Our final semifinal scouting report will dive into the two Division II Final Four matchups taking place tonight at Sanborn Regional High School.
Instead of a regular breakdown, we turn to the coaches who faced this team all year to dive into the matchups for us using blind quotes.
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Division II Bracket Box Scores
#1 Bow vs. #5 Laconia
The top-seeded Bow Falcons took down their cross-town rivals Pembroke to advance back to the semifinals and Laconia went on the road to defeat Hanover in a terrific game we covered.
We asked three coaches to break down the teams, starting with Sachems.
"It will be a battle of wills. Bow’s tenacious defense vs. Laconia’s talented offense" said one Division II coach.
"Laconia and Bow are two teams you hope to see match up as they can both bring it defensively. A classic battle that each bucket will feel much bigger than two or three points. Both teams have plenty of offense but it is the defenses that will always keep them in any game no matter how their offense is flowing for any stretch of the game."
"Bow has the 'IT' factor. They are determined."
"They got a taste last year, lost to Hanover, and they've been on a mission ever since," said another coach.
When talking about the Falcons, their defensive tenacity always enters the conversation.
"The Laperle twins (Lyndsey and Bella) are relentless defenders; they don't let you breathe."
"Their whole roster has a similar attitude and style that doesn't ever let you feel like you get a break from that pressure.
"The LaPerle twins and Sidney Roberge need to dictate the tempo of the game by their defensive intensity," said one coach.
"Bow can grind you out of a game and it will take more than just the starters to overcome Bow."
Depth and unselfishness have been words to describe the Falcons this year.
"There is no 'key player' on Bow. They function as a unit. They are the best overall team in the tournament. No one cares who scores for Bow. They all get the job done."
"Bow has the depth to continue their style of play if they have to go to the bench more than they plan. When Bow goes to their bench their tenacious defense continues and you never quite get a break from it."
"Alex Larabee needs to be active on the offensive boards and
win the 50-50 balls and Juliette Tarsa needs to step up and be Bow’s go-to scorer," said a Division II coach.
"Tarsa is one of the top three-point shooters in New Hampshire."
"For Bow, you know their defense is going to be there, will they spread around shot-making," said another coach.
"If each player does their small part scoring once again, they might get to give the undefeated championship season a shot in the finals."
Bow's physical style of play will be at the forefront of this matchup.
"Bow plays aggressive and in your face on defense and typically does it in a controlled way. Does the officiating tighten up and have quicker whistles in this Final Four match-up? Does that get Bow out of their typical style of play? It is something to look for early on as that could play a huge part in this game."
"Foul trouble could be a factor. Mekhia Burton or Alex Larabee are the heart and soul of their respective teams. If either gets in foul trouble, it could affect the outcome."
"If I were Bow, I would pressure full-court in an attempt to wear down Laconia’s guards and get into their bench. Avoid getting into a shoot-out."
"Can they keep up with Laconia's scoring ability?"
The coaches will now turn their focus to the fifth-seeded Laconia Sachems.
"Macy Swormstedt is a top perimeter threat in Division II and Mekhia Burton could win the matchup over Larabee and Roberge in the post," said one coach.
"It will take really strong games on both ends of the floor from both players for Laconia to have a chance."
"Final Fours are also home to big-time players coming up with big-time games and that could be Macy Swormstedt. Only a sophomore, but from how she is talked about amongst coaches in Division II, she could have herself a game and take them to the finals. Sometimes a single player can make a huge difference."
"Mekhia Burton needs to be mentally tough and control the paint," said another coach.
"When she (Burton) is on her game she can look like the best player on the floor. If Laconia can settle into their offense she can be tough and take over stretches of a game."
"How Swormstet and the Laconia guards can handle the LaPerle twins will be a key matchup."
Burton and Swormstedt will be relied upon heavily, but the role players around them, who stepped up big time in the quarterfinals, will be called upon once again in this matchup.
"Ashlyn DeLuca and Renee Bergeron need to be supplemental scorers and Madeline Mosseau will need to find a way to impact the game either on offense or defense."
"f Laconia can trust their bench to give their starting unit a break and they can keep those bench minutes close they will have a chance."
"If I were Laconia, I would not force the action on defense. Play solid half-court defense, encourage outside shots but know where Juliette Tarsa is at all times," said one coach.
How Laconia handles the Bow pressure could be the deciding factor in this contest.
"Can they withstand Bow’s non-stop, in-your-face defense?"
So, who wins tonight?
"I’m going with Laconia by 3. Great offense beats great defense in the playoffs."
"Bow. They are on a mission."
"I would choose Bow to advance to the finals. The defense you KNOW is going to be there and they always seem to find a way to spread out the scoring enough to win even if they are not lighting it up."
My pick: Bow. Their defense will prove to be too much in the end
#2 Kennett vs. #3 Pelham
Kennett battled with Hollis-Brookline again in a game they won 59-43 at home while Pelham picked up a big win over Milford, even with Jasmine Becotte facing foul trouble early on in that contest.
Our coaches will first start off by breaking down the Kennett Eagles.
"Pelham and Kennett is an intriguing match-up as they did not match up in the regular season and appear to have played varied schedules from each other," said one coach.
"Kennett has a handful of floor general-type players that make smart decisions under pressure. Sydnie Chin could be the key in running their offense and keeping everyone calm in the nerve-inducing atmosphere of a Final Four game."
"It'll be a close game, and Kennett plays with poise and discipline. That will be the difference."
"Kennett has playoff experience and championship pedigree."
"They have many capable players who can step up and take control of this game. I’d keep my eyes on Sydnie Chin, Hope Elias, Kaylee Goodhart, and Catherine Chick."
The scoring punch is there when they need it, but this Kennett defense is what has gotten them this far.
"Pelham has the capability of scoring 70, but can they against Kennett’s defense?"
"How the Kennett guards do defending Becotte will be a key factor."
"Kennett is very disciplined and will not beat themselves. They play excellent defense, are well coached, and have upperclassmen with playoff experience."
"Much like Bow, they do it as a team. They work so well together."
"Kennett is able to spread their scoring around as well and have many kids that can knock down open shots if you give it to them. They are tough as they are patient and rarely take a forced shot. As the final whistle blows you you look at the scoreboard and see 60 points and yet not a single player has double-digit scoring. They have plenty of girls that can fill it up but attacking from all angles and styles is what they do best."
"The (Kaylee) McLellan versus Becotte matchup could be impactful."
"How will they react, and can they keep up, if they get into a shootout," said one Division II coach.
"If I were Kennett, I would continue to play disciplined offense, avoid getting into a shootout and defend in the half-court."
The coaches will now shift their focus to the Pelham Pythons, who have been a flamethrower on the offensive end of the floor.
"Pelham is offensively talented led by Jasmine Becotte, Sophia Joncas, and Abby McFarland. They’ve scored more than 60 points in 12 games this season and more than 70 four times. Their prolific offense makes them very dangerous."
"Pelham has perhaps the Player of the Year in Jasmine Becotte. That might be what turns this game," said one coach.
"If Becotte gets on a roll, she can be hard to stop. Joncas and (Grace) Riley can also score well if they get hot."
"Outside of Becotte, Pelham has a plethora of athletes and winners. At least a few of their players just won a soccer state championship in the fall and have that Final Four experience. They bring a lot of size mixed with athleticism that helps them not only break pressure but use it to their advantage in transition."
"They are also good at mixing in their defenses as they will pressure you full court and back off and play very solid half-court defense as well. Their mix of size, speed, and playmaking on the fly is their biggest strength. All this and adding Becotte and what she can do individually and Pelham is going to be real tough to knock off.
Their offense is their strong suit and could be the real key or difference in winning or not winning this game.
"How will they react if their shots aren’t falling?"
"Turnovers are a weakness. When they get into an up-and-down game, they lose focus and don't play well in transition."
"Pelham can tend to get out of control sometimes. They will need to use their size and rebounding as a strength."
"Jasmine Becotte, Sophia Joncas, and Abby McFarland. Is one or all of them ready to step up and lead the team when needed most?"
"If I were Pelham, I’d be patient, work for high-quality shots and push the pace."
So, who wins tonight?
"Kennett by 6 based on their experience, discipline, and composure."
"Kennett. They don't get rattled."
"Kennett will come out on top. They want a rematch with Bow and will be able to throw enough at Pelham to keep them off balance and maybe even frustrate them enough to get the victory."
My pick: Kennett. This will be a fun matchup. Whoever can dictate tempo could come out victorious, so I will give the Eagles slight edge.
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