Sabers finish with win over Cavaliers

AMHERST – Mia Len and Ciarri Formby-Lavertu combined for 27 points for the Souhegan High School girls basketball team in a 43-39 victory over visiting Hollis Brookline on Friday night.

“(Mia Len) had a great game,” Sabers head coach Mike Heaney said of his freshman guard’s 15-point performance. “That’s the kid I saw all (summer and) I thought (to myself) this kid might be my varsity point guard as a freshman. I thought she was terrific, she made some big shots. She scored with the ball, but she played some good (defense as well).”

The Cavaliers (4-14) would have a 16-11 lead after the first quarter. The Cavaliers (who have qualified for the Division II tournament as the No. 16 seed) were led by sophomore Cassandra Stapelfeld, who scored 13 of her game-high 18 points in the second half.

“She always has a big game for us,” Hollis Brookline coach Bob Murphy said. “She is a sophomore. She is a superstar in the making.”

Junior forward Hannah Chick scored late in the second quarter to give the Sabers (8-10) a 22-18 lead, but the Cavaliers (who had defeated Souhegan 48-37 on Jan. 23 in Hollis) reduced the deficit to 22-20 going into intermission after two foul shot makes from sophomore Mackenzie Day.

Stapelfeld began the scoring in the second half to tie the game at 22-22. Formby-Lavertu (12 points) responded with a basket to put the Sabers up 24-22 with under five minutes remaining in the third.

Senior Kristen Dupont (six points) answered for the Cavaliers with a basket to even the game at 24-24.

Len, who scored 10 of her 15 in the second half, responded with a basket to put the Sabers up 26-24. After senior Kristin Johnson (five points) made a foul shot, Len scored again to put the Sabers up 28-25.

With 2:19 remaining on the clock in the third quarter, Stapelfeld registered her second old-fashioned three-point play of the game to even the score at 28-28. The teams did not score during the remainder of the third quarter and the tie score set the stage for a dramatic fourth quarter.

Stapelfeld got the Cavaliers off to a strong start in the fourth by connecting on a 3-pointer and putting HB up 31-28.

With the game sitting at 32-30 in favor of the Cavaliers, Len found the bottom of the net from three-point range to give the Sabers a 33-32 advantage. The Sabers would never relinquish the lead after Len’s 3-pointer and extended their lead to 39-32. A basket from Stapelfeld (eight points in the fourth) would bring the Cavaliers to within two, 40-38, with under a minute left. The Sabers would make three foul shots the rest of the way to claim a 43-39 victory.

With the win, the Sabers clinched the 11th seed on a night during which they honored their three seniors in Katherine Almeida, Hannah Kenney and Katherine Heaney.

“The biggest thing every senior wants is that Senior Night win,” Heaney said. “(It will be) their last time on this court, last time in this locker room, they get a (win) and now (they are) going to go to the state tournament.”