. Emily Brosseau (two) and Kalin Belanger also tallied three-pointers for the Mohawks.
Conroy also had 10 rebounds to complete her double-double.
The teams last met in the division championship game in 2009 when Groveton eked out a 48-46 win.
Both teams concluded their seasons with 18-4 records.
Division IV girls' championship game
Groveton 60, Colebrook 40
Groveton: Sadie Conroy 4-2-10; Jena Wheelock 0-4-4; Makenna Burke 8-11-27; Talia Bedell 3-1-7; Becca Rogers 5-0-10; Tanisha Singer 0-2-2. Totals 20-20-60 Three-pointers: none
Colebrook: Josee Brunault 5-4-15; Emily Brosseau 2-0-6; Alexyss Lawson 1-1-3; Kalin Belanger 2-0-5; Erica Cass 3-0-9; Kacie Riendeau 0-1-1; Nakea Cross 0-1-1. Totals 13-7-40 Three-pointers: Brunault, Brosseau 2, Belanger, Cass 3
Groveton (18-4) 12 20 14 14 - 60
Colebrook (18-4) 11 6 16 7 -- 40