Category: Photo

Bishop Guertin rallies late to capture back-to-back state titles

By: KJ Cardinal

DURHAM – Top-seeded Bishop Guertin used a 23-point fourth quarter to erase a 10-point deficit and capture back-to-back NHIAA Division I Girls Basketball State Championships with a 51-45 victory over No. 3 Bedford on Sunday at the University of New Hampshire in Durham.

The Cardinals (21-0) started slow as they trailed by seven after one, by nine at the half and by 10 entering the fourth. BG put the clamps on the Bulldogs (19-3) in the final frame as they held Bedford to 2-10 shooting from the field.

Free throw shooting played a big factor as the Bulldogs were just 7-22 (31.8%) from the charity stripe, while Guertin was 19-25 (76.0%), including 13-17 (76.5%) in the fourth quarter alone.

Leading the way for the Cardinals was Brooke Paquette with a game-high 24 points. Meghan Stack added 10 of her own for BG. Bedford was paced by 15 apiece from Kate Allard and Lana McCarthy, who also pulled down 14 rebounds.

For the Cardinals, the title marks the seventh in school history and the second straight.

Check out the full photo gallery by Jill Stevens…

Pelham completes run to D-II state title

By: KJ Cardinal

DURHAM – Fifth-seeded Pelham completed its impressive run to the 2023 NHIAA Division II Boys Basketball State Championship as the Pythons defeated No. 2 Pembroke, 57-54, on Sunday morning at the University of New Hampshire in Durham.

It was the first close playoff game Pelham participated in this postseason as the Pythons run to the title included a 31-point win over No. 12 Kingswood (78-47), a 20-point victory against No. 4 Manchester West (77-57) and a 38-point defeat of top-seeded Laconia (69-31).

The final was close throughout, however, as the game featured 10 lead changes and four ties. Halfway through the second quarter, the Pythons were faced with their biggest deficit of the postseason as they trailed Pembroke by eight with 4:44 left in the half. The Pythons chipped away to cut the lead to one at the break, 31-30.

The Spartans took the third quarter, 13-12, and a two-point bulge to the final frame. The Pythons responded over the last eight minutes to complete the comeback.

The victory marks the fourth Pelham title in school history, the second in Division II and the first since 2016.

Pelham (18-4) was led by 20 points from Zach James and 16 from Dom Herrling. The Spartans (18-3) were paced by a game-high 22 points from Mike Strazzeri and 13 from Joe Fitzgerald.

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Bedford wins first-ever state title

By: KJ Cardinal

DURHAM – Top-seeded Bedford captured its first basketball state title in school history as the Bulldogs defeated No. 2 Pinkerton, 66-56, to come away with the 2023 NHIAA Division I Boys Basketball State Championship on Sunday night at the University of New Hampshire in Durham.

It was a back-and-forth affair early on in a game that saw eight lead changes and nine ties. Bedford (20-1) led 14-10 after the first quarter, but then trailed 25-23 at the intermission. The second half belonged to the Bulldogs as they outscored Pinkerton (20-2) 18-14 in the third and 25-17 in the final frame to away with the 10-point win.

Bedford’s Luke Soden poured in a game-high 26 points, while Aiden O’Connell (22 points) and Brady O’Connell (10) added double digits as well. Jackson Marshall paced Pinkerton with 16 points and 15 rebounds. Anthony Chinn (13) and Sean Jenkins (11) chipped in for the Astros.

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McLellan’s clutch free throws lifts Kennett to D-II crown

By: KJ Cardinal

DURHAM – Trailing by one with no time on the clock, Kennett’s Kaylee McLellan went to the line and buried two clutch free throws to give the second-seeded Eagles a 38-37 victory over top-seeded and unbeaten Bow, capturing the 2023 NHIAA Division II Girls Basketball State Championship on Sunday at the University of New Hampshire.

As the final seconds ticked away, McLellan received the ball at the top of key from Sydnie Chin and drove to the right to throw up a desperation runner. The final buzzer sounded and the Falcons bench flooded the court to celebrate an apparent championship, but there was a whistle and a foul called.

The court was cleared and McLellan went to the line with no time on the clock and no rebounders in the lane to give head coach Larry Meaders’ Eagles a dramatic one-point win and their third-ever Division II title and their first since 2010.

The Eagles (21-1) came ready to play as they jumped out to an 11-7 lead after one quarter, led 25-15 at half and held a 12-point lead with 6:49 left in the third quarter. The Falcons (20-1) weren’t ready to give up though as their vaunted defense held Kennett scoreless for the next five minutes as they went on a 14-0 run to take a 29-27 lead with 1:52 on the clock.

The game was tied at 31-31 entering the fourth quarter, which would be a grind between the two best defensive teams in the division. The two teams combined combined to shoot just 4-16 from the field in the final stanza before setting up McLellan’s game-winning heroics.

While the game ended with two of the most clutch free throw in tournament history by McLellan, the game could be seen as being ultimately decided at the charity stripe. The Eagles were an impressive 11-13 from the line as a team (84.6%) and the Falcons were just 7-13 (53.8%). McLellan alone was a perfect 8-8.

Bow’s Bella LaPerle led all scorers with a game-high 15 points and teammate Alex Larabee added 13. McLellan (14) and Chin (10) both netted double figures to lead Kennett.

Check out the full photo gallery by our own Jill Stevens…