I'VE SPOKEN often in recent weeks on how this year's Portsmouth High boys' basketball team was good, but not as good as the two prior clubs that posted perfect championship seasons. I'd like to amend...
MANCHESTER— The No. 2 seed went down first. No. 1 was close behind.
Coe-Brown Academy of Northwood and Merrimack Valley of Penacook pulled the upsets in the girls’ basketball Division II semifinals on Monday night at Southern New Hampshire University.
The two teams will meet on Friday night at 7 for the Division II championship back at SNHU.
No. 6 Coe-Brown took down No. 2 Hanover, 56-52, in the first game and No. 4 Merrimack Valley followed suit with a 51-43 decision over No. 1 Milford in the nightcap.
Both winners pulled away with impressive fourth quarters.
Coe-Brown took out No. 3 Souhegan in the quarterfinals and followed up with the win over the second-ranked team.
Now they’ll see what they can do with the No. 4 seed.
“We’ve got nothing to lose,” said Coe-Brown coach David Hartnett. “We’re the six-seed. We’re not supposed to be here. It’s fun.”
Sophomore forward Mayson Kimball led the way for Merrimack Valley with 17 points and 11 rebounds and got plenty of help along the way. Junior forward Cassidy Huckins had nine of her 11 points in the fourth quarter.
Merrimack Valley jumped on Milford early and was up 10-4 after one period.
Led by Kimball’s seven points, the Pride extended the lead to 20-12 at the half.
Kimball hit a couple of foul shots to make it 24-16 with 3:18 left in the third period.
The Spartans took over from there and ran off eight straight points to close out the quarter. They grabbed their first lead of the game at 26-24 with an Erin Maguire shot in the lane just before the period ended.
Merrimack Valley scored more points in the fourth period — 27 — than either team scored through three periods.
Merrimack Valley is 17- and Milford finishes at 18-3.
Coe-Brown 56, Hanover 52
Coe-Brown won its ninth straight game and will play for the championship for the first time since 2000.
They improved to 16-5 and also avenged a 46-40 January loss to Hanover.
The Marauders had their winning streak snapped at 11 games and closed out with an 18-3 record.
Abigail Ahern led four Coe-Brown scorers in double figures with 15 points. Deborah Peabody had 12, Sarah Curtin 11 and Jennifer Schlim 10. Ahern and Schlim each had nine rebounds.
Hanover’s Eileen Daley led all scorers with 15 points and rebounders with 16.
Coe-Brown started the third period with a one-point lead and ended it the same way.
The Bears — led by Ahern and Peabody — broke things open in short order in the fourth.
Ahern opened the period with a basket and Coe-Brown led 36-33.
Cathleen Beliveau matched that one for Hanover.
But then the Bears got out of their zone defense and cranked up the pressure. Ahern came up with a couple of baskets in the lane, Peabody tossed in a pair of foul shots and two buckets and in the matter of two minutes Coe-Brown had a 10-point run and 46-35 lead.
“We created a few turnovers and got a few baskets and here we are,” Hartnett said.