Manchester Central ends Nashua North’s girls hoop season

Staff photo by HECTOR LONGO Nashua North's Alana Choate finds the going tough as she drives to the basket against Manchester Central in Wednesday night's Division I first round playoff game. The Little Green prevailed, 35-26.

MANCHESTER – The final score, 35-26, told the story succinctly.

Manchester Central walked 11th-seeded Nashua North right off the floor and out of the Division I girls basketball playoffs Wednesday night.

Walk, don’t run. Clearly, Central has seen one school safety video too many, but hey, if something works, right?

“They like to slow things down. They like to keep games in the 30s,” said North coach Christina Bean. “I don’t know how they do it, but it slows everybody down. I would love to know, because this is exactly what happened in the regular season (a 35-33 Central win).”

Neither team showed much on offense. Turnovers and missed shots abounded. Ground to a halt, North certainly didn’t appear comfortable, falling behind 20-16 at halftime and 26-20 through three quarters.

“We need to move fast. We have fast bodies,, quick girls, usually it plays to our advantage. They kind of stopped us in our tracks tonight,” said Bean.

“Offensively it just wasn’t there for us today. Shots we usually make weren’t falling, and that’s tough. It’s just frustrating. We’re a 3-point shooting team, and those shots weren’t falling. It’s just more frustration, the snowball effect.”

It was at that point where the roof caved in on North, which went scoreless for all but the final minute of the fourth quarter.

A 28-20 hole with three minutes left looked like a climb up the Grand Canyon South wall without a burro.

By the time North cracked the ice on a Jordyn Choate banker with 59 seconds left, it was pretty much over at 32-22.

Junior Arianna Motivala paced the Titans with 10 points, but even she was blanked in the final quarter. Seniors Alana Choate and Danielle Upton each had five points.

Now Bean has to push the program forward and find a way to advance it.

“I’m excited for next year,” the coach said after a 9-10 campaign comes to an end. “Danielle and Alana have been a strong part of this program for four years. Our other four seniors have been the heart and soul as well. Now it’s up to the young ones.

“I would like to be in the 5-6 spot. We have to get over that .500 spot. We have the talent. We have the ability.”