Carney’s amazing hoop run coming to end at Bishop Guertin

NASHUA – Say it ain’t so, Erin Carney.

The Bishop Guertin High School girls basketball 1,000-point scorer, who has been a key component of the last three Cardinal Division I titles in a streak of four, will likely play her last organized competitive game next month in the state tournament.

At least that’s the plan for the senior Carney, who has been a superb leader for the Cards the last couple of seasons.

When it comes to college, educaton first.

“I don’t think I’m going to play (college ball),” she said, as she has top grades and is looking at studying political science. “Maybe just club or intramural. We’ll see if that changes when I get there.

“I could have played at a few schools but not the ones that I was looking at,” she said. “I was really looking at academics and where I wanted to go academically before basketball.”

And this is something Guertin coach Brad Kreick has seen before.

“There’s a decent possibility she could be going the route of her buddy Caroline Hoffer,” Kreick said, referring to the Guertin senior leader of a couple of years ago, a former Telegraph Player of the Year who said good-bye to sports in favor of her studies in college. “She could’ve played at a lot of different places and chose instead to go to school and be a student. I think that’s where (Carney) is leaning right now but it’s not a done deal. But we’ll see.”

Kreick instead will focus on the final few weeks he has coaching Carney, who is the reigning Telegraph Player of the Year and the last two seasons has

averaged anywhere from 16-18 points a game.

“I tell you, kids like that don’t come around often,” he said. “She has been a special kid.

“There was just a maturity beyond her years as a freshman. She stepped on campus and was ready to play significant minutes in a really good program that was coming off a state title victory with a bunch of kids who were rising seniors. And she was ready to go the minute she stepped on campus. That’s a really unusual thing, especially in a program that was returning a lot of quality kids.”

Guertin’s gain ended up being Alvirne’s loss, as Carney is from Hudson. What led her to BG?

“People were talking about it, we had family friends who said it was really good for academics and basketball,” Carney said. “I was more looking for competitive academics with basketball, too. I came to a few open houses and really liked it.”

Carney has never looked back.

“I knew pretty early in the very beginning of eighth grade that I was going to come here,” Carney said. “And I knew that some of my friends were going to be coming too so I wasn’t going to not know anyone.

“High school is way different than middle school, no matter whether you stay in your town or you leave. So I knew I would meet new people and get set.”

Carney has been playing basketball seemingly her entire life, since her youth league days in the first grade in Hudson. She played other sports like soccer and softball, but then decided basketball was her game.

“It was fast paced, always moving, that’s what I really like,” she said. “So I stopped playing softball because it was too slow for me. I played soccer up until freshman year and then decided on just basketball.”

And she’s played a lot of it.

“It’s a lot of work having basketball every single day,” she said. “Sometimes you can get tired of it, but you just have to keep saying it’s going to be worth it in the end; it’s something you love to do.”

And is good at.

“She’s obviously gifted athletically,” Kreick said. “Lightning quick, physically very strong. But her toughness. … We knew she could score the ball, but that kid is an absolute monster defensively. She really has set the tone for us defensively with unbelievable ball pressure, intensity, physicality and so forth. And a lot of what we do really stems from ball pressure and the defensive end of the floor. She’s kind of been our flag holder in that regard.”

Over the last couple of years, Carney has seen that she’s gotten stronger and can finish her drives to the hoop much better than her freshman and sophomore years. “And I’ve been working on my shots so I can be able to hit from anywhere,” she said. “And I need to stay aggressive and play good ‘D’.”

“I love the fact she’s got 1,000 points and she’s dynamic offensively,” Kreick said. “But I really love the fact that she sets the tone for us defensively, and everything else we do in the program stems from that.”

It’s all a key, as Carney is someone the opposition clearly has to be wary of, and not just on layups off the press. Her team looks for her and on a roster filled with talent, Carney is the go-to player down the stretch.

“Definitely, my job is I need to score,” she said. “I need to do what’s best for the team. If that’s scoring more points, then that’s what I need to do to make sure the team has the best outcome.”

And the outcomes have been fantastic, something Carney never really envisioned, even though she would be playing with kids who were her good friends before BG such as Addison Smith and Hannah Muchemore. She’s played with Muchemore for at least 10 years.

“Definitely not,” she said. “It’s been amazing playing with my best friends. We’ve played together before high school and now I get to finish high school with them. It’s been really fun, we’ve had a lot of good times, and it’s been even better that we’ve been very successful.”

She’s also learned a lot about the game at BG.

“That you really need all five players to be successful,” she said was the key thing she’s discovered. “I think that’s what made us successful; we all work together and we share the ball.”

Kreick watched Carney develop the last two years into that tone-setter who can also make the big shot.

“Because she’s not afraid,” he said. “She’s not afraid, and we know that all the pressure and all the noise is not going to bother her to the point where she doesn’t make good decisions. The kid just makes great decisions on the floor whether there’s 10 people in the gym or we’re up at SNHU (Southern NH University) and there’s 2,000 people. She makes great decisions over and over and over again. With that kind of consistency, you trust a kid like that.”

And that is something not every team can say.

“We’re just so blessed to have a kid like that in the program,” Kreick said. “And the other thing, she’d be the first one to tell you, she doesn’t get 1,000 points if not for that group around her.

“That’s what’s special about her. For a kid who is that special individually, she’s an unbelievably unselfish, team first kid. There’s been four or five games when she hasn’t seen the floor in the fourth quarter, and she’s perfectly OK with it. She knows it’s part of what we’re trying to do with the program, get the freshmen going. Just a really unique kid.”

A unique kid who wants to see the Cardinals win their fifth straight title, which would make her 4 for 4.

“It would be an unbelievable feeling you can’t even describe,” Carney said. “Each one is the same feeling that gets better and better each time. I think it would be awesome to finish a high school career with (four).”

And perhaps an organized basketball career as well.