Category Archives: Londonderry

Pinkerton Academy gets first D1 girls soccer title in PK’s (1-0) over Londonderry

2015 New Hampshire Division 1 girls soccer champions (Pinkerton Academy)

2015 New Hampshire Division 1 girls soccer champions (Pinkerton Academy)

Nicole Alves & Sam Mitchell

Nicole Alves & Sam Mitchell

(Exeter NH) The Pinkerton Academy girls soccer team won the 2015 Division 1 New Hampshire state title 1-0 over Londonderry on penalty kicks on Sunday afternoon at Exeter High School.

The title is the first for the #1 seed Astros (18-1).

The #3 Lancers (16-4) had won eight straight before losing to their neighbors from Derry.

There were golden chances for both teams. Not many but enough to make you think that it might take only two halves to settle things. But PA goalie Sam Mitchell and LHS goalie Jackie Luckhardt had other ideas.

The talented seniors were key to getting this title match to penalty kicks.

In PK’s, the hero of the game became PA goalie Sam Mitchell. When the Lancers Gretchen McGrath hit the crossbar in Round 3, the Astros had the advantage. Finally, in Round 5, Sam guessed right and dove left to smother Mackenzie Donovan’s attempt and Pinkerton had their first title.

Sam Mitchell blocks Mackenzie Donovan's PK to clinch the title

Sam Mitchell blocks Mackenzie Donovan’s PK to clinch the title

The Lancers’ loss lowlighted a forgettable weekend for Londonderry. The night before the LHS boys soccer team lost in the finals to Concord.

However, earlier this year in March both the girls and boys basketball teams from Londonderry won titles on the same weekend.

Courtney Velho had a penalty kick in the first half that went wide.

Nicole Alves drew tight coverage from Halle Hamilton most of the game.

Laurel Goding and June Cranmer got in clean on GK Sam Mitchell but couldn’t get a shot off.

Laurel Goding & Erin Barnes in close on GK Sam Mitchell

Laurel Goding & June Cranmer in close on GK Sam Mitchell

Courtney Velho, Catherine Goodwin, Reanna Romano, and Mel Roberge of PA put shots past GK Jackie Luckhardt in the PK section of the game.

Halle Hamilton, Samantha LeClair, and Erin Barnes of Londonderry scored on GK Sam Mitchell in the same segment.

Billy Ball Stadium was a nice setting for the title game. Nice turf and plenty of seating. My camera wasn’t so sure about those lights that came on as the game went through two OT’s and then PK’s.

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Sam Mitchell rushed by teammates after game-winning save

Sam Mitchell rushed by teammates after game-winning save

Nicole Alves tries to get past Gretchen McGrath

Nicole Alves tries to get past Gretchen McGrath

Katrina Rivard chases Britney Johnson

Katrina Rivard chases Britney Johnson

Reanna Romano on the move

Reanna Romano on the move

Julia Bousquet between Andrea Nelson and Isabella Bourque

Julia Bousquet between Andrea Nelson and Isabella Bourque

Another Jackie Luckhardt save

Another Jackie Luckhardt save

Courtney Velho takes a first-half penalty kick

Courtney Velho takes a first-half penalty kick

GK Jackie Luckhardt robs Nicole Alves

GK Jackie Luckhardt robs Nicole Alves

another loose ball

another loose ball

loose ball

loose ball

Jackie Luckhardt makes a save for Londonderry

Jackie Luckhardt makes a save for Londonderry

Eleven players follow a soccer ball

Eleven players follow a soccer ball

Courtney Velho lines up a corner kick in front of a canine spectator

Courtney Velho lines up a corner kick in front of a canine spectator

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Londonderry boys get first D1 title 47-46 over Pinkerton Academy

Matt Rizzo set to launch the last shot of the game

Matt Rizzo set to launch the last shot of the game

The Londonderry celebrating begins

The Londonderry celebrating begins

Londonderry (2015 Division 1 champions)

Londonderry (2015 Division 1 champions)

Brandon Radford scored the game-winner.  Here he applies some defense

Brandon Radford scored the game-winner. Here he applies some defense

(Durham NH) They aren’t very far apart geographically (five miles) and when this one ended they weren’t very far apart on the UNH scoreboard either.

#1 seed Londonderry won a good-to-the-last-shot thriller over #3 seed Pinkerton Academy, 47-46, on Saturday afternoon to get their first Division 1 boys’ basketball title in school history.

Londonderry should be one happy place for a while since both girls and boys basketball teams were still standing after championship games today and last Saturday.  Nashua did the same thing back in 1986.

As you can tell by the low final score, both teams struggled to have good offense and good defense together at the same time.  That is why the game came down to the last made shot.  Neither team was ahead by more than a point over the closing tense 4 ½ minutes of the game.

The undefeated Lancers (22-0) scored what turned out to be the winning basket with fifty seconds left.  Matt Rizzo (12 points) missed a free throw and Jake Coleman collected his 11th rebound.  The Lancers’ Brandon Radford was lined up on the inside position for the free throw and when his teammate secured the rebound Brandon took off full-speed for the other end completely unnoticed by anyone on PA.  Jake Coleman took a couple of dribbles and spotted and threw a pass to his wide-open sophomore teammate who finished with a layup.  That gave Londonderry a 47-46 lead that turned out to be the final score.

Matt Rizzo shoots with a chance to give PA a two-point lead

Matt Rizzo shoots with a chance to give PA a two-point lead

Believe me, after that basket with fifty seconds to go, the excitement was far from over.  The Astros used thirty seconds of clock before Geo Baker lost the ball out-of-bounds.  In bounds the ball came to Jake Coleman who was fouled with twelve seconds left.  Here was a chance for Londonderry to add some comfort to a one-point lead but Jake missed.  The Astros got the ball into the hands of Geo Baker and I was quite certain he would take the final shot.  Geo, however, was unable to penetrate and was forced left and forced to give up the ball without a shot.  Matt Rizzo ended up with the ball straightaway from beyond the arc.  Matt had time to fake Jake Coleman away from him and get off a shot before the buzzer sounded. The shot missed but not by much!  And the celebrating began for the Lancers.

Credit the Londonderry defense in that last play for keeping Geo from penetrating and for forcing Matt into a very tough final shot.

Cody Ball defends Geo Baker

Cody Ball defends Geo Baker

Londonderry generated good offense/defense together in 2 ½ minutes of the second quarter running ten straight points together.  Two three’s by Jake Coleman (14 first half points) and a three and a free throw by Marc Corey (17 points) put the Lancers in front, 25-17.

It was Pinkerton’s turn to put the D & 0 together in the third quarter.  The Astros (18-4) collected the first ten points of that quarter (3-pointers by Drew Green and Matt Rizzo were part of it) to get in front, 35-32.

You read this far in a story of a Londonderry basketball game in 2014-15 and no mention yet of NH Division 1 Player-of-the-Year Cody Ball.  Cody, on this afternoon, was a cold-shooting (2-for-12) foul magnet.  Cody (St. Anselm’s next year) missed a good part of the third quarter after his fourth foul.

Jake Coleman held Londonderry together with his fourteen points/six rebounds in the first half.  His ability to handle the ball in the second half without turnovers was crucial.  His ability to see a wide open Brandon Radford in the last minute, for the game-winner, was huge.

Geo Baker looks for an opening

Geo Baker looks for an opening

I enjoyed watching first-team all-stater Cody Ball defend first-team all-stater Geo Baker.

Jake Coleman finished with a double/double (16 points/11 rebounds).

Sophomore Geo Baker spent his freshman year at Buckingham, Browne, and Nichols (BBN) in Cambridge before transferring to Pinkerton Academy in Derry.

The two teams met during the regular season at PA in February.  The Lancers won 67-61 in a game in which Cody Ball had five 3’s and Jake Coleman had twenty-five points.  David Faulks had twenty points in that game including four dunks.

Londonderry has now defeated their neighbors four straight games.

Great crowd and the way the game went back and forth both sides had plenty of opportunity to get excited.

The UNH stat crew did, and do, an excellent job.

Box from the game

(All of the pictures below and above enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Marc Corey (17 points) defended by Tommy Romick (11 points)

Marc Corey (17 points) defended by Tommy Romick (11 points)

Geo Baker (10 points) gives Pinkerton the lead in the 4th quarter

Geo Baker (10 points) gives Pinkerton the lead in the 4th quarter

Jake Coleman had a turnover-free game despite plenty of ballhandling

Jake Coleman had a turnover-free game despite plenty of ballhandling

LHS coach Nate Stanton

LHS coach Nate Stanton

Geo Baker and Jake Coleman chase a loose ball

Geo Baker and Jake Coleman chase a loose ball

Joey Kwiatkowski

Joey Kwiatkowski

Drew Green

Drew Green

David Faulks defended by Joey Kwiatkowski

David Faulks defended by Joey Kwiatkowski

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Londonderry wins 2nd straight D1 title 48-33 over Winnacunnet

Londonderry begins to celebrate a second straight title

Londonderry begins to celebrate a second straight title

2015 Division One champions

2015 Division One champions

(Manchester NH) No need for any last-minute heroics by Londonderry in this one.

The #2 seed Lancers started fast and never trailed as they defeated Winnacunnet, 48-33, to take a second straight Division 1 title.

The Friday night encounter at the SNHU Fieldhouse lacked the end-game tension of a year ago when Londonderry rode a late three by Brittany Roche (assisted by Jackie Luckhardt) to an exciting 57-56 victory over Bedford.

#9 Winnacunnet reached the finals by getting the ball inside to Meg Knollmeyer (nearly 20 points per game) and getting to the foul line (83 free throws to opponents‘ 44 free throws).

Tara Burke crowds Meg Knollmeyer (11 points)

Tara Burke crowds Meg Knollmeyer (11 points)

In the title game the Lancers (20-2) collapsed around Meg and wouldn’t let the talented junior or her teammates get to the rim very often.  The Warriors (14-8) had only eight free throws while Meg Knollmeyer was held to eleven points.  Tara Burke and Noelle Lambert were big in denying passes to the interior.

There were turnovers a-plenty in this game.  The number of passes to no one in particular astounded me.  It is important to note that some turnovers are more costly than others.  The first quarter is a prime example.  Londonderry got off to a great 8-0 start.  All eight points came off of Winnacunnet miscues.  That’s costly!

The Warriors played their best minutes of the game after getting down by eight. They got inside (3 layups) and closed to within two (10-8) after a quarter.  Meg Knollmeyer had two of the layups.

The team from Hampton was still within two (15-13) three minutes into the second quarter after a 3-pointer by Molly Britton.  But then the wheels came off for Winnacunnet as the Lancers ran nine unanswered points over the next three minutes to break away, 24-13.  Jackie Luckhardt had a 3-pointer, a rebound, and an assist in the separating segment.

Winnacunnet moved to within two possessions (30-24) on Emily Britton’s 3-pointer with 2 ½ minutes to go in the third quarter.  But the rest of the quarter was all Londonderry with a jumper by Brittany Roche and a long one by Kelsey Coffey.  That ending restored the Lancers’ eleven point lead (35-24).

Molly Britton (#24) had two 3-pointers

Molly Britton (#24) had two 3-pointers

The Warriors go inside a double-digit deficit briefly in the final quarter on Molly Britton’s second three-pointer and later a layup by Meg Knollmeyer.  However, two straight layups by Tara Burke restored the Lancers’ double-digit spread and they played keep-away on offense the rest of the way.

Junior Jackie Luckhardt had nine turnovers for Londonderry but the rest of her stat line had plenty to do with Londonderry winning the championship.  Jackie had eleven rebounds, seven points, nine assists, and six steals.

I saw at least two inbounds layups by Noelle Lambert assisted by Jackie.

This game was long on contact.  Meg Knollmeyer was staggered by a Kelsey Coffey screen in the second half.  Brittany Roche needed help from the trainer after she went down hard.

Winnacunnet scored just one layup in the second half.

Jackie Luckhardt (nine assists) flies over Meg Knollmeyer

Jackie Luckhardt (nine assists) flies over Meg Knollmeyer

Londonderry defeated Winnacunnet, 58-47, during the regular season.  Molly Britton had six 3-pointers for the Warriors while Meg Knollmeyer tallied seventeen points to go with eleven rebounds.  Key to the title win was significantly lessening the production of Molly and Meg in the second meeting.

Greatly appreciated getting a full set of stats from the SNHU stat crew.

Box from the game

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge significantly if you click on them.)

Kelsey Coffey takes time off the clock in the 4th quarter

Kelsey Coffey takes time off the clock in the 4th quarter

Winnacunnet gets the runnerup trophy

Winnacunnet gets the runnerup trophy

Brittany Roche hit the game winner in the 2014 title game

Brittany Roche hit the game winner in the 2014 title game

Noelle Lambert and Tara Burke (11 points)

Noelle Lambert and Tara Burke (11 points)

Kelly Arsenault hemmed in by a trio of Lancers

Kelly Arsenault hemmed in by a trio of Lancers

Londonderry student section

Londonderry student section

Tara Burke and Brittany Roche lock down Katie Valcich

Tara Burke and Brittany Roche lock down Katie Valcich

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Londonderry stuns undefeated Bedford in D1 title game 57-56

Celebrating begins for the D1 champion Londonderry Lancers

Celebrating begins for the D1 champion Londonderry Lancers

Londonderry coach John Fagula retires with 12th state championship

Londonderry coach John Fagula retires with 12th state championship

(Hooksett NH) What a finish!

Junior Brittany Roche broke a tie with a clutch three for Londonderry with twelve seconds left and the Lancers upset Bedford, 57-56, to take the Division 1 title at SNHU on Sunday night.

The win sends LHS coach John Fagula into retirement with his twelfth state title.  John had won the previous eleven titles coaching Nashua.

Gatorade’s NH Player-of-the-Year Aliza Simpson finishes a winner and will be off to UNH in the fall.  Aliza had sixteen points to lead all scorers as well as six assists.

The loss ends a 39-game win streak for Bedford the defending D1 state champs.

The ending of this year’s D1 championship finals will be hard to forget for anyone who was part of the full house at SNHU.

The Bulldogs (21-1) took a five-point lead (54-49) into the final 2:49 of the game.  But in a minute the Lancers drew even with an old-fashioned three (Jackie Luckhardt) and a jump shot (Aliza Simpson).

Finals seconds as Aliza Simpson dribbles.  Note Brittany Roche in left corner

Finals seconds as Aliza Simpson dribbles. Note Brittany Roche in left corner

On Bedford’s next possession, Aliza Simpson tracked down a loose ball in the corner and called a timeout.

With no shot clock, Londonderry (19-3) had plenty of options with 1:20 left.  They opted to run the clock and look for something with very little time left.

At that point I would have bet the store that Aliza would get the final shot on some sort of drive toward the basket.  And that may have been Londonderry’s plan.

Brittany Roche

Brittany Roche

What actually happened was very surprising.  With close to fifteen seconds left sophomore Jackie Luckhardt drove in from the right toward the basket.  I thought at the time that it was way too early for a shot to be taken.  Jackie, however, did not shoot but instead drove under the basket and tossed a bounce pass to junior Brittany Roche in the left corner.  Brittany, called “Big Shot” by her coach and teammates, was wide open and nailed a truly big shot with twelve seconds left giving Londonderry a 3-point lead.

Plenty of time for Bedford to get those three points back and they had at least two timeouts left.  McKenzie Brown misfired on their first 3-point attempt but Bedford maintained possession.  After a timeout Brianna Purcell attempted to tie the game with a second three.  That try was short and Nicole Tucci put in a 2-point rebound at the buzzer.  The Bulldogs still trailed by one, 57-56, and Londonderry’s celebrating began.

Bedford’s biggest lead was six (35-29) while Londonderry’s biggest lead was seven (26-19 & 29-22).

The Lancers made the first attempt to separate getting nine straight late in the second quarter to turn a 19-17 Bulldogs lead into a 26-19 deficit with a minute left.  Aliza Simpson had a three (off the backboard) and a jump shot during this run while Brittany Roche had a jump shot and Tara Burke added a layup.

McKenzie Brown gets a rebound

McKenzie Brown gets a rebound

Bedford’s best collection of offense was in the third quarter.  During 4+ minutes the Bulldogs turned a 29-22 deficit into a 35-29 lead with thirteen unanswered points.  McKenzie Brown converted two rebounds, Brianna Purcell had a three and a driving layup, Ali Glennon added an old-fashioned three, and Haley Driscoll made a free throw.

As the points in the 13-point run continued to roll up for Bedford, I thought the Bulldogs were on their way to taking total control, but it didn’t happen.  Casey Evans stopped the bleeding for the Lancers with an old-fashioned three and Elizabeth Caron hit a jump shot putting Londonderry right back in it.

There were three ties and three lead changes in the last quarter in a game that’s outcome was in doubt until the end.

The loss took the luster off of terrific games by Bedford’s seniors McKenzie Brown and Ali Glennon.  McKenzie contributed a double/double (13 points/12 rebounds).  Ali added eleven points.

Ali Glennon and Aliza Simpson

Ali Glennon and Aliza Simpson

Brianna Purcell started out guarding Aliza Simpson but two quick fouls later it was Ali’s turn to defend Aliza.  I thought Ali did a great job of hounding Aliza everywhere she went.  Anyone taking pictures of Aliza with the ball is sure to have Ali somewhere in the picture.  Aliza did end up with sixteen points but it took her fifteen shots to get there because of the defense she faced.

Jackie Luckhardt of Londonderry led everyone with seven assists and none bigger than the one that set up Brittany Roche for what became the game-winning three.

The killer stat for Bedford was free throws.  They missed eleven of them (17-for-28) and one was the front end of a one-and-one.

Aliza Simpson with D1 trophy

Aliza Simpson with D1 trophy

Aliza Simpson missed eight games and all three of the Lancers’ losses including a 50-36 one to Bedford.

Bedford won easily over Keene, Trinity, and Nashua North to reach the D1 finals.  Londonderry had a tight one with Pinkerton Academy (42-38) in the D1 semis.

Great crowd with plenty of cheering and chanting from both sides.

Hats off to the SNHU security for completely preventing the dangerous end-of-game student rush onto the court.

Thanks to the SNHU staff for providing me with half-time and full-game stats.  Lessens the guesswork.

Full-game stats

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Bedford coach Sue Thomas

Bedford coach Sue Thomas

Aliza Simpson tries to get free

Aliza Simpson tries to get free

McKenzie Brown shoots a late three over Casey Evans

McKenzie Brown shoots a late three over Casey Evans

Aliza Simpson attracts three defenders

Aliza Simpson attracts three defenders

battle for the ball

battle for the ball

rebound battle

rebound battle

Jackie Luckhardt (10 points) drives on Haley Driscoll

Jackie Luckhardt (10 points) drives on Haley Driscoll

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