Bedford falls to Londonderry

The Bedford High School girls basketball team has enjoyed plenty of success this winter, but a determined Londonderry squad demonstrated that the Bulldogs still have room for improvement.

The Lancers handed Bedford its first loss of the season convincingly, 46-28, in a highly anticipated Division I meeting last Friday. It was a different scene from Dec. 19, when the Bulldogs pulled off a thrilling 53-52 win over the Lancers on their home court.

The Lancers (7-1) pounced out of the gates by constructing a 13-0 lead in the first quarter. Bedford (7-1) struggled to get quality shots off and failed on the first 10 attempts at the hoop until Madeline Blake broke through with a 3-pointer late in the opening quarter.

“Offensively we forced things so when we started getting open shots they just wouldn’t fall,” Bedford coach Sue Thomas said. “We never found our rhythm.”

The Lancers’ size advantage allowed them to control action in the paint, collect rebounds and set up quality opportunities at the basket to maintain the lead for all four quarters.

The Bulldogs made things interesting at the end of the third quarter when they composed a 10-2 run closing the deficit to seven. Nicole Tucci caught fire with three straight field goals to initiate the burst, but Londonderry stayed disciplined to its game plan to douse the comeback.

“We wanted to run on (Bedford) as much as we could,” said Londonderry coach Nick Theos. “We thought our posts could get up and down the court and we did that. We always want to go inside out and when they double or take it away, we have shooters so that’s always our game plan.”

Early in the fourth quarter, Brittany Roche sunk a 3-pointer to put the Lancers back in a comfortable 10-point lead that only grew from there.

Tucci led the Bedford scoring with 10 points, Mia Roy added seven and Brianna Purcell tossed in four.

Ashley Berube carried the banner for Londonderry with 16 points and Jaclyn Luckhardt and Kelsey Coffey accounted for eight a piece.

The lack of quality shooting prevented the Bulldogs from remaining perfect, but Thomas was pleased with her team’s defensive efforts.

“To hold a really good team to 40 some-odd points, that’s pretty good,” Thomas said. “They’re much bigger than we are so defensively we did a good job.”

Despite Londonderry’s clear size advantage, the Bulldogs were able to disrupt a number of offensive opportunities preventing the Lancers from putting the game out of reach early.

The loss knots up Londonderry and Bedford atop the standings, but the Bulldogs know what kind of adjustments to make in order to remain successful.

“We can play with (Londonderry) if we clean up our offense,” said Thomas. “It was a game that if we had found some offensive rhythm we could’ve got back into it with one or two shots.”

The Bulldogs will be back in action tonight in a visit with Alvirne (4-2).