Monday February 25, 2013

BRATTLEBORO -- Following a rout of Gorham on Jan. 8, the Groveton girls basketball team had an 8-0 record and while looking ahead to the playoffs coach Tim Haskins told the New Hampshire Union Leader, "It would be nice to have a second crack at Hinsdale."

As they say, be careful what you wish for.

No. 4 Groveton (16-4), which had won the Division 4 title from 2008-11, hasn’t been able to forget last year’s quarterfinal -- a 46-40 loss in Hinsdale -- that ended its four-year reign. And Haskins will get his chance at revenge tonight when his Eagles take on the top-seeded Pacers (20-0) in the semifinals at Plymouth State College at 7.

Haskins likely remembers his Eagles being held scoreless for the first 9:38 of last year’s game at the Stable, roaring back to take a 29-24 lead into the fourth, and then watching Hinsdale backcourt mates Skylar Bonnette and Allison Scott score six points each during a late 13-3 run that eliminated his powerhouse.

Groveton’s lone blemishes this season were two losses to No. 3 Colebrook, another to Woodsville and a fourth to White Mountains, which is the fourth-ranked team in Division 3. But in the rematch with White Mountains, Makenna Burke scored 13 points, Becca Rogers and Talia Bedell each added nine, and Jena Wheelock finished with seven, as they turned the tables.

Bedell, a three-year starter, runs the show for Groveton. She’s said to handle the ball really well and also play good defense.

Burke, who scored her 1,000th point on Feb. 15, helped the Eagles win it all when she was in grades 8, 9 and 10. The ever-dangerous senior scored 13 points, grabbed nine rebounds and added eight steals in that rout of Gorham, which was followed by the wish by coach Haskins.

He couldn’t have known that the Pacers were going to run the table during the regular season and come into this semifinal with a 20-0 mark. But really, who could have predicted that?

After a wild Senior Night in which they capped off the regular season with a perfect record, Terry Bonnette’s squad pounded Epping 46-14 in round one and then outscored Woodsville 39-34 in the quarterfinals.

"Our forte has kind of been our defense," said Bonnette, whose team held Epping and Woodsville to just four and 10 second-half points respectively. It helps to have shot changer Bridget Bourne in the center of your 2-1-2 zone, but forwards Roxy Toussaint and Kenzie Bonnette have been boxing out down low and the star guards have been putting pressure on the perimeter shooters.

Scott has led the way offensively in both playoff games, including 18 versus Epping and then 15 against Woodsville. Skylar Bonnette has 20 points combined and Bourne is next with 16, while super sub Breanna Benjamin contributed with seven in the quarterfinal.

It will be the undefeated and top-seeded Pacers against a Groveton team that’s won four of the last seven Division 4 titles when the two meet tonight at 7 at Plymouth State College in the semifinals. No. 3 Colebrook (17-3) and No. 2 Sunapee (18-2) will square off in the other side of the bracket.

Shane Covey can be reached at scovey@reformer.com or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 163.