Roger Brown's H.S. Basketball: Bedford girls ready to face Simpson, Lancers
YOU COULD sense the disappointment in Bedford High School girls' basketball coach Sue Thomas when she found out Londonderry High School point guard Aliza Simpson wouldn't be playing against Bedford when the teams met during the regular season.
"At some point we want to play Londonderry with Aliza," Thomas said one day before that game. "We want to play the best."
Thomas and her Bedford team got their wish. Top-seeded Bedford (21-0) will meet Simpson and second-seeded Londonderry (18-3) in today's Division I championship game at Southern New Hampshire University (6 p.m.).
Bedford overcame a three-point halftime deficit to post a 50-36 victory against Bedford during the regular season. It was the last of eight games Simpson, the 2013-14 Gatorade Player of the Year, missed with a hairline fracture in her right leg. Simpson will play for the University of New Hampshire next season.
It will be the final game for Londonderry coach John Fagula, who is after his 12th state championship. Fagula guided Nashua (one school) to 11 state championships before taking over at Londonderry. Fagula's 1996-97 Nashua team was ranked No. 1 in the nation by USA Today.
Bedford is seeking its second Division I title in as many years. Bedford defeated Bishop Guertin of Nashua 38-38 in last year's Division I championship game.
Each of Londonderry's three losses came when Simpson was in street clothes.
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Today's Division III boys' basketball championship game between second-seeded Conant of Jaffrey (19-2) and fifth-seeded Campbell of Litchfield (18-3) is a rematch of last year's title contest. Conant won the program's 10th state championship with a 66-46 victory last March.
This year's game will be played at Southern New Hampshire University and is scheduled to start at 2 p.m.
The teams split two regular-season meetings. Campbell won 50-49 in Litchfield, and Conant prevailed 61-48 in Jaffrey. Conant allowed the fewest points of any Division III team during the regular season (736, 40.8 ppg).
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The Coe-Brown of Northwood girls' basketball team has gone 13-2 since a 3-3 start, but two of its five losses came against a Merrimack Valley of Penacook team that it will face in today's Division II championship game (noon).
Merrimack Valley, which reached the title game for the first time since 2004, beat Coe-Brown 57-53 on Jan. 14, and 41-34 on Jan. 31. Merrimack Valley sophomore Mayson Kimball has scored 73 points in three tournament games.
Coe-Brown advanced to championship game for the first time since it won the 2000 Class I title. The Bears don't have a senior on their roster.
Roger Brown covers high school basketball for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @603SportsMedia.