GROVETON — The defending champions are still in the hunt for another state title.
The Mohawks survived a third-time-around struggle with upset-minded Groveton in the Division IV prelims with a 40-32 on Thursday.
Colebrook held a one-point lead, 32-31, with 3:37 to go, and as champion-minded teams do, the Mohawks found a way to win with some last-ditch heroics.
Emma McKeage hit a huge hoop from the side, her second basket of the night. Sierra Riff had a loose-ball steal and an inbounds feed to Ariana Lord for a move that coach Duane Call said was the biggest play of the game. At 45 seconds left, Sage Smith netted two foul shots and 22 seconds later, Lord drained two free throws to cap the 8-1 run.
“They (GHS) had a great game plan and we struggled with it all night,” Call said. “We try for up-tempo and we knew they would slow it down. They attacked when they had an opening. We made some great plays late. This was playoff basketball.”
Early in the game, Smith was the hero with a pair of triples and eight points in the first and 12 of her game-high 20 by half time. Riff (six steals) added four points for a 10-point lead after one. Meanwhile, the Eagles with their deliberate pace had only a Madison Ash two-pointer through the first 10 and a half minutes.
Groveton followers were concerned, but not the coach.
“We were doing exactly what we wanted to do,” said GHS coach Tim Haskins. “There was no way for us to beat Colebrook in a high-scoring game. We had to go for a low-scoring game at a very deliberate pace. I was very proud that the girls executed the game plan as well as we possibly could. We did a great job with it in the second half and had some good feeds for easy baskets.”
The Eagles had seven points from Nodia Davenport in the second. The CA 10-point lead held on the efforts of Sam Howe (14 rebounds total) and Smith for that 24-14 lead at the half. Groveton’s patience on offense outdid the Mohawks 13-6 in the third and cut the lead to three points. Emmalee DeBlois supplied six points. All game long, dogged defense on the tough assignments came from MacKenzie Pape, Deblois and Ash.
Ash had a couple of smooth assists to Deblois in the fourth to close to within a point until the Mohawks turned a couple of untimely turnovers into six straight points and a 15th win. Lord (six points, eight rebounds) was the key down the stretch.
Groveton departs with a 7-5 record and graduates Nodia Davenport and Emmalee Deblois. Colebrook at 15-2 moves on to face Littleton on Sunday at 5 p.m. in the quarterfinals.
CA (15-2): Emma McKeage 2-0-4; Sierra Riff 2-0-4; Sam Howe 1-2-4; Sage Smith 6-6-20; Ariana Lord 2-2-6; Shyanna Fuller 1-02. Totals: 14-FG 10-15-FT 40.
GHS (7-5): Mackenzie Pape 1-0-2; Madison Ash 2-1-5; Nodia Davenport 3-1-9; Emmalee Deblois 5-0-10; Emily Schafermeyer 2-0-6. Totals: 13-FG 2-6-FT 32.
CA 12 12 6 10 — 40
GHS 2 12 13 5 — 32
3-Point FG: C 2 (Smith 2); G 4 (Schafermeyer 2, Davenport 2). Team Fouls: C 10; G 13.
— BY ARLENE ALLIN
WOODSVILLE 48, MOULTONBOROUGH 35: In Moultonborough, Olivia Sarkis scored 10 as the unbeaten Engineers eliminated the Panthers to advance to the Division IV quarterfinals.
Woodsville will play its third road playoff game this week, Sunday at Lisbon (5 p.m.) for a berth in the semifinals.
Emily Prest and Mackenzie Kingbury (three 3s) combined for 18 points and Morgan Wagstaff played tough defense on Moultonborough standout Megan Swedberg (18 points) in the WHS victory.
Up 27-17 at halftime, the Engineers blew it open with a 17-7 third-quarter surge.
WHS: Maddie Roy 2-0-4, Emily Prest 4-0-9, Morgan Wagstaff 1-0-2, Graci Kaiser 2-2-6, Olivia Sarkis 5-0-10, Mackenzie Kingsbury 3-0-9, Emily Farr 3-2-8. Totals: 20-FG 5-8-FT 48.
MHS: Gunnersen 1-0-2, Gleeson 2-0-4, Correia 1-0-2, Velie 1-0-2, Johnson 2-0-5, Boucher 1-0-2, Swedberg 8-0-18. Totals: 16-FG 1-6-FT 35.
WHS 15 12 17 4 — 48
MHS 9 8 7 11 — 35
3-Point FG: W 3 (Kingsbury 3); M 2 (Swedberg 2). Team Fouls: W 10, M 8.
LITTLETON 50, GORHAM 11: In Littleton, Lauren McKee canned three triples and finished with 11 points and the Crusader defense did the rest in a Division IV first-round win.
Olivia Corrigan and Kaylee Manzella combined for 18 points as the Crusaders held the Huskies scoreless in the third quarter after allowing just six first-half points.
“Very good team win tonight,” LHS coach Dale Prior said. “We got contributions from everyone and our defense was solid. It was good to see Lauren hit some outside shots and Kaylee inside. They carried us in the first half offensively.”
Littleton will host defending champion Colebrook in Sunday’s quarterfinal round. Tip-off is slated for 5 p.m. The Mohawks beat the Crusaders twice in the regular season, 54-34 and 66-37.
“Sunday will be a tough matchup as it’s difficult to beat a defending champion but our girls will give it all they have,” Prior said.
GHS: Grondin 1-0-2, Buteau 1-0-2, Bernier 1-0-2, Godin 1-0-2, Girouard 1-0-3. Totals: 5-FG 0-2-FT 11.
LHS: Hannah Brown 3-1-8, Olivia Corrigan 4-0-9, Nicoria Johnson 2-1-5, Kaylee Manzella 4-1-9, Lauren McKee 4-0-11, Jamielee Lamarre 3-0-6, Maddy Carbobbeau 1-0-2. Totals: 21-FG 3-6-FT 50.
GHS 4 2 0 5 — 11
LHS 10 9 16 15 — 50
3-Point FG: G 1 (Girouard); L 5 (Brown, Corrigan, McKee 3). Team Fouls: G 7, L 8.
No. 6 WHITE MOUNTAINS 25, No. 2 WINNISQUAM 21: In Tilton, held to five points in the first half, the visiting Spartans came up with 20 in the second half to win the Region I Division III first-rounder.
With 11 points each, WMR’s Lily Kenison and Winnisquam’s Lauren MacDonald did most of the scoring.
“I was happy with the pressure we applied in the second half,” Spartans coach Chris Foss said. “We created some turnover that got the offense going. Lily stepped up nicely, scoring all her points in the second half. A solid team win.”
White Mountains visits Newfound in a quarterfinal on Sunday at 5 p.m.
WM: Ava Simpson 1-1-3, Lily Kenison 3-4-11, Jaylin Bennett 1-4-6, Morgan Doolan 0-1-1, Alyssa Fryman 0-2-2, Kelsey Graham 0-2-2. Totals: 5 FG 14-25-FT 25.
WHS: Philippy 2-0-5, Power 0-1-1, MacDonald 5-0-11, Day 2-0-4. Totals: 9-FG 1-5-FT 21
WM 3 2 9 11 — 25
WR 5 7 4 5 — 21
3-Point FG: WM 1 (Kenison); W 2 (Phillippy, MacDonald). Team Fouls: WM 8, W 18.