Basketball: Conant girls win their way to Sunday’s state championship game

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Conant girls' basketball team played Campbell in the Division III semifinals at Trinity High School on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 3/12/2021 8:04:16 AM

Conant’s quest for perfection – and a ninth state championship – culminates Sunday against Fall Mountain, after the Orioles survived a battle in the trenches against Campbell in Thursday’s semifinal game. 

Conant (14-0) is clearly the most dominant basketball team in Division III at this point; Campbell coach Sean Hogan knew that if his girls were going to hang with the Orioles, they’d need to get tough, get physical and push them around a little bit. 

“We knew the game plan going in,” Conant head coach Brian Troy said, “they were going to get physical – but they took it to another level. They play us as physical as they can – they’re not scared of us.”

Campbell gave Conant a scare in last year's tight semifinal contest, and they displayed that same intensity on the court at Trinity High School Thursday night, as both teams competed at the neutral site with fans from both sides in attendance. The Cougars came out on a 10-4 run as Maddie Davis (12 points) and Tori Allen (12 points) had it going early. On the defensive end, Campbell collapsed the paint and punished any Oriole who stuck their masked nose in. 

“These playoff games, I’m telling you, it doesn’t matter your skill level, teams are going to come out and punch you in the face and that’s exactly what they did,” Troy said.

Fortunately for the Orioles, they have a pugilist of their own in junior captain Teagan Kirby. As Campbell focused much of their attention on reigning Player of the Year Elizabeth Gonyea, Troy urged Kirby to take advantage of Campbell’s wandering eye and take it to the hoop herself. 

“She really answered the bell,” Troy said. 

Kirby got to the hoop over and over and again, scoring 16 points in the paint in the first half to turn the tide Conant’s way.

“This is Liz’s senior year, we want to go back to the ’ship, so we just had to leave it all on the floor and go 100 percent the entire game,” Kirby said after the game. 

The Orioles turned their early eight-point deficit into a 32-24 halftime lead and extended it as they came out in the second half, and any illusions that this would be a close game started quickly slipping away. Campbell did have one last chance to get back in the game, as, thanks to the physical play, both Gonyea and Kirby picked up their fourth fouls in the third quarter. Troy pulled Gonyea out of the game at the four-minute mark of the third and kept her off the court for about six minutes. Without the Player of the Year on the floor, the Orioles kept the pressure on. Mylie Aho got all of her seven points in the second half; Emma Tenters scored 14 of her 16 in the second as well, and all of a sudden, Conant was flirting with a 20-point lead.

“They kept their composure,” Troy said. “I’m proud of them. That’s a very tough Campbell team.”

Karleigh Schultz (16 points) gave the Cougars a last-ditch effort, scoring 11 points in the fourth quarter, but Gonyea (18 points) came back out to finish the job, and Conant won it 65-45. 

The Orioles are now set for a state championship rematch at Trinity Sunday against Fall Mountain after the Wildcats dispatched Newfound in the other semifinal. The Orioles and Wildcats have a lot of history; Fall Mountain held a fourth-quarter lead over Conant in last year’s championship game before the Orioles prevailed, and the Wildcats were the last team to beat the Orioles back in the 2019 semifinals before Conant embarked on their current 35-game winning streak. 

“We’re all really excited to go back and play Fall Mountain again,” Kirby said. “It’s definitely a tough matchup and I think we will both go neck and neck at each other, but I think it will be a good game at the end.”


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