DERRY, N.H. — Three days after a furious last-minute rally got them to the state quarterfinals, the Pinkerton girls wasted no time earning a trip to the Class L semifinals.
Crisp passing and deadly long-range shooting gave the second-seeded Astros a 27-point halftime lead before finishing off seventh-seeded Manchester Memorial in an easy 63-39 victory last night.
Pinkerton (21-2) takes a 14-game winning streak into Tuesday's 6 p.m. semifinal against third-seeded Londonderry at Southern New Hampshire University. The Astros defeated the Lancers 39-34 on Jan. 15.
Against Salem on Monday, Pinkerton trailed by nine with 1:12 remaining before a 13-0 run provided a 43-39 victory. Yesterday, the Astros came out firing, connecting on half of their eight 3-point attempts while opening a 20-10 lead the opening quarter.
"It definitely was important for us because last game we started out real slow," senior forward AJ Guidi said. "We didn't come to play until the last minute of the game (Monday), so to start off early like we did helped us gain our confidence. And then we just kept going with the flow."
The Astros flattened the Crusaders (11-9) in the second quarter, scoring on seven of their first eight possessions and eight of their 12 possessions in the period.
Four different players combined for nine 3-pointers in the opening half, including five by Guidi, who missed only one of her long-range attempts, and two by Danielle Kimball, who finished with 14 points.
"We just keep shooting," said Guidi, who scored 17 of her game-high 19 points in the first half on six-of-eight shooting. "We keep telling everyone to keep their confidence up and keep shooting the ball like every shot is going in."
En route to its 41-14 lead at intermission, Pinkerton compiled 14 assists on its 15 field goals. By the time the rout was over, Pinkerton had assists on 20 of its 24 total field goals while shooting 50 percent from the field. Laura Pierce led the passing parade with seven assists.