The Bridge isn’t the only hoop battle in area tonight
NASHUA – How big is tonight’s Nashua High School North-South Battle of the Bridge basketball doubleheader in the minds of the players?
“I can’t stop thinking about that,” South sophomore Alex Hulfachor said the other night after helping the Panthers escape Dover in overtime to improve to 6-4. “I can’t wait, it’s going to be such a good game.”
The irony is, besides the North-South girls-boys twinbill that starts at 5:30 p.m. at North, there are two other girls basketball games in the area that involve battles of unbeaten teams: Merrimack at Bishop Guertin at 7 p.m. (also part of a doubleheader) and Hanover at Hollis Brookline at 6 p.m.
Were it not for the annual city battle, those other two games would take center stage and still may in some minds. Guertin and Merrimack are both 12-0, while Hollis Brookline is 12-0 and defending Division II champion Hanover is 11-0.
And the Guertin-Merrimack boys game at 5 p.m. is no slouch, either, as the both teams are 8-2. It’s also Cancer Awareness Night at the Colligadome as proceeds from the games are being donated to the Dana Farber Institute.
Here’s a look at tonight’s big events:
NORTH-SOUTH GIRLS, 5:30 P.M. AT NORTH
Neither team is having the type of season they would have liked, with the Panthers at 5-7 and the Titans at 3-9. North’s chances of making the tourney lessen with each loss; South could enhance it’s hold on a spot with a win.
South coach John Bourgeois has been part of the Battle of the Bridge as an assistant/sub varsity coach in the boys program; this is the first time for Titans coach Curt Dutilley. But he’s seen bitter rivalries during his days at Monadnock and Fall Mountain, and sees a bit of a difference.
“I’m sure it’ll be exciting and we’re definitely looking forward to it,” Dutilley said. “But at the other levels, you have some teams meeting twice. You get that heated look when you’re going to see each other again in two weeks. It’s a little different.”
South has been led by the likes of Aryanna Murray, Catherine Covert and Kirsten McIntire, The Titans match McIntire’s 6-0 height with 6-0 Jordyn Choate, and 6-4 Victoria Conrad. But they’ve had some backcourt injuries to deal with.
NASHUA SOUTH BOYS AT NASHUA NORTH, 7 P.M.
Two teams that are likely tourney bound but at different levels. The 6-4 Panthers have been scrappy and scratch and claw for wins; the powerful Titans are a Division I title contender at 8-1, winners of seven straight, and six of those are double digit wins. Curtis Harris, Brenden Choate and Nate Kane are among the Titan keys; Alex and Andres Hulfachor as well as Ivan Nyantenji have been big for the Panthers.
“They’re real good,” South coach Nate Mazerolle said the other night. “I know our guys are confident that we match up well. I won’t sleep the next few nights thinking of those matchups.
“Steve (Titans coach Lane) does such a good job. They’re long, they’re athletic, they can shoot it, they’re smart, they’re tough. There’s a reason they only have one loss. They’ll be in the mix (in the tourney) when it all comes down to it.”
MERRIMACK AT BISHOP GUERTIN GIRLS, 7 P.M.
At the beginning of the season, would anyone have circled this one? Probably not, but the Tomahawks have been outstanding under interim coach Mike Soucy, led by Theresa Twardosky, Riley Crampton, Heather Rohr just to name a few. Guertin of course is paced by seniors Erin Carney, Bri Wilcox, Hannah Muchemore and Addie Smith. The Cards went to central New York and upended Jamesville-Dewitt last weekend 63-42 in what coach Brad Kreick called “Our best game of the year.” But in Merrimack, they face an in-state foe with a press as tenacious as their own.
“It’s like looking in a mirror,” Kreick said. “And they do a good job with it. Very athletic. It’s going to be a great night and the place should be packd.”
MERRIMACK BOYS AT BISHOP GUERTIN, 5 P.M.
Two very good teams with possibly a contrast in styles. The Tomahawks like a low scoring, grind it out game; the Cards do to a point but they’re better scoring 60 or more. Merrimack has won five straight; BG recovered from a loss to North with a win the other night over Windham on the road. Watch for the ‘Hawks’ Jared Dyer, Pat Yudkin and the defense of Adam Ellis; keep an eye on Guertin’s Sam Mullett and Dylan Santosuosso, among others.
HANOVER GIRLS AT HOLLIS BROOKLINE
A battle between the last two Division II champions. The Cavaliers have motored all season on the play of senior guard Christina Balsamo, but they’ve got some balance with others such as Maggie Crooks, Elisabeth Staplefeld and Amanda Goclowski.
Hanover has three players six feet or taller, including 6-2 senior Anna Kirkpatrick. The two teams will meet again in Hanover next Friday night.
The three best boys hockey teams in the area continue to be Bishop Guertin (9-4) in Division I, Merrimack (8-2) in Division II, and Hollis Brookline-Derryfield (8-3) in Division III.
The Warriors will host top ranked Berlin-Gorham (10-1) on Saturday at Conway Arena at 4:40 p.m. after beating Monadnock-Fall Mountain late Wednesday night led by Jared Sanborn’s goal and three assists plus Paul Vachon’s with two goals…
Thursday night’s Souhegan at Kearsarge girls hoop game was postponed to tonight at 6:30 p.m.