Winter Wrap: Bow, Pembroke headline successful year for area … – Concord Monitor

Souhegan guard Kate Canavan is hounded by Bow forward Alex Larrabee (left) and Bella LaPerle (right) during the first half on Dec. 14 at Bow. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff
Merrimack Valley teammates Macy Gordon (left) and Alyssa Woodman start the celebration after they defeated Pembroke on Jan. 21. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff
Pembroke forward Annelise Dexter goes up for a rebound in the first half against Merrimack Valley on Jan. 21. Dexter ended up with 25 points in a losing effort. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff
While current state champions Hanover were the top of the class in girls’ Division II basketball, teams from the capital area provided a tight three-legged race to who would have the second seed.
Looking back, it’s not shocking that Bow, Pembroke and Merrimack Valley were seeded second, third and fourth in the tournament, respectively. The trio combined for 47 regular-season wins with only seven losses and a round robin of victories against one another.
Let’s dive into the second installment of the winter wrap series.
Key game: 48-36 win against Merrimack Valley on Jan. 24.
Key moment: Runner-up result for the program’s best finish in its Division II tenure.
Season end: 55-24 loss to Hanover in the state championship game.
Final marks: After a shaky 2-2 start, the Falcons rattled off 13 consecutive wins in the regular season and blazed through the postseason to ultimately meet their makers in Hanover. The forward duo of senior Jessica Chamberlain and junior Alex Larrabee proved stellar in the paint, and the defensive tenacity spearheaded by twins Bella and Lyndsey LaPerle was a large part of Bow’s second-place finish. While losing Chamberlain and senior Madison Speckman will hurt from a leadership standpoint, the Falcons will return a large portion of talent, including sophomore Juliette Tarsa, who provided a nice spark as one of the first off the bench.
Key game: 42-36 win against Bow on Dec. 27.
Key moment: Four-game win streak to close out the regular season and secure the No. 2 seed.
Season end: 42-26 loss to Bow in the semifinals.
Final marks: A season ago, Pembroke didn’t even break .500 on its record and it looked as if the rebuild under then-first year coach Steve Langevin would be a slow climb. But those associated with the Spartans knew what they had and knew all it would take was one offseason’s worth of work to make noise in the division. And sure enough, Pembroke won 11 straight games and earned a spot in the semifinal. Along the way, it saw two players earn all-state awards in Ashley Stephens (First Team) and Annelise Dexter (Second Team), as well as Langevin earning coach of the year for Division II.
Key game: 50-47 win against Pembroke on Jan. 21.
Key moment: Three consecutive wins to close out the regular season.
Season end: 44-40 loss to Laconia in the quarterfinals.
Final marks: It was a go-big-or-go-home type of year for the Pride, and there was no shortage of great moments for them. The definitive highlight was a come-from-behind home win against Pembroke to snap the Spartans’ 11-game win streak and prove that MV deserved respect in the division. MV was one of the few teams unafraid to shoot the ball, thanks to seniors Macy Gordon and Alyssa Woodman, both of who earned All-State Honorable Mentions. And, of course, do-it-all forward MacKenzie McDonald (Second Team All-State) provided both lock-down defense and buckets underneath when they were needed.
Key game: 63-21 win against Plymouth on Jan. 4, capping a six-game win streak.
Key moment: 62-39 win at Kingswood on Jan. 24 to secure a winning record.
Season end: 45-40 loss at Kennett in the preliminary round.
Final marks: The Generals were one of the youngest teams in the division, dressing four underclassmen and having no seniors. To post an 11-win season and make the playoffs is a considerable success, especially since the team only won three games the year before. John Stark returns all of its roster for next season and will expect to make the next step in the pursuit of the program’s first title since 1991.
Key game: 33-28 win at Oyster River on Jan. 28.
Key moment: Inspired playoff performance against Merrimack Valley.
Season end: 53-41 loss to Merrimack Valley in the preliminary round.
Final marks: While it wasn’t a win, the Bears pushed No. 4 Merrimack Valley to the brink in their one-and-done playoff game. In its six wins, Coe-Brown won by an average of 11.6 points and, with 11 players returning for next season, it isn’t out of the question to think that with some offseason work, Coe-Brown could be a team to watch next year.
Key game: 77-28 win against Kingswood on Jan. 5.
Key moment: Fourteen-point win over Kingswood on Jan. 28 (57-43) for the Giants’ final victory of the season.
Season end: 54-32 loss at Pembroke in the regular-season finale.
Final marks: The Giants took a hard fall in 2021-22 after winning the state title just a season ago. Bishop Brady only loses two seniors in Libbey Hicks and Halle Sullivan, and it returns eight players for next year. With the right amount of offseason work through open gyms, summer leagues and shootarounds, the Giants can tap into the same energy they had in their title run.

Matt Parker is a sports reporter at the Monitor and started in August 2021. He is an Ohio native and relishes being from the Buckeye state. A proud graduate of Ohio University located in Athens, Ohio, he served as the sports editor for the student-run newspaper, The Post, from 2019-20. When not at a game or chasing around a coach, you can catch him playing his guitars or looking for the next Peanuts memorabilia piece to add in his growing collection.
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