MANCHESTER, NH – Manchester Memorial opened up their post-season with a convincing win against South as well, advancing to the NHIAA Girls’ Basketball Division I Quarterfinals with a 60-29 victory on Wednesday night.
South managed to get the game’s first four points, keeping Memorial off the board for just over half of the first quarter. Jessica Carrier finally got Memorial on the board seconds after South’s second basket, sparking an 11-0 run that provided the Crusaders enough momentum for the rest of the night.
After that early deficit, Memorial Head Coach Greg Cotreau noted that his girls realized needed additional pressure and pace to come up with the victory.
“When we’re at our best, we’re creating havoc off our press, we’re rebounding, we’re running,” said Coutreau. “We started the game kind of slowing it down, playing it at their pace. We talked about playing it at our pace and that’s when things picked up.”
One of the key catalysts in that attack was Jennessa Brunette. Ending the night with 16 points and five steals, she also went to the line six times in the second and third quarters, forcing South’s defenders to eventually give her enough space to find open teammates when she couldn’t slice to the basket.
“Jennessa really loves getting to the basket, she loves playing angles, she’s good at setting up her defender before she gets the ball. She’s always thinking one or two steps ahead,” said Coutreau.
Memorial’s Lyric Grumblatt led all scorers with 21 points, five rebounds and the game’s only two successful three-pointers.
Jasmine Sylveste and Juliana Martin led the Panthers with eight points apiece.
For South, the outcome was disappointing, but South Head Coach Doug Booth left proud of his squad’s effort with several players absent due to a school vacation trip.
“They’re gamers, my girls are gamers. They’re not going to give up at all,” said Booth.
Memorial now faces 12th seeded Londonderry, who upset Salem earlier in the evening.
The Crusaders defeated Londonderry 53-48 earlier this month, squandering a 22-point lead to hold onto the win.
“We were kind of careless with the ball, but we did enough at the end to finish. We need to go back to the film and figure out what went haywire for us and we should be ready to go for Saturday.”