Nashua South falls to Bedford in girls quarterfinals
For The Telegraph
BEDFORD – Four days after removing the fifth-seeded Manchester Central crew from the Division I playoff picture, the number 12 Nashua South girls’ basketball squad sought to enjoy the same sort of somewhat unexpected success against the red-hot, fourth-ranked Bedford High bunch on the road in D-I quarterfinal-round tournament play on Saturday night. Alas, it wasn’t to be.
Bedford surged forward in the tourney by dealing the Nashuans a resounding and convincing 50-25 defeat to end the local contingent’s 2019-20 campaign.
Everybody who has paid any attention to the division this winter knew the order was a tall one for coach John Bourgeois’ Panthers to find a way past a Bulldogs’ crew which came into the evening at 16-3 overall, having won five games in a row and 10 of its last 11.
The host team had trounced
No. 13 Exeter by a 78-47 tally in round-one play four evenings earlier, with the Nashua side nipping Central by a 44-40 count in the Queen City that night to also advance to the quarters.
And the host Bedford contingent lived up to the expectations of a blistering-hot contingent in the throttling of the Purple Panthers, with junior Division I Player of the Year candidate Isabella King (19 points) and her senior teammate Amanda Jonas (14) nearly equaling the Nashua side’s point total by themselves. South received nine points from senior forward Kirsten McIntire and five from junior guard Aryanna Murray in a season-ending effort.
“We had plenty of girls work hard, but we just didn’t have enough to beat this good team tonight,” said Bourgeois. “They had a good game plan, hit their shots and executed, and hats off to them.”
The South and Bedford squads had faced off way back before Christmas – on Dec. 20 in Bedford – just two games into the 2019-20 campaign with the host Bulldogs bagging a convincing 61-37 victory.
The Bulldogs netted the first seven points of Saturday night’s tournament game as South struggled with its shooting, and when the first period came to a close Bedford grasped a 15-7 lead. Nashua hit just three of the 15 shots it attempted from the field during those eight minutes of action.
The host team outscored its guest by a 15-7 margin again in the second half, with the Bulldogs sinking six of the 10 shots they tried from the floor and the Panthers popping home just three of their 10 tries.
King – the daughter of former Londonderry High School hoop star Ronnie King – and her teammate Jonas were both already in double figures in scoring by the half with 14 and 10 respectively. McIntire had seven for Nashua at that juncture.
Leading by 16 points at the break (30-14), Bedford put the game away for all intents and purposes in the third period by outscoring Nashua by a 13-3 tally to carry a commanding 43-17 advantage into the final stanza. The frustrated Purple Panthers hit just one of the nine shots they lofted up from the field in that third quarter.
The Nashuans outscored their hosts in the fourth quarter – or “garbage time” – but it was far too little far too late.