(Kingston NH) “We never got into a flow,” said Pembroke coach Steve Langevin afterwards.
Bow did and they advanced to the DII finals on Sunday night at UNH with a 42-26 win on Wednesday night at Sanborn High School.
The Spartans (17-3) struggled shooting all night long.
The Falcons (19-2) took the lead from the get-go and never trailed.
“We’ve been averaging in the 40’s but we could never get a run going tonight,” said Coach Langevin.
Bow’s shooting wasn’t great but comparatively it was more than enough.
Bow’s Alex Larrabee (16 points) and Jess Chamberlain (11 points) led all scorers.
Undefeated Hanover (19-0) will be Bow’s opponent in the title game. Hanover overwhelmed the Spartans, 50-28, in December.
The Falcons have certainly improved since then. “Bow is playing much more to their strengths than they were earlier in the year,” said Coach Langevin. “They’re now setting up (Jess) Chamberlain and (Alex) Larrabee for those little jumpers. They drive and kick to them.”
The Falcons also lost to Pembroke in December but played tonight as if that loss was a distant memory.
“We played some good defense tonight and couldn’t throw it in the ocean for a while,” explained Bow coach Phil Davis post-game. “But our defense enabled us to hang around.”
“Our half-court defense was what changed the game today,” Coach Davis added. “We knew who their scorers were, and we knew we had to shut them down. We face-guarded Ashley Stephens and Annelise Dexter the whole game.”
Bow scored the first five points and moved their lead to double figures (16-6) three minutes into the second quarter when Jess Chamberlain converted a rebound.
In the third quarter, junior Alex Larrabee increased the Falcons margin to fifteen (28-13) with an inside spin move and two free throws.
The Spartans finally showed some offensive life in the final quarter. A three from Taylor Renna and two free throws (Ashley Stephens – 10 points) cut the Bow lead to nine points (30-21) with 5 ½ minutes left.
But Bow followed with a long possession (There’s no shot clock) that ended with senior Madison Speckman finding an open lane to a layup. The Falcons lead was now double figures again and Pembroke couldn’t get closer the rest of the way.
“We broke their press very well,” said Coach Langevin, “and we held them down with our defense, but we couldn’t get our offense going.”
“We’ve prided ourselves on our defense the entire season,” said Jess Chamberlain. “We know that if our offense isn’t clicking our defense will always be there.”
“We were well prepared for this game,” said junior Lyndsey LaPerle afterwards. “I think we tired them with our press. We didn’t give space. We were always up on them and trying to force turnovers.”
“We had great energy tonight,” added Bella LaPerle. “We wanted to start strong, and we did and got our momentum going.”
Coach Davis: “Syd Roberge is a force to be reckoned with on the defensive end. She can shut down anyone. She did a good job on Ashley Stephens tonight. It’s just effort. She’s a taller version of the LaPerles’”
Coach Langevin: “One of the hardest things is meeting with a team just after they’ve played, and lost, their last game. I told the girls that they made themselves relevant this year. Our seniors were 8-37 their first two seasons. Bow was expected to be here, we weren’t. But we did make it to the state semifinals.”
The last time I saw these two teams playing was in the DII soccer title game in November at Exeter. Bow got that game into OT in the last minute and then won the game in overtime.
Bow 9 11 8 14 = 42
Pembroke 3 6 7 10 = 26
(The pictures will enlarge.)