High scoring Lavoie eyes 'redemption' for Pinkerton

Pinkerton Academy’s Elizabeth Lavoie tries to drive towards the hoop while Windham’s Bree Amari plays defense.

DERRY —What began as a dream season for Pinkerton Academy’s Liz Lavoie ended in painful fashion last winter.

Lavoie was in the midst of a breakout season as a freshman starter for the Astros, until their season was cancelled on the eve of the state tournament due to COVID-19.

“We were devastated that it had to end that way,” said Lavoie. “We had a great run, but sadly our season was cut short and we didn’t have the chance to prove ourselves in the postseason. This has pushed us to work even harder to prove ourselves this year and make up for what we didn’t get last year. We want redemption.”

So far this winter, Lavoie, averaging 16 points a game, and Pinkerton have played like a team on a mission.

“I knew from the very beginning that our team had something special this year,” the 5-foot-11 guard said. “I felt confident that our hard work and focus would pay off right away. We all knew that we had it in us to pick up some big wins.”

Lavoie has scored at least 14 points in every game, including a season-high 18 points in a recent win over Winnacunnet.

“Liz started and was very good last season,” said Pinkerton head coach Lani Buskey. “And she has just continued to excel at this level. She is one heck of a player!”

Freshman breakout

From the start of last winter, she felt ready to contribute to the varsity team.

“I truly was more excited than nervous when it came to starting last year,” she said. “Coming into the season, I already knew most of the girls on the team after playing with them during my AAU season. I felt comfortable, as the girls welcomed me onto the team.”

Lavoie scored 10 points in her varsity debut, and averaged 7.5 points per game for the 8-2 Astros. She tallied a season-best 15 points in a win over Merrimack.

“It was always my goal to start as a freshman,” she said. “But I was willing to take on any role and opportunity that was given to me. I am thankful that my coaches had the confidence and trust in me to put me in that position.”

Stellar sophomore start

After an offseason of work, Lavoie feels her game has grown a great deal.

“In the past year, I’ve been dedicated to working on my craft and trying to improve myself in every aspect of the game,” she said, spotlighting her work with the AAU Team Saints. “There is always room for improvement, and I’m always working to bring my game to the next level.

“I think my biggest strength is my versatility. I can play any position that my team needs me to, whether that be handling the ball or playing the wing, as well as guarding any position. I can score in a variety of ways, along with creating open looks for my teammates. I also believe that I play smart and see the court well. I make hustle plays and will do whatever it takes to win.”

Lavoie now looks forward to the playoff opportunity her Astros missed out on last winter.

“I have very high hopes for us this season,” she said. “I think we have the chance to take it all the way. My ultimate goal is to take home a state championship, which I believe we have the tools to do. We want to finish what we started last year.”

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