Cavs suffer first loss of the season

Friday, February 24, 2012


Staff Writer

HOLLIS – Jane White and Katie Stopera matched each other point for point, shot for shot throughout Tuesday’s high school girls basketball, but only one could hit the game-winning shot.

Down by two with under a minute to play, White got the ball in the corner and drilled her sixth 3-pointer of the game to give Souhegan a 41-40 lead over Hollis Brookline.

After the Sabers got a free throw to make it a two-point game, Stopera had her chance with three seconds left. The HB senior got the ball behind the 3-point line at the top of the key, and let a shot fly right before the final buzzer.

The shot was on the mark, but hit the front of the rim, bounced off the backboard and fell harmlessly to the floor. With it went the Cavaliers’ undefeated season, as the 42-40 loss to Souhegan sends HB into the Division II playoffs with a 17-1 record. The Sabers, undefeated champions a year ago, move to 13-4 with their regular-season finale Thursday at home against Kingswood.

Both White and Stopera finished with 22 points, the only players to finish in double figures, as each scored 13 points after halftime.

“The whole pregame was about watching No. 5 (White) and apparently we didn’t do it,” HB coach Bob Murphy said. “To lose by two points, it’s sad because our defensive issue was trying to deal with her. We needed to slow Jane White down and we didn’t. I wish I could make it more complicated than that, but I can’t.”

Ceara McNamara added nine points for Souhegan, all on 3s, and between her and White, the Sabers were able to take a 37-24 lead early in the fourth quarter.

The Cavs responded with a 6-0 run, on three free throws and a 3 by Stopera, to make it a seven-point game.

White made one of two free throws to put the Sabers ahead 38-30, but Souhegan would go scoreless until the senior’s game-winning 3.

While the Sabers were in their drought, the Cavs rallied. Stopera made two free throws and Ellie Flaum hit a 3 to make it 38-35.

Jill Gillis added one of two free throws to make it a two-point game, and with 90 seconds left, Stopera drove the lane looking to tie it.

Instead, Stopera’s shot was blocked and the ball went to Souhegan’s Cammie Formby-Lavertu. But before she could do anything with it, Kelsey Berry ripped the ball away and made a layup – her only points of the game – to tie it at 38.

Souhegan missed a layup at the other end and Stopera hit a fast-break layup to put HB up 40-38 with 1:05 to play. It was the Cavs’ first lead since early in the second quarter, and it wouldn’t last long.

White wasted little time draining a 3 at the other end, and the Cavs missed a jumper that would have put them up one and were forced to foul.

“Our defensive intensity just dropped significantly,” Souhegan coach Jeremy Faulkner said. “But they took the lead and we got it back. We kept our composure. I think what happened last year had a lot to do with it, being in games like this. They know how to handle games like this.”

Tori Forrest made the first of two free throws, but Souhegan got the ball back and this time, HB sent White to the line. But she missed the front end of a one-and-one and the Cavs got the rebound, setting up Stopera’s last-second shot.

“We’re not the undefeated team now,” Murphy said. “We can be beat. Someone that we already beat, came back and beat us. I think this will definitely help us out.”

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