Londonderry Lancers Girls Basketball '07-'08

Wed, Feb 27, 2008 07:00 PM @ Londonderry
Team 1 2 3 4 Final
Playoff Game Class L Tournament - Round 1
Dover 9 4 17 18 48
Londonderry 24 16 4 16 60

Lancers survive flu bug and Dover

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Thursday, February, 28 By Mike McMahon
Staff writer

It wasn't an injury bug, but a flu bug that ran rampant through Londonderry's roster earlier this week and forced the Lancers to have just six girls at practice preparing for their first-round battle with Dover.

In the end, it didn't matter much.

A minute into the game, sophomore Callie King nailed a long-range jumper from the corner of the arc to give the Lancers a lead that they would never relinquish as they rolled past Dover 60-48.

Londonderry held a 40-13 lead heading into the locker room, and despite an early second-half surge from Dover, the Lancers used junior Kellie Walsh's 14-point effort to hold on and advance to the Class L quarterfinals. They'll play against Salem on Saturday at Southern New Hampshire University.

"We knew Dover would come out ultra-aggressive in the second half, they had nothing to lose," said Londonderry head coach John Fagula of Dover's 17-1 run to start the third quarter. "We had a nice lead in the first half and sometimes it's hard to carry that same intensity into the second half."

Added Walsh, who led all Londonderry scorers, "There wasn't really a lot of panic on the bench when they went on their run. We were just having a hard time finishing our shots. Obviously we picked it up in the fourth quarter, so that felt nice. We know we have a good team and we picked each other up."

As the game wore on, Fagula admitted he was worried about stamina after the amount of practice time some of his players missed due to illness. The Lancers, now 15-4 in Class L, were giving the Green Wave fits the entire game applying tremendous pressure with their swarming full-court press.

"I wanted to take our press off earlier to save our legs, because I knew some girls were obviously playing sick," said Fagula. "We were having so much success with it and we were causing so many turnovers with it that we needed to stick with it. We were making them use a lot of clock just getting the ball up court. Especially when we weren't hitting our shots in the third quarter, we needed to keep applying pressure."

The Lancers regained control of the game in the fourth quarter by dominating the paint. Savanna Butterfield, a freshman called up from the junior varsity squad six games ago, came off the bench to hammer Dover with 12 very aggressive rebounds to go with her eight points.

"Our post play was very good tonight, and that surprised me because it hasn't been a strong point for us," said Fagula. "Sometimes we aren't as physical down low as we should be. I was really pleased with Butterfield. She's really helped us be more aggressive down there. She's learning on the job a bit, but has really helped us."

Looking ahead to the quarterfinals forces the Lancers to take a look back to Jan. 4, when they needed a Courtney Morissette buzzer-beater to sneak past the Blue Devils, 59-58.

"We didn't play well in the first half against them last time out," said Fagula. "We were really tentative in that first half. We've played about a dozen games since, and we've played some good teams. We played those good teams really well, we won some, we lost some. I think we're playing more aggressive and we have more confidence now than we had in that first game."

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