MANCHESTER, N.H. – So far this season, the Crusaders of Manchester Memorial can claim they are among the best girls’ basketball programs in the State of New Hampshire, along now the emphasis is firmly on “among.”
Defending NHIAA Division I Champion Bishop Guertin came to the Queen City on Tuesday and left after giving the Crusaders their first loss of the year, a 67-51 result.
Bishop Guertin controlled most of the contest, taking a lead 20 seconds into proceedings with a Brianna Wilcox three-pointer that provided a lead the Cardinals would not relinquish.
The visitors opened up a 14-9 lead after the first quarter and grew it to a 37-20 lead by the half thanks in large part to 21.2% shooting (7-for-33) from the field for Memorial over that stretch.
Coming out of the break, Memorial began to edge its way back into the contest. Senior Lyric Grumblatt made three steals in less than a minute midway through the third quarter and eventually the Crusaders came within five points of Bishop Guertin’s lead.
However, continued poor field goal shooting in the second half for Memorial (36.3%, 8-for-22) combined with 14 second-half points from Bishop Guertin’s Erin Carney as the guests began to secure a permanent advantage.
Bishop Guertin Head Coach Brad Kreick felt that his squad still had some things to work on, but was pleased with the win and praised his opponents.
“It’s a road win against a really good team in a really tough place to play. It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t pretty, but it’s a 16-point win,” he said. “I was really impressed what they did in the third quarter, we didn’t respond well, but we really just got on (Erin) Carney’s back and let us get us home.”
Aria O’Connell left in the first quarter with what appeared to be a knee injury. She did not return, but Krieck was hopeful she will not miss any future games.
Carney led the Cardinals with 28 points, adding five rebounds. Senior Addison Smith contributed 16 points for Bishop Guertin, coming just short of the double-double with nine rebounds.
For Memorial, seniors Tamrah Gould and Lyric Grumblatt and Janessa Brunette led the way with 20, 19 and nine points respectively, with Brunette also adding nine rebounds.
Memorial (6-1) now heads to the Gate City with a Friday road contest against Nashua North followed by a road contest against Nashua South on Tuesday. Both games start at 6:30 p.m.