Last-second basket gives Bedford girls basketball first championship
Friday, March 15, 2013
Bedford’s Haley Driscoll took a pass from teammate McKenzie Brown and made a layup with 6 seconds left in regulation to give Bedford a 39-38 lead in Saturday night’s Division I girls basketball final.
What will be debated is if Bishop Guertin’s Jamie Sherburne was fouled when she took a foul line jumper at the buzzer. Sherburne hit the floor, but there was no call, and the No. 2 Bulldogs were able to celebrate their first state title in their first year in Division I.
In fact, until this season, the still relatively new high school had never won a post-season game in girls’ basketball.
“Still, this was our goal from the first day of practice,” Bedford coach Sue Thomas said. “And we’ll go into next season expecting to win it again.”
It looked like they might have to wait another year when Sherburne hit a free throw with 24 seconds left to put the Cardinals up 38-37. But Driscoll was able to break free for the winning layup, ending top seeded BG’s quest for back-to-back titles.
“We did a great job of running our offense for that final shot,” Driscoll said, “and McKenzie found me with a great pass.”
The Cardinals led most of the way. In fact, Driscoll’s game winner gave Bedford its first lead since the first quarter. It was close throughout, but a basket by Meghan Green to open the fourth quarter gave BG a 33-25 lead, which looked huge in a game with both teams struggling to score.
Green would cap an outstanding high school career with 10 points and 13 rebounds. Jamie Sherburne and Nicole Hayner also had 10 for the Cardinals, but BG would lose Hayner and starter Megan Kerutis when each was whistled for the fifth foul midway through the final quarter.
“Of course that was a factor, when you lose two starters,” Bishop Guertin coach Scott Hazelton said. “But other kids have to step up when that happens.”
Neither team shot the ball well. The Cardinals were under 30 percent for the second straight game and hit just 2-of-14 from beyond the arc, both by Hayner.
If Bedford had lost, it would have pointed to free throws shooting as the main culprit. The Bulldogs were just 9-for-22 from the line.
Bedford had foul trouble of its own, with Brown picking up her third foul just before the half and her fourth in the fourth quarter. But she managed to stay on the floor until the end.
The Bulldogs won despite not having a single player in double figures. Freshman reserve Nicole Tucci led the way with nine points, while Driscoll finished with eight and Brown and Ali Glennon had six each.
Just like last year, when underclassmen carried the Bishop Guertin girls basketball team to the school’s first state title, Bedford was quickly established as 2013-14 favorites the minute it beat BG 39-38 in Saturday night’s final.
It’s a mantle Bedford coach Sue Thomas not only accepts, but seems to embrace when somebody asked her about the expectations for next year.
“We’re repeating,” Thomas said. “Yes, it’s going to be a lot harder because now we’re going to be the team everyone is trying to beat.
“But I graduated just two players and only one saw any minutes at all. It’s pretty much what you see is what you get next year. Hopefully we’ll shoot free throws better next year.”
The Bulldogs won despite going just 9 for 22 from the line, including 6 for 15 in the first half. They trailed at halftime 20-16.
The Bulldogs will be challenged next year. Londonderry, Nashua North and Alvirne all had most of their top guns back, and BG returns one of the division’s top backcourts in Jamie Sherburne and Meghan Kerutis, as well as forward Paige Parkinson and Gabriela Piercy, who started Saturday night.
“They (Bedford) are a good team and I’ve been saying that all year,” Bishop Guertin coach Scott Hazelton said, “but we’ll be pretty good next year, too.”
Brown gets her due
Nobody in Division I girls basketball matched up better with Bishop Guertin center Meghan Green than Bedford junior McKenzie Brown.
She proved it again Saturday night, despite having to sit out eight minutes with foul trouble. Her six points all came on 12-foot baseline shots, and her one assist came on the game-winning layup by Haley Driscoll.
“It’s always been Meghan is the best post player, who is behind her?” Thomas said. “I don’t think McKenzie is behind her, I think she’s right next to her.
“I’m not taking a thing away from Meghan Green. She’s going to be a great college player. But Meghan and McKenzie are the two best post players in the state, and I think they proved it.”
Bedford’s Haley Driscoll, who scored the winning basket with six seconds left in Saturday night’s Division I final, said the team drew inspiration from teammate Ali Glennon, who had to leave the game after dislocating her knee in the second half.
Up until that point Glennon had grabbed seven rebounds, scored six points and did a superb defensive job on Bishop Guertin point guard Jamie Sherburne.
“You get worried, but you also pull together,” Driscoll. “When Ali went down with the injury – one of my best friends in a championship game – we all rallied together to win it for her, because she had worked so hard earlier in the game.”
On a night when shots weren’t falling for either team, Driscoll was a perfect 4 for 4 from the floor, tied for the team lead in rebounds with seven and had three of Bedford’s four steals.