Muchemore’s heave helps put BG in title heaven

You keep watching them all season, over and over, yet there’s always a play or two you just don’t expect from the Bishop Guertin High School girls basketball team.

A year ago, in their decisive Divsion I title win over Pinkerton,then sophomore Erin Carney launched a buzzer-beating long halfcourt shot at the end of the first quarter and the Cards were on their way to a championship.

Fast forward one year. This time it was junior Hannah Muchemore’s turn. Muchemore’s trey – probably a three-fifths court launch – banked off the glass and in at the end of the third quarter Saturday, giving the Cards a 36-24 lead after three quarters in yet another Division I championship game, this time vs. Portsmouth.

Game, set, match.

Everyone in the packed Stan Spirou Field House on the campus of Southern New Hampshire University knew it was over. Perhaps the Portsmouth Clippers – a very good team with a very good coach – and their fans may not have wanted to admit it, but deep down they knew.

It had to be painful for the Clips. They tried to hang tough with the Cards, and were on a 6-0 run and had all the momentum.

And then Muchemore, a junior from Nashua, crushed it.

It was the shot heard all around Hillsborough County. Just when the Clippers thought they were back in the game.

“That’s what we said when we came over,” Portsmouth coach Tim Hopley said. “Aside from that shot at the end of the quarter, I thought that was our best quarter, we stayed within striking distance. … What are you going to do? That happens in basketball. I think they were probably let down a little bit. … This is a different, special opponent. You can’t dig yourself too much of a hole.”

“Portsmouth had momentum,” Muchemore said. “When I hit that shot, it just changed everything. Everyone’s momentum changed. We all felt great at that point.”

Guertin needed that outside shooting, because Portsmouth was clogging the middle to prevent easy layups. And you know, every game there’s a different Cardinal who takes over. The last couple it was Addison Smith. Other times it’s Ava Owens, or Aaliyah Foreman. Saturday it was Muchemore’s turn, with a team high 14 points.

Guertin coach Brad Kreick wasn’t surprised.

“(Muchemore) is such a gutsy kid,” he said. “She does a little bit of everything. Sometimes you see it, and it’s noticeable. Sometimes you don’t see it. It’s just the little things and the intangibles. It’s great to see her knock a couple of shots down today. We had a feeling it was going to be a low scoring, grinding game.”

Muchemore actually practices those long bombs. She says she’s hit one full court in practice, but a few more half court ones.

“I thought there was five seconds on the clock and I knew I just had to go,” she said. “I threw it up and it went in. I was like, that’s going in. I saw it go off my hand and I knew it was going in.”

The celebration almost equaled the one at the end of the game when the final buzzer sounded, signaling the Cardinal Fourpeat.

“That was crazy,” Muchemore’s Cardinal teammate said. “She does it every single practice, 10 times a practice just keeps throwing those up, it’s amazing she actually made it. … I feel it just amped us up, finish the game strong and get the W.”

Exactly. But, you just have to wonder, what might have happened had Muchemore not hit that shot? The Cards would have been up nine, but the Clippers seem to have ditched the slow sails and were revving up their engine.

“You never know,” Kreick said. “They went on a little run. We put a little pixie dust sprinkle on her for a minute. I’m not giving that shot back.”

And thus it’s another title for Hannah and Her Sisters.

Tom King may be reached at 594-1251,