All Sections

Home | High School Sports

NHIAA Basketball: Pinkerton girls off to flying start

New Hampshire Union Leader

December 13. 2017 12:11AM

Exeter's Anna Pafford, gets past Pinkerton's Cydney Lessard, left, and Madison Mahoney but loses the ball in the battle at Pinkerton Academy in Derry on Tuesday. (THOMAS ROY/UNION LEADER)

DERRY — Offense has not been a strong point for Lani Buskey’s Pinkerton Academy girls’ basketball team in recent seasons. For one reason or another, the Astros have struggled with finding and keeping a scoring rhythm.

A new season brings new hope, though. as Pinkerton hit its stride from the onset of Tuesday’s 77-24 season-opening victory over Exeter at Hackler Gymnasium. The Astros erupted for 48 points in the first half, generating points at will off their set offense and in transition all night. Brooke Kane paced Pinkerton (1-0) with 18 points and 13 rebounds while 10 other players scored for the Astros, including five players with six points or more.

“We have been talking about team, sacrificing and realizing how many weapons we have,” Buskey said. “We want to use the right weapon and then when that weapon is called upon, I want them to have confidence.”

The opening quarter fueled Pinkerton’s win as the Astros took a commanding 26-7 through eight minutes. Pinkerton started the contest in its typical gun-shy fashion with a few unnecessary extra passes and missed layups before quickly finding its bearings. The comfort showed with the Astros scoring from all over the floor within their 18-0 spurt, which contained a string of five consecutive buckets on first chances.

“It took figuring out Exeter’s system,” Buskey said. “Once they did, they could take a breath and focus on finding the right people. I think it was about four minutes in.”

In addition to its annually stingy full-court defense, Pinkerton was indeed aided by Exeter’s 3-pointer-based offense. The Blue Hawks (1-1), who were led by Anna Pafford’s seven points, made their first and only 3-pointer with 1:35 left in the third quarter after going through an 0-for-17 drought prior to the make. When Exeter did go to the basket, it typically left three players behind the arc, which allowed Pinkerton to grab most rebounds and create at the other end.

The fluidity to Pinkerton’s offense was the story, though, and it did not end after its first-quarter showing. The Astros scored 20-plus points for three quarters, leading 71-20, before toning things down with their reserves.

Depth was certainly a catalyst for the Astros, who didn’t miss a beat on either end of the floor with any combinations Buskey put out. In addition to Kane, Amanda Lemire (10 points) showed well in her return from a broken foot at the end of last season while Madison Mahoney and Jesse Ames, who each tallied eight points, showed they’ll be reliable for Buskey going forward.

“We know what the starting five presents,” said Buskey, who also got production from veterans Cydney Lessard and Alicia D’Onofrio. “To whoever I put in after that, and that could be anybody at any time, they need to recognize how they make the unit different. What is it about you that makes the unit different when I sub you in? They need to make that their weapon of choice.”

NHIAA Derry Exeter