By Jeff Hamrick
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.
"A lot of the girls are unselfish," Pinkerton coach John Barry said. "That's one of the differences from when I coached boys ... Girls are very unselfish; boys will go one on five. With boys you say, 'Pass the ball.' Now, with the girls they can be wide open and you have to say, 'Hey, shoot the ball will you?' "
While Pinkerton was shooting lights out, Manchester managed only three field goals on 16 first-half attempts and finished 12 of 43 for the game.
"They shot very well," Memorial coach Jack Quirk said of the Astros. "But they always shoot well against us. We didn't execute offensively, and I thought we played very, very tentatively.
"I think sometimes when we play city games like against (Manchester) Central, we know the players and even though they're good we play them all the time. ... These other kids we treat them like they're gods because they're just names. We don't realize that they're just human."
Pinkerton 63, Manchester Memorial 39
Class L Quarterfinals
Manchester Memorial (39): Allie Hartford 1 2-2 4, Meagan Allard 0 3-6 3, Taylor Leonard 1 2-4 4, Amra Elezovic 4 6-7 15, Ashley Gendron 1 0-0 2, Arianna Dimou 1 0-0 2, Christa Sopel 2 0-0 4, Lauren Taylor 0 0-0 0, Meghan Chevrefils 0 0-0 0, Sarah Allard 2 1-1 5, Danielle Fletcher 0 0-0 0. Totals 12 14-20 39.
Pinkerton (63): AJ Guidi 7 0-0 19, Katherine Harris 3 0-0 7, Laura Pierce 3 0-0 7, Allie Ucich 1 2-2 4, Danielle Kimball 5 0-0 14, Michelle Reid 3 1-1 8, Sarah Goodwin 1 0-0 2, Samantha Breslin 1 0-0 2, Mariah Bonneau 0 0-0 0, Sarah Cote 0 0-0 0, Stephanie Corso 0 0-0 0, Jackie Walker 0 0-0 0. Totals 24 3-3 63.
3-pointers: MM — Elezovic; P — Guidi 5, Kimball 4, Harris, Pierce, Reid
Manchester Memorial (11-9):10âÇâÇ4âÇ13âÇ12 — 39
Pinkerton (21-2):20âÇ21âÇ14âÇâÇ8 — 63
Next game: Class L semifinals vs. Londonderry, Tuesday 6 p.m. at SNHU