BEDFORD, N.H. – Say what you will about standings or strategy or the impact of COVID-19 on this topsy-turvy season. Friday was just not a good night for the Memorial Crusaders.
The Crusaders return to the Queen City with 67-44 loss to the Bedford Bulldogs, sealing their elimination from the 2021 NHIAA Division I Girls’ Basketball Tournament.
Bedford got out to a quick start and didn’t look back, opening up a 20-7 advantage by the end of the first quarter thanks to a pair of early threes from senior Isabella King.
King finished the night with six scores from beyond the arc on the way to 23 points while freshman teammate Lana McCarthy dominated down low, pitching in 15 points of her own.
Bedford Head Coach Kevin Gibbs says that the early lead helped force Memorial out of their zone defense, leading to opportunities as the Bulldogs sought a teamwide effort against the Crusaders’ man-on-man defense.
“The real key is all the other kids doing little things to get us where we need to be,” said Gibbs. “The extra pass, the aggressiveness on the board, the setting a good screen for somebody. Just doing all of the things we need to success for us. One thing we always say, it isn’t ‘my’ points, its ‘our’ points.”
Despite Bedford’s 8-2 regular season record, tied for third in Division I, Memorial Head Coach Greg Cotreau Jr. felt his girls had a chance to hang with the Bulldogs, citing close losses to Bedford last month as proof that Friday could have gone differently.
In the end though, whether it was Bedford’s shooting or height advantage or home court or any other factor, Friday was just not Memorial’s night
“Tonight was just (Bedford’s) night,” said Cotreau. “They were kind of on a mission from the beginning. We miss a couple of easy layups and we don’t box out a couple of times and you look up and the score is 9-3. You can’t let up against a really good team like this.”
Junior Saphia Mumpini joined King and McCarthy in double digits for Bedford, finishing with 12 points.
Senior Jess Carrier led the way for Memorial with 18 points.
The Bulldogs will now host Concord on Sunday at 5 p.m. after the Crimson Tide defeated Trinity, 68-34.
With Trinity and Memorial’s losses accompanied by Manchester West’s loss to Pelham in Division II action on Friday night, the sole remaining girls’ basketball team from Manchester is Derryfield. They’ll head to Hinsdale for a Division IV Quarterfinal matchup on Sunday at 5 p.m.