BRATTLEBORO -- It would be very easy for the Hinsdale girls basketball players to start looking ahead to the semifinals at Plymouth State College, another battle with Sunapee, and finishing with a perfect 22-0 record.
And maybe that’s the only hope for No. 16 Epping -- a team that went 2-16 last year and is coming into the first-round Division 4 playoff game with a 5-12 mark. After all, these top-seeded Pacers haven’t tasted defeat yet this season.
The action starts tonight at 7 inside The Stable at Hinsdale High School.
"It’s pretty amazing to go undefeated. These girls deserve it. They have worked hard," said Pacers coach Terry Bonnette, just after his team improved to 18-0 with a win over a talented Sunapee squad on Friday evening.
It was almost like a dream. The parking lot and gym at Hinsdale High were both crowded, point guard Skylar Bonnette made all five of the trifectas that she attempted, and the Pacers made history by becoming the first team in program history to go unbeaten during the regular season.
But now the target’s on their backs. Any of the other 15 teams in the field would love to pull off the shocker and ruin what could be a perfect season.
There aren’t many that believe Epping can do it. But the Blue Devils are coming off a big win of their own -- 47-31 over a Derryfield squad that’s seeded 12th in this tournament.
Senior Sarah Nadeau, who missed her entire junior season with a knee injury, scored 20 points and hauled down seven rebounds in that home finale. And then there is Sabrina Rivers who finished that contest with 14 boards, Chloe Pelletier who scored 10 points, and Carleigh Baer who added eight points.
However, that game was in their own gym and this one’s in the Stable, where the Hinsdale fans proved they can make things difficult for visiting players. And this time, Epping will be trying to match up against three dangerous offensive players -- backcourt mates Allison Scott and Skylar Bonnette, along with inside force Bridget Bourne.
Those three will be teaming up with the versatile Kenzie Bonnette and the unselfish Roxy Toussaint in their patented 2-1-2 zone that has been a nightmare for opposing offenses. Well, that and the noise coming from Pacer fans such as Mikey Batts, Leo Marshall and Leah Bonnette.
Skylar Bonnette scored 20 points on Senior Night, while Scott added a dozen and Bourne finished with eight. Kenzie Bonnette pulled down some big time boards, Toussaint did a little of everything -- screens, hustle saves, accurate passes -- and super sub Breanna Benjamen was superb off the bench.
And the excited Hinsdale crowd will be hoping for a repeat performance from the team this evening.
"I think defense is what makes us so good. We have played good defense all season," said Skylar Bonnette after Friday’s game against Sunapee.
The winner of tonight’s first-round game, will take on either No. 9 Moultonborough or No. 8 Woodsville in Friday’s quarterfinal at 7 p.m. The semis are scheduled for Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. and the finals on March 2 at noon -- each at Plymouth State College.
In the remainder of the Division 4 bracket, No. 15 Lisbon will visit No. 2 Sunapee, No. 3 Colebrook will welcome No. 14 Nute, No. 4 Groveton will play host to No. 13 Gorham, No. 12 Derryfield will play at No. 5 Pittsfield, No. 6 Newmarket will take on No. 11 Wilton-Lyndeborough, and No. 10 Canaan-Pittsburg will face No. 7 Littleton.
Hinsdale roster: Coach -- Terry Bonnette. Players -- Skylar Bonnette 3, Megan Finnell 15, Breanna Benjamen 22, Taylor Roberts 23, Katheryn Fecto 24, Allison Scott 25, Roxy Toussaint 32, Taylor Coleman 41, Keanna Winter 43, Kenzie Bonnette 45, Bridget Bourne 50.
Shane Covey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 163.