King shoots Souhegan past Pembroke

AMHERST – Jaime King is team player who likes to play a supporting role to her teammates, but also knows when to step in and give her Souhegan High School girls basketball team a timely boost.

King hit two well-timed 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to help the Sabers pull away for a 45-32 victory over Pembroke Academy, boosting them atop the Division II standings Monday night.

After building up a 10-point lead through two quarters, the Spartans found their way to the Souhegan basket for a 7-2 run, cutting the deficit in half at 24-19. Devon Hickey brought her team’s bench to its feet when she hit a 3-pointer that was soon followed by a Mickenzie Larivee field goal to alleviate the threat just a few minutes from the end of the quarter, but the Spartans were not finished.

Pembroke (7-3) took advantage of a couple of Souhegan turnovers to again close to a five-point deficit at 31-26, but after going scoreless to that point in the game, King sunk a pair of 3s to spark a 14-6 Souhegan run to the finish.

“The first 3 felt awesome to hit and the next time down I just felt confident and hit that,” King said. “Then everyone started playing more upbeat and we knew we had control of the game.”

The Spartans utilized their size under the basket to close up the paint, but the fluid passing by Souhegan’s offense spread the defense thin.

“Pembroke is really strong defensively,” said Souhegan head coach Mike Heaney. “It suits them to play a zone, making it hard to get in against all that size. Devon and Jaime hitting the shots forced them to come out a little bit and that let us finish them.”

King waited until the last few minutes of the game to put up all 10 of her points, while Hickey posted 11. Larivee chipped in for nine points and Cammie Formby-Lavertu accounted for seven.

“(Souhegan) moved the ball well and we were trapping and taking more risks to get back into the game,” said Pembroke head coach Joshua Goldstein. “When you take those risks, there can be a big pay off and a big consequence. Whenever we cut it to five (Souhegan) responded, it was a good little boxing match.”

The teams started the game exchanging baskets throughout the first quarter until the Sabers capitalized on some turnovers, including a block by Hannah Kenney. Souhegan went on an 11-0 tear during the second frame and sat on a 29-19 lead at the half.

For Pembroke, Hannah Seidner put up 11 points, including a trio of 3-pointers, and Marissa Kibbee pitched in eight.

With the win, and Hanover’s loss to Hollis Brookline, the Sabers moved into the top spot of the division, with a loss to Lebanon (7-3) as the only blemish on their record. Hanover (7-1) will play at Souhegan on Feb. 14.

“I don’t think anyone expected this, myself included,” Heaney said. “It’s credit to the kids and how hard they’ve worked.”

The Sabers will go back to work on Friday, when they visit John Stark (1-6).