Cards and Bulldogs meet in a (semi) final
Play it again, Bishop Guertin and Bedford. And they will.
It will likely be Thursday night at 8 p.m. at Southern New Hampshire University, or at some point, as we all get dizzy with tournament reschedulings, venue changes and sore backs from digging out from the latest Snowmageddon.
But, as we alluded back in mid-January, it’s just a shame the BG and Bulldog girls basketball teams aren’t playing for the championship, because they’re clearly the two best teams in Division I. The Cards played a ton of out of state games, suffered four losses in them, and since those games count they finished out of the top four. As Pinkerton Academy coach Lani Buskey said a couple of weeks ago after the Cardinals cruised past her second seeded Astros in the regular season finale, “I think if everyone in this league is being honest, that record is very misleading. They’re not a 13-5 team by any means. You take away their outside games, they have one loss, to Bedford. That puts them pretty much up there.”
But, at least they’re facing each other.
We’ve already discussed the rigorous out-of-state schedule Guertin has devised to give its team great exposure and help make it tourney tough. You see, years ago these types of games never counted. The Guertin boys hockey team was really the first to include a few of those tougher out of state contests, and when they ended up counting, the Cards still kept them on the schedule.
Should they count? Sure. Why not. It may not bring a true seeding, but they have always counted for Massachusetts teams for their overall winning percentage needed to make their own state tournaments.
The players go all out, no holding back, etc. They’re fun, different. It was great back in late January to see the top team in Connecticut, Mercy, come and put on a defensive clinic against the BG girls, who hung tough with them but couldn’t come out on top. The Cards lacrosse teams play similar schedules, especially the boys, who are a regional power (like Pinkerton) and they don’t get a whole lot out of crushing some New Hamspshire teams that aren’t as far along in the sport. And BG isn’t the only school to play these games; Nashua North and South usually have a couple of games against out-of-state teams on their baseball schedules.
It’s great to have that different exposure. It enhances the educational experience, right? And if you play them, you may as well have them count and let the seeding chips fall where they may.
It’s just this year it has had more of an impact on the tourney matchups than in the past. Oh well, we just have to grin and bear it. You certainly can assume that the Cards and Bulldogs are the two best teams and the winner of this semifinal will be the clear-cut title favorite. But either Pinkerton and Manchester Memorial, playing in the other Division I semi, will certainly will want to have their say. Remember, it’s kids, and with these tournaments anything can happen. In Division II the Hollis Brookline girls hoop team on Friday night will have a 13th seed ready to pounce on them in the finals, also at SNHU. No one expected John Stark to be there, that’s for sure. That’s three straight upsets.
So the tournaments continue. But make no mistake, the BG-Bedford contest, althought not a title game, is one of if not the top March moment.
Tom King can be reached at 594-1251, firstname.lastname@example.org., or @Telegraph_TomK.