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The Links at Outlook Girls Basketball Final Thursday Thoughts for 3/18/2021

By Lance Legere, 03/18/21, 6:00AM EDT


Lana McCarthy of Division I champion Bedford (photo by Matt Parker)

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 A season to remember... 

 There was a time this fall when it looked like we may not have a basketball season. I wasn't too hopeful. 

 The NHIAA, athletic directors, coaches, school districts, and everyone else in between did a tremendous job pulling this all off. The players were the real troopers through all of this. This was a season like no other, and every single player showed up every day and put in the work, and did everything they could to have as normal of a season as possible. Calling a game with a mask isn't easy, I can't imagine playing 32 minutes of basketball in one. The girls were remarkable all year.  

 Coming into this season, Jen and I wanted to try and see new teams every week. During the regular season, we did pretty much just that. The relationships we formed with programs last year certainly came over into this season and we even formed quite a few new ones as well. Getting to see different teams was a great sign that our coverage is only going to grow.  

 Regionalized schedules benefited but also hurt some teams in the long run. 

 Conant is a prime example of a team that benefited from a different kind of schedule. They beat a team in every single division. What a rare and unique accomplishment that we most likely won't see again. 

 They beat two champions in Bishop Brady and Hinsdale. I also like to think they would have been competitive or at least in games with Bedford or Bishop Guertin in Division I. 

 The point here is that Conant wanted a competitive schedule. They felt they were one of the best in Division III, but they also got the chance to prove that they were one of the best teams in the state by playing tougher competition. 

 If teams are willing to make the drive to a Hanover or a Hinsdale, it would be great to see schools make schedules that feature outside Division competition. 

 A team like Bow would benefit from seeing Concord one or twice a year, or a team like Woodsville should see White Mountains on the schedule every season. In the playoffs, it showed what teams had been tested or not in the regular season. Playing teams out of division or teams that may be better than you can only help in the long run.  



 Playoff basketball certainly did not disappoint this year. Starting in Division I, we finished with the two teams we expected to be there in the end of all this. 

 Bedford had the toughest path to the finals and they end up as your Division I champs. Region 2 was the best in the state and each game was a test on its own. 

 If anyone was going to beat BG, it was the Bulldogs. Bedford knew they had a prime opportunity to beat them on night one and they let it slip away in the first half. There couldn't be a better story than coming back from defeat and putting together their most complete performance of the season.  

 Division II had the best finish of the year. Much like we saw in 2015 on the boy's side, a fast-break layup was the deciding factor in a championship for Bishop Brady. Isabella Rivera made the most pressure-filled left-handed layup look as easy as can be in the clutch. 

 Also, it has to be said again how great of a run it was for Kennett, especially Maddie Stewart. After being sidelined with an injury last year and coming back this year to lead the Eagles back to the finals is truly remarkable. 

 Round 2 of Conant-Fall Mountain was what we thought we were getting back in January, and it is exactly what we got this past Sunday. The two top teams in Division III played the two toughest schedules in the division but Conant was just too much to handle for anyone this year. Elizabeth Gonyea was on a mission. 

 Speaking of on a mission. Sage. Smith. She willed Colebrook back to the finals with a 32 point performance and although it ended in defeat, her 27 points against a very good Hinsdale team is nothing to overlook. 

 Angelina Nardolillo came back for one reason. To win a championship where it all started for her at Hinsdale. She did just that and finishes her illustrious career with two titles. 

 The Pacers as a whole had a great run this past four years with players like Nardolillo, Delaney Wilcox, and Megan Roberts leading the way. 


NHSportspage Senior Team 

 As we have seen on the boy's side the past two years, Dave and his selection of coaches have put together a senior and underclassmen team to compete against BABC, one of the top AAU programs in the country. 

 We are going to be starting with a senior team on the girl's side and while the team hasn't quite been selected yet, we do have a head coach to announce. 

 Kevin Gibbs of Bedford will be appointed head coaching duties for our first ever NHSportspage Senior Team. We will soon put together a team consisting of seniors from across the state to compete against an AAU team that will soon be announced. 


A little bit of everything... 

 I said I would see a game at The Pratt this season, and as Elizabeth Gonyea reminded me this past Thursday, that never happened. With Brandon Bojarsky and Ian Melewski in the area, I was unable to go out there this year. But trust me, I will get there soon... I just want to give a quick thank you to Sanborn, Bedford, Trinity, and Plymouth for all being such great hosts to not just the teams but also to our staff. We were able to attend all four championship games and we can't thank each school enough for being so accomodating... Although limited, it was great having crowds back for the playoffs. The atmosphere can't be beaten. I can't wait to get back atop the floor at Plymouth State next year... Scoring champions across each division: Isabella King of Bedford (19.9 ppg), Stella Galanes of Hanover (19.0 ppg), Elizabeth Gonyea of Conant (17.4 ppg), Sage Smith of Colebrook (23.3 ppg)... Pat Roye telling me the Hopkinton girls were never satisfied not being in the Top 10 in my Thursday Thoughts made my year just knowing they tuned in each week to read... Bow has set the standard for interviews, easily the best we've seen all year... 1st Annual All-Girls Glue-Team (I think the team will be named after the captains once their careers are done): Captains Bella and Lyndsey LaPerle, Emma Smith of Exeter, Saphia Mumpini of Bedford, Mylie Aho of Conant, Ellie Camp of Kearsarge, Kally Murdough of Hopkinton, Erin Flurey of Manchester Central, Hunter Stonebreaker of Souhegan, Kleay Steever of Hinsdale and Mackenzie Kingsbury of Woodsville... I said it last year and I will say it again this year, THE PLAYER OF THE WEEK POLL IS TO RECOGNIZE DESERVING PLAYERS, IT IS NOT A COMPETITION. Just needed to get that across one more time... as Dave pointed out in his article, officials got a good earful from parents on a nightly basis. There were some nights where things got way too out of hand. These officials are doing the best they can and we need to let them take control of the game themselves... I hope we can get back to normal next season. I'm sure we were all thinking this time last year that we would have no problem having a normal basketball season. We don't know what next year has in store, but I know that our team can't wait to be back covering these kids and help capture these moments that will last a lifetime... 


NHsportspage All-State Selections


Division I


First Team All-State

Isabella King of Bedford 

Meghan Stack of Bishop Guertin 

Sarah Dempsey of Windham 

Ava Woodman of Concord 

Mary Paradis of Spaulding 


Second Team All-State

Avah Ingalls of Pinkerton 

Jessica Carrier of Manchester Memorial 

Ava Winterburn of Goffstown 

Kailee McDonald of Bishop Guertin 

Sydney Taylor of Exeter


Third Team All-State

Gillian Waller of Merrimack 

Elizabeth Blinn of Concord 

Lana McCarthy of Bedford 

Colby Guinta of Trinity 

Savannah Emery of Portsmouth


Comments: Division I was full of so much talent this season. Leaving Avah Ingalls off of first-team and Colby Guinta and Gillian Waller of Merrimack off of the second were the toughest decisions by far. 


 The All-Angry Email Team (players that could have made the three teams above but didn’t, and angry emails may be written to say just that)…..

Madison Pepra-Omani of Manchester Memorial 

Iruka Obinelo of Nashua South 

Sydney Emerson of Salem 

Erin Flurey of Manchester Central 

Paige McKinley of Alvirne 

Brooke Paquette of Bishop Guertin 

Saphia Mumpini of Bedford 

Ashley Rourke of Londonderry 

Olivia Murray of Bishop Guertin 

Christina Snicer of Exeter 

Kristina Packowski of Pinkerton 

Maggi Sasso of Goffstown 

Olivia Mazzerolle of Nashua North 

Achol Tour of Trinity 


Player of the Year: Isabella King of Bedford 

King was the best player in the state this season. She showed her ability to score and be a playmaker for a Bedford group with championship aspirations. She did everything head coach Kevin Gibbs asked of her and led the Bulldogs to a title.

Runner-up: Sarah Dempsey of Windham 


Coach of the Year: Tim Hopley of Portsmouth 

 Hop led a group that wasn't even fully healthy all season to a Final Four appearance a few years ahead of schedule. Tim always gets the best out of his group and he certainly got everything he could ask for this season. 

Runner-up: Frank Girginis of Alvirne


Division II 


First Team All-State

Ami Rivera of Bishop Brady 

Stella Galanes of Hanover 

Melissa Whitmore of Hanover 

Maddie Stewart of Kennett 

Elisabeth Stapelfeld of Hollis-Brookline 


Second Team All-State

Madison Houghton of Sanborn 

Sally Rainey of Lebanon 

Jordan Levesque of Plymouth 

Isabella Daly of Laconia 

Alex Larrabee of Bow 


Third Team All-State

Tallie Carney of Pelham 

Jasmine Becotte of Pelham

Ashley Stephens of Pembroke

Catherine Cole of Lebanon

Ellen McGough of Sanborn 


Comments: Another tough split of a very good pool of talent. There are certainly players on the angry-email team that could be deserving a spot on any of the three teams above. 


The All-Angry Email Team (players that could have made the three teams above but didn’t, and angry emails may be written to say just that)…..

Libbey Hicks of Bishop Brady 

Jennifer Bettencourt of Coe-Brown 

Leia Brunt of Plymouth 

Kate Canavan of Souhegan 

Carissa Miller of Oyster River 

Halle Laramie of Bishop Brady 

Isabella Rivera of Bishop Brady 

Maddy Faber of ConVal 

Brady Johnson of John Stark 

Macy Gordon of Merrimack Valley 

Valentina White of Coe-Brown 

Abuk Teng of Manchester West 

Lyndsey LaPerle of Bow

Bella LaPerle of Bow 

Jane Lackley of Hanover 

Annelise Dexter of Pembroke 


Player of the Year: Ami Rivera of Bishop Brady 

This was my pick in the pre-season and her consistent play and impactful playoff run has Rivera winning the award at the end of the year as well. Everything ran through Rivera for Brady. She was their most important player and came through when it mattered most 

Runner-up: Maddie Stewart of Kennett 


Coach of the Year: Jeff Greeley of Laconia 

Laconia overachieved in the eyes of many, and Greely was a contributing factor, leading his team to an 11-2 regular season record. 

Runner-up: Dave Levesque of Plymouth 


Division III


First Team All-State 

Elizabeth Gonyea of Conant 

Avery Stewart of Fall Mountain 

Sophie Bardis of Fall Mountain 

Paulina Huckins of Newfound 

Tori Allen of Campbell 


Second Team All-State 

Caroline Camp of Kearsarge 

Emma Tenters of Conant 

Malina Bohlmann of Newfound 

Brynn Rautiola of Conant 

Maurgan McGrath of Hopkinton 


Third Team All-State 

Hannah Capsalis of Prospect Mountain 

Karleigh Schultz of Campbell 

Makenna Grillone of Fall Mountain 

Tegan Kirby of Conant 

Morgan Hall of Belmont


Comments: Conant, Fall Mountain, Campbell, and Newfound have a lot of recipients on these teams because they had a lot of impact players and they were the best four teams all year long. Tori Allen and Emma Tenters were the best bigs in the division and were a toss-up, but what it came down to was Allen being the cog for Campbell all season. 


The All-Angry Email Team (players that could have made the three teams above but didn’t, and angry emails may be written to say just that)…..

Makenna Balderamma of Berlin 

Allison Carr of Gilford 

Mackenzie Philippy of Winnisquam 

Lily Kenison of White Mountains 

Ava Simpson of White Mountains 

Kally Murdough of Hopkinton 

Mea Carroll-Clough of Monadnock 

Riley Gamache of Campbell 

Bailey Fairbank of Newfound 

Rayna Tucker of Kearsarge 

Kiley Bundy of Stevens 

Sarah Leahy of St Thomas Aquinas 

Grace LeClair of Monadnock 

Kathryn Lacasse of Raymond 

Lindsey Sanderson of Gilford 

Molly Moynihan of Inter-Lakes

Erin Brady of Fall Mountain


Player of the Year: Elizabeth Gonyea of Conant 

Gonyea was the best player on the floor every time she took it this season. Conant was a great team all-around, but Gonyea is what made the Orioles go all year long. 

Runner-up: Avery Stewart of Fall Mountain 


Coach of the Year: Brian Troy of Conant 

There was no drop-off from last year's championship team to this year's championship squad and Brain Troy is a big reason why. Even with one of the toughest schedules in the state the Orioles remained undefeated and ran the table for a second consecutive year. 

Runner-up: Pat Roye of Hopkinton 


Division IV 


First Team All-State 

Sage Smith of Colebrook

Angelina Nardolillo of Hinsdale 

Olivia Sarkis of Woodsville 

Samantha Howe of Colebrook 

Emmy Plage of Derryfield 


Second Team All-State 

Emily Prest of Woodsville 

Delaney Wilcox of Hinsdale 

Brianna Filion of Newmarket 

Chloe Weeks of Farmington 

Jaclyn Peaslee of Farmington 


Third Team All-State 

Olivia Corrigan of Littleton 

Megan Swedberg of Moultonborough 

Maddie Trainor of Portsmouth Christian 

Emmalee Deblois of Groveton 

Alyvia Drapeau of Lin-Wood 


Comments: The first team was the easiest to put together, the second and third-team could definitely see a few players trade places depending on how you look at it. This was one of the deeper player pools Division IV has had in the past few years. 


The All-Angry Email Team (players that could have made the three teams above but didn’t, and angry emails may be written to say just that)…..

Graci Kaiser of Woodsville 

Nodia Davenport of Groveton 

Hannah Brown of Littleton 

Olivia Wattendorf of Franklin 

Sara Brown of Lisbon 

Jenna Needham of Epping 

Rosie Treece of Mount Royal 

Morgan Wagstaff of Woodsville 

Abigail Henry of Newmarket 

Megan Roberts of Hinsdale 

Megan Muir of Concord Christian 

Abby Pollari of Sunapee 

Shawna Lesmeries of Derryfield  

Lauren McKee of Littleton


Player of the Year: Sage Smith of Colebrook 

Smith makes it back-to-back after willing the Mohawks to a second consecutive championship game. Her offensive game somehow got even better than it was last season and ends her career in the 1,500 point club along with Sam Howe. 

Runner-up: Angelina Nardolillo of Hinsdale


Coach of the Year: Courtney Cheetham of Derryfield 

Cheetham's first year in the program could not have gone better. In a normal season, this is a team that was capable of the Final Four, even without a player like Shawna Lesmeries. If she was healthy I would say it is definite they could have been there, but nonetheless, Cheetham is starting to build a great system at Derryfield. 

Runner-up: Steve Colby of Woodsville 


Year 2 of girls basketball coverage could not have gone any better. Jen and I and the rest of the team can't wait to keep expanding on the great strides we have made! 

 Be on the lookout for our senior team roster announcement and don't worry, we will back very soon with baseball and softball coverage! 

 Thank you to our partners Core Physicians, Great Bay Community College, White Mountains Community College, Kevin Shaw at Roche Realty, York County Community College, NHTI, and Buffalo Wild Wings of Manchester, Concord & Nashua for making our coverage possible!

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