DERRY — Friday night was the first test for two of the top girls basketball teams in New Hampshire Division 1.

Pinkerton aced it. Salem may have overslept.

Both teams entered Friday night undefeated in league play. In fact, Salem was undefeated overall (8-0) and in the middle of one of its best starts in program history.

For Salem, last night was a litmus test for where it ranks against a perennial power. For Pinkerton, last night was going to be a sign of how good it actually has been this season.

But the Astros relied on dominant defense as they have all season, bullying the Blue Devils out of their comfort zone in a 65-35 blowout.

“This is a substantial win for us because Salem is a good team,” said Pinkerton coach Lani Buskey. “They’re a top dog. I see them in the top-6 moving forward, maybe even higher up than that. So this win for us, it just kind of asserts us as a good team.”

It was all Pinkerton (6-2, 5-0 NH) from the opening tip.

Junior Jesse Ames converted an and-1 to start the game, as the Astros jumped to a 16-4 lead after the first quarter and a 35-14 lead at the half.

Salem (8-1, 5-1 NH) struggled to find any offense. Pinkerton senior Brooke Kane, a UNH recruit, held talented Salem junior Jordyn Franzen to just 6 points. Franzen was averaging 20.1 points per game.

“Brooke Kane loved that I put her on Franzen,” said Buskey. “She wanted it. It makes me really proud when they buy into that system, and then the offense comes around.”

The result on the defense end didn’t come as a surprise for Pinkerton, which was holding teams to 37.4 points per game.

The Astros were coming off a 49-10 win over Dover, and had held Concord to 19 points and Portsmouth to 22 points earlier in the season.

“They were very aggressive on defense which kind of threw us off,” said Salem coach Ricky Oliver. “We’re more of a finesse, set the screen, pick-and-roll team, and when they got real physical with us we just couldn’t deal with it.”

Kane and Madison Mahoney led the way for the Astros with 15 points each. Sofia Riccio added 10 points, and Jesse Ames chipped in 9 points and made all of the hustle plays for the Astros — who look to be one of the few teams that can perhaps challenge three-time defending state champ Bishop Guertin this year.

The Astros host the Cardinals on Jan. 18 at 6:30 p.m.

As for Salem, Emily Doucette and Christine Aboujaoude each finished with 7 points. The Blue Devils may not have passed their first big test, but Oliver says there is plenty to learn from in defeat.

“We didn’t come out with that fire and energy,” said Oliver. “You saw spurts of it, but it wasn’t like we were hitting it on all cylinders like we normally do.

“But we’ll be back at practice, 7 a.m. in the morning tomorrow. We’ll be right back at it.”



Pinkerton 65, Salem 35

SALEM (35): Jordyn Franzen 1 4-7 6, Christine Aboujaoude 2 2-2 7, Sydney Emerson 1 3-4 5, Carly Saif 0 0-3 0, Emily Doucette 2 2-4 7, DayLee Rivera 0 0-0 0, Briana Boucher 1 0-2 3, Stella Hazelton 1 0-0 3, Alison Beauchesne 0 3-4 3, Aliyah Dominguez 0 1-2 1, Jennifer Nobrega 0 0-0 0. Totals 8 15-28 35

PINKERTON (65): Sofia Riccio 5 0-2 10, Brooke Kane 6 2-3 15, Madison Mahoney 5 3-3 15, Alyssa DiMauro 3 0-0 6, Jesse Ames 4 1-1 9, Megan King 3 0-0 6, Allison Ingalls 0 0-0 0, Samantha Franks 0 0-0 0, Avah Ingalls 0 3-4 3, Mackenzie Dolan 0 1-2 1. Totals 26 10-15 65

3-pointers: PINK — Mahoney 2, Kane; SALEM — Aboujaoude, Doucette, Boucher, Hazelton

Salem (8-1, 5-1 NH):  4 10 10 11 — 35

Pinkerton (6-2, 5-0 NH): 16 19 17 13 — 65

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