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10 - March 11, 2011


Hudson~Litchfield Sports Hudson~Litchfield Sports


Lady Broncos Earn Coveted Final Four Spot


Maya DeFosses fights for points under the rim against Pinkerton in Alvirne’s quarterfinal win


by Sue LaRoche The Alvirne girls’ basketball team earned the number-six seed of the NHIAA Division 1 tournament with a record of 13-5 on the season—


DJ Purcell grabs a rebound to help with Alvirne’s defensive effort in defeating the Astros


good enough to earn them a home playoff game, which they hosted on Wednesday March 2. The number-11 seeded Nashua South team, who the Broncos had just lost to in their last meeting about three weeks earlier, came into the Steckevicz gymnasium and ran into a strong, confident, well-oiled machine and lost by the score of 53-38. According to first-year Head


Coach Steve Tracy, the girls “responded to the second chance that I told them you don’t often get.” He was pleased with their defensive intensity and execution and the fact that they achieved their 30-rebound goal.


Both teams got off to a slow start, but by halftime Alvirne had run up a 29-11 lead. They increased their lead at the end of three quarters to 41-20 and despite being outscored in the fourth quarter 18-12, they took the decisive, 15-point victory. Katie Donovan led the way with 19 points, nine rebounds, two blocked shots, and one steal. DJ Purcell added 16 points, nine rebounds, one steal, and one assist. Maya DeFosses and Sandi Purcell each added five


Jessica Underwood applies pressure to Mariah Bonneau to keep stifling the Astro offense


points, with DeFosses adding three rebounds and one steal and Purcell adding five steals and one rebound. This victory earned the Broncos the right to move to the quarterfinals of the playoffs to face a tough Pinkerton squad on the road. The Broncos, who were ranked in the top-10 teams in the state (MaxPrep had them at sixth in the state and third in Division 1; Massey had them at ninth in the state and fifth in Division 1), had to again travel to Pinkerton Academy and face the number-three seeded Astros on their home turf, with the wound still stinging from the loss the Broncos handed them two weeks ago, spoiling their Senior Night. It was a shaky start for the Lady Broncos as they looked tight in the first quarter, managing only three points while Pinkerton scored 11. But Alvirne managed to double their point production, scoring six points in the second quarter, and they held Pinkerton scoreless until 3:01 remaining in the quarter when they sank two three-point shots to take a 17-9 lead into the half. With much discussion at halftime, Coach Tracy


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switched to a 1, 2, 2 zone, which appeared to shake up the Astros as they only managed two points in the third quarter. The energy from the Bronco fans, stirred up by the Alvirne Athletic Director Karen Bonney and Principal Bryan Lane, spurred the Broncos and seemed to re-energize them for the entire second half. In the third quarter, the Broncos scored first, with DJ Purcell hitting a three-point shot. Pinkerton answered back with a two-point basket, but that would be all they would score in the quarter. With 3:16 to play in the quarter, Deanna Trearchis hit one of two free throws to tie the game at 19 and about a minute later, she drained a three to give the Broncos a lead they


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Katie Donovan hooks a shot over the head of Astro defender Brandi Bonneau


would never relinquish. And after a basket by Taylor Carbone, the Broncos led 24-19. The Broncos stretched the lead to as much as 10 points in the fourth quarter, but the Astros would not go away quietly. With 3:01 remaining in the game, Alvirne held a 31-22 lead, forcing Pinkerton to take their fourth timeout. The Astros hit two three-point shots, closing the gap to 32-28 with two minutes to go, forcing the Broncos into a timeout. Carbone and DJ Purcell each hit two free throws, so at the 1:10 mark Alvirne held a 36-29 lead. With 30 seconds remaining, Emily Gosselin came up with a key offensive rebound, giving Alvirne a second chance look at the basket, preventing Pinkerton from re-gaining possession. But again, Pinkerton ran off five unanswered points and with 12 seconds remaining, the Astros took their final timeout with the score 36-34, with Alvirne leading.


Coming out of the timeout, Donovan threw a


Tom Brady-esque bullet pass the length of the court, hitting DJ Purcell in stride for an easy lay- up and putting Alvirne on top, 38-34. Pinkerton hit one final basket but it was not enough, as the Broncos earned a 38-36 victory to move them to the semifinal round—“the final four” in the NHIAA Division 1 tournament. Leading the way for Alvirne was senior DJ


Purcell with 15 points, seven rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Taylor Carbone added seven points, four rebounds, and one steal. Maya DesFosses added five points and two rebounds, and provided outstanding defense for the Lady Broncos. Deanna Trearchis added four points and Katie Donovan added four points, eight rebounds, one blocked shot, and one key assist. Freshmen Sandi Purcell handled the ball well for Alvirne, and Jessica Underwood and Veronica Moceri played solid defense. Senior Cathryn Fernandes drew a huge, momentum-changing charge late in the game. Coach Tracy described how “each of the five seniors stepped up and had game-saving [senior] moments late in the game, displaying leadership and determination not to have it end this particular night.” The Broncos will have played at Southern New Hampshire University on Wednesday, March 9, against the number-two seeded Londonderry Lancers, and if they were successful, they will move to the finals on Saturday at Southern New Hampshire University at 7:30 p.m.


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