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Grumblatt stars as Memorial wins opener

New Hampshire Union Leader

December 08. 2017 11:11PM

Memorial's Mollie Simpson goes for the hoop against Londonderry's Ashley Rourke, front and Charlotte Sullivan at Memorial High School in Manchester on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (THOMAS ROY/UNION LEADER)

MANCHESTER — One game won’t tell fortunes for a whole season but the Manchester Memorial girls’ basketball team has to like where it is after Friday’s season opener.

The Crusaders had everything working to their favor in a 63-40 win over Londonderry at Bronstein Gymnasium. The rout was fueled by 10 3-pointers for Memorial, which put 10 players on the scorer’s sheet and offered stifling defense during key scoring runs.

“I told these girls that if we balanced the floor like we did, then we’re going to be successful,” second-year Memorial coach Greg Cotreau said. The Crusaders fell to the Lancers by eight to open last season. “Haleigh (Shea) had kind of a tough night with the ball, getting hounded by two or three people when she had it. That’s probably how things are going to go until we can get others consistently scoring the ball.”

Shea, arguably Memorial’s top player, registered just three points for the Crusaders but her teammates indeed came to the rescue as Cotreau hoped. Mollie Simpson scored all 11 of her points in the first half to help Memorial get out to a 39-17 lead at the break. Lyric Grumblatt held Memorial’s lead in double digits throughout the second half as she erupted for 14 of her game-high 17 points. Grumblatt, a sophomore, did all her damage coming off the bench.

“I sent her a text this morning telling her I had a strong feeling about her having a good game. She said ‘I hope so,’” said Cotreau of Grumblatt. “She’s put in a lot of work in the offseason to try to get better at everything. She is the complete package and it’s something I will have to continue to work on and rely on knowing I’m going to graduate eight seniors after this season.”

Memorial settled the game by halftime due to offensive bursts. A 9-0 run to start the game set a good tone before the Crusaders outscored the Lancers 25-10 in the second quarter. The second quarter was highlighted by Jennessa Brunette’s three-point play to give Memorial its first and only double-digit edge before Simpson and Mel Presseau hit back-to-back 3-pointers to bump the lead to 17 a minute later.

“They don’t know how to deal with a run yet and don’t have the confidence to execute yet,” said Londonderry coach Nick Theos. “Memorial is long and poses a lot of different problems for a short team like us, We’ve got holes we’re going to have to dig ourselves out from even before the game starts.”

Courtney Shay offered a team-high 12 points for the Lancers, who got to within 11 points in the second half before Memorial again inflated the lead. Absent-minded plays on offense didn’t help Londonderry’s effort, but neither did defensive breakdowns that opened up lanes and outside shots, including Memorial’s 10 treys.

“We played Pelham in a scrimmage on Tuesday and handled them well without hitting one 3-pointer,” Cotreau said. “We have girls that can finish down low and some that aren’t afraid to drive. All in all, the three-ball is important for us but we can’t solely rely on it with the expected down nights. We will have to score in other ways.”

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