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Mercy! Murray, with her 1,000th point, leads Cards to rout

By Tom King - Staff Writer | Feb 5, 2023

Bishop Guertin's Oliva Murray (11) celebrates her 1,000th career point early n the first quarter of the Cards' 69-39 win over Mercy of Connecticut on Saturday at the Colligadome. (Telegraph photo by TOM KING)

NASHUA – Try as she might, Olivia Murray couldn’t quite get the possibility of scoring her 1,000th career point completely out of her mind heading into Saturday’s Bishop Guertin High school girls basketball interstate game with annual rival Mercy of Middletown, Conn.

“It is a little hard,” Murray said. “It was obviously in the back of my mind, the girls knew, but it wasn’t my main focus going into this game.

“To be honest, it’s not really about (the 1,000th point). I wasn’t really thinking too much about that before the game, I was just really focused on winning.”

And win the Cardinals did, thanks in a great part to Murray, who led all scorers with 19 points in a 69-39 win over the Tigers, who were ranked in Connecticut’s top 10 going in and are now 13-4. Guertin, meanwhile, remains unbeaten at 12-0. The Cards have one more out of state game, their sixth, at Central Catholic in Lawrence, Mass. next Sunday. And then there’s the big title game rematch at Bedford on Feb. 17.

Murray need six points going in and she scored seven quickly as the Cards jumped out to a 13-4 lead and never looked back. Her 1000th and 1,001 points came on hoop with 4:34 left in the opening quarter.

“Very pleased with how they came out today with a lot of distraction – a good distraction – with Liv getting her 1,000th point,” Cards coach Brad Kreick said. “I thought they just handled it really well. They didn’t force it, it just kind of happened naturally and then we settled into the game. Another good test against a pretty good team. And we’ll take it.”

Guertin had a big size advantage, and while Murray helped carry the team last year to the title, the Cards don’t have to lean on her or Paquette as much this season.

“We’re a lot different than we were last year,” Kreick said. “When you get Meghan back in the lineup, it’s a 6-1 kid, a skilled kid, which is a huge, huge help. And Brooke Muller (a sophomore) is completely different player than she was last year. Just huge, huge strides. Two six-footers, we’ve got (Catelyn) Wheeler and (Hannah) Lynch with some length. Look I think we’ve got a pretty good basketball team.”

Murray came of age as a sophomore, developing into a go-to scorer, with a good rapport with backcourt mate Brooke Paquette, who had 15 yesterday.

“I think I score when I’m open, but my my teammates do a great job of finding me,” Murray said. “I’ve been working hard over the past couple of years, but I think the individual stats aren’t as important as winning a state championship.”

Ironically, Murray is the second Cardinal to score 1,000 points during Kreick’s coaching tenure, the other being Erin Carney in 2020 – and both did it vs. Mercy.

“She’s always been a really gifted scorer,” Kreick said. “I’ve been doing this eight years now, we’ve had some pretty talented kids along the way, but we’ve only had two score 1,000 points.

“It’s a testament to her consistency. Because the way we play, we don’t have kids taking 18, 20, 22 shots a game, which is what you see in some other programs with some really gifted scorers. We don’t have anybody on our team taking more than12, 12.5 shots a game. Years of consistency, and it’s a credit to her.”

Guertin continued to roll, leading 26-12 after one quarter, 41-21 at the half, and 53-29 after three. Wheeler was the third Cardinal in double figures with 18 points, while Ava Giansiracusa led the Tigers with 17.

“Brad’s a great coach, they do a great job,” Mercy coach Tim Kohs said. “They’re way more talented than us, they’re bigger, they’re stronger … They’re a machine. …They’re super tough with the ball, they’re physical. We could have played better, but it’s hard to play better when the team is better in a lot of spots.”

One strange play happened near the end of the first half, actually involving Murray. She drained a 3-pointer right in front of the always animated Kohs, who stepped too far on the court to try to get one of his players to contest the shot with her hands up. The whistle blew and he was hit with a technical.

“I was ‘What, did she get 1,000 points again?’,” he said. “He said I was out on the court. … That was the worst call I have ever seen.”

Kohs made his displeasure known walking off the floor at halftime, but at the same time, he knew his team had no real shot yesterday, thanks in part to how Murray played.

“As long as we won the game, I would be happy. I’m just glad we’re still undefeated.”

They are, thanks in a big way to how she’s played during this senior season.


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