Struggling Lady Astro Cagers Take a Split and Hit 11-3

After suffering back to back, double-digit defeats to Nashua North and Londonderry the previous week, the Pinkerton Academy girls’ basketball squad entered last week seeking to return to the winning path.

The Lady Astros, who began the 2015-16 Division I season by going 10-0 before the aforementioned defeats, got back into the win column Tuesday, Feb. 9 by throttling the winless Spaulding High Lady Red Raiders from Rochester by 30 points in Derry.

However, the academy ladies then got back to playing the metal of D-I last Friday night and got edged out by seven points in a 40-33 final by the tough Bedford Lady Bulldogs on that opponent’s home court.

The Pinkerton crew wasn’t pushed hard by the woeful Spaulding contingent in the blowout early in the week, with the Lady Astros grasping advantages of 17-5 after one quarter, 34-7 at the half, and 51-15 at the conclusion of three stanzas.

The locals received points from 11 different sources in that win, with freshman forward Brooke Kane leading the charge with 10 and guards Madison Lolicata and Amanda Lemire each contributing eight.

But the academy bunch knew full well that it would have its hands full with the 11-2 Bulldogs in Bedford at the end of the week.

The hosts entered that evening’s play having won four of their last five contests, and the Lady Bulldogs grasped leads at the ends of the first quarter (14-9) and the second (30-15).

Pinkerton trailed by double digits through much of the third period, but last-minute buckets by Marissa Stacy (a three-pointer) and Courtney Velho (at the buzzer) trimmed the Bedford lead below two digits to 36-28 rolling into quarter number four.

The defenses were strong but the offenses struggled through the first six-plus minutes of the fourth quarter, with Pinkerton only having netted three points and Bedford only having bagged two with just 1:19 left in the contest.

The Astros ended up “winning” the fourth period by outscoring their host by a 5-4 tally during those eight minutes, but they never got their opponent’s lead below seven points and wound up losing by seven.

When asked if there was any reason to fear a sense of panic within her squad’s ranks with the now 11-3 crew having lost three of its last four games, coach Lani Buskey insisted that “concern” was more like it.

“We’re not panicked right now,” she said. “What people fail to realize is that this is a young team, a very young team. And what we need is to have more scorers step up.”

The PA coach also pointed out, “If we only played the second half, we win this game. Which points out the importance of playing a full game.”

The Lady Astros were outscored 30-15 in the first half, but outscored Bedford by an 18-10 margin in the second half.

Caption: Pinkerton’s Courtney Velho looks to sneak a shot past a Bedford defender during the Lady Astros’ tight loss to that opponent last week. Photo by Chris Pantazis