Goffstown’s Walsh too much for Panthers

Staff photo by TOM KING Nashua South's Jasmine Sylvester tries to split the defense of Goffstown's Kelly Walsh (1) and Olivia Brannen during Saturday's Chick Fil A finals at the Belanger Gym.

NASHUA — Too much Kelly Walsh.

Basically, you can boil down the Nashua High School South girls basketball team’s dream of winning the Chick Fil A title to that as Walsh had 28 points in a 64-31 Goffstown win over the Panthers in Saturday’s finals at the Belanger Gym.

Thus, the second time wasn’t a charm for the Panthers, who also fell in last year’s title game.

“We had a game plan,” said South coach Doug Booth, whose team still got something out of the tourney with two wins. “But, we didn’t execute it very well.”

The plan was to stop Walsh from penetrating and also trying to shut down the Grizzlies’ 3-point game. Neither really happened, as the Grizzlies’ also had 11 3-pointers.

“All tournament long, all season long, she’s doing it in multiple ways,” Goffstown coach Steve Largy said. “She’s doing it offensively, defensively, and rebounding for us. Today she was the first one in the gym, taking shots with her brother.”

Walsh was a factor right from the start, as Goffstown took a 5-5 game and made it 13-8 after the first period and then really took control in the second period, opening things up with a 15-4 run paced by a couple of Walsh 3-pointers. By the half, the 6-0 (overall) Grizzlies had a 33-17 lead and led 42-20 late in the third quarter, 51-20 by period’s end.

Olivia Brannen had four of those treys for Goffstown to finish with 14 points. Kirsten McIntire led South with 14 while Catherine Covert, named to the All-Tourney Team along with Walsh and Brannen, had 11.

“They’re a good team all-around,” Booth said of the champs. “It’s not just Walsh.”

“She’s very crafty in a lot of ways,” Largy said of Walsh. “But what helps make her great is a lot of the other players on the perimeter that spread things out, and give her that little sliver of space.”

All was not lost for the Panthers (2-3 overall), according to Booth, as the tournament helped his team get their season going.

“It does feel good,” he said. “I think we got a little bit of confidence. They’ll understand that while we may be behind, you still have to keep working on offense while playing defense.”

But against Walsh and the Grizzlies, easier said than done.

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Nashua North topped Keene, 40-32 in the third place game, led by Jaden Smith’s nine points and seven from Janessa Lofton.

In the other consolation round games, Campbell salvaged a win by topping Milford, 46-39 and Merrimack ended up with two out of three by topping Alvirne, 58-43….

Also on the All-Tourney Team were Keene’s Ellie Hayward and Nashua North’s Janessa Lofton.