By Chris Smith
LONDONDERRY, N.H. — Courtney Morissette knows her Londonderry team didn't play that well yesterday in Class L quarterfinal contest against Nashua North.
"There was a couple travels here and there and we turned the ball over quite a lot but we really wanted to win," she said. "We really wanted to make it to the semifinals."
Morissette turned in a strong fourth quarter, scoring seven points, and helping her team outscore Nashua North 23-5 in the final period. With that, No. 3 Londonderry earned a berth in semifinals against No. 2 Pinkerton despite turning the ball over 20 times against Nashua North in an ugly game for both teams. The Lancers won 54-33.
The game is 6 p.m. Tuesday at Southern New Hampshire University.
The other semifinal will feature three-time defending champion Winnacunnet against Keene at 8 p.m.
"I'm not happy with how we played," Londonderry coach John Fagula said, but added: "Sometimes pretty or ugly doesn't matter. You've just got to get to the next game. I think we did enough things defensively to keep ourselves in the game."
Morissette got in some early foul trouble, committing two fouls in the first three minutes of the contest. That forced her to the bench for a good part of the first half.
Morissette, who will play basketball at Rhode Island College next year, was eager to return to the game because her future college coach was in the stands watching.
"That was pretty nerve-wracking," she said. "I wasn't sure if I was going to go back in."
Leading just 31-28 after three quarters, Morissette and junior Jaymi Uphold sparked the fourth-quarter rally.
Morissette did it with her strong shooting and rebounding and Uphold did it with her hustle against the sixth-seeded visitors.
Morissette, who finished with six rebounds, including five in the second half, scored the first basket of the fourth to give her team a five-point edge.
Uphold then made a quick steal and passed to Callie King who scored to put Londonderry up seven.
About 30 seconds later, Uphold drew a foul and got to the free throw line where she hit the first of two free throws and then chased down a loose ball after missing her second one. That hustle play led to another Morissette basket and a 10-point lead.
"We had a few spurts off a couple steals and a few layups early in that fourth quarter which helped," Fagula said.
Uphold converted 5 of 6 free throws in the final period and had three steals in the game.
"Jaymi is great with steals and a great defender," Morissette said. "We owe a lot of this win to her. She did an awesome job."
Uphold added: "It was a sloppy game but in the end we picked it up definitely."
Ready for the showdown
Now it's time for Londonderry to play Pinkerton, which beat Londonderry 39-34 on Jan. 15.
Morissette played on the same summer team with Astros seniors Laura Pierce and AJ Guidi.
"They're a great outside team and inside team," Morissette said. "AJ really crashes the boards a lot but I think if we play our best and we keep hustling, we could potentially beat them."
Fagula added: "Pierce and Guidi are experienced kids and have been in the final four a bunch of times. They are a very disciplined-type team. Physically they are not really impressive. When they come out, you look and say 'How do these guys win 17, 18 games?' But they are very disciplined. (Coach John) Barry does a very good job of coaching and they know who is supposed to have the ball at the right times and those kids have done some good things in late-game situations."
Londonderry 54, Nashua North 33
Class L Quarterfinals
Nashua North (33): Wingate 2-2-6, Boots 0-3-3, Nolan 1-1-3, Gustavson 5-2-15, Tamposi 3-0-6. Totals: 11-8-33
Londonderry (54): King 3-6-14, Uphold 0-6-6, Butterfield 5-3-13, Morissette 3-2-8, Moloney 2-0-5 Bolduc 2-0-5, Thompson 0-0-0, Crutcher 1-0-2, Pescia 0 0-0 0, Hunt 0-0-0, Cloutier 0-1-1, Holewa 0-0-0. Totals: 16-18-54
3-pointers: L — Moloney, Bolduc, King 2; NN — Gustavson 3
Nashua North (12-7):âÇ9âÇ11âÇ8âÇâÇ5 — 33
Londonderry (16-4):11âÇ13âÇ7âÇ23 — 54