Falcons win 24th straight game
By Greg Seubert
Less than four months ago, Amherst High School’s football team won its third straight championship.
The girls’ basketball team is on the verge of its own gold trophy.
The Falcons ran their winning streak to 24 games March 8 with a 45-32 win over St. Thomas More in a WIAA Division 3 state semifinal game at the Resch Center.
Amherst will now face another 26-1 team – Marshall – for the Division 3 state championship at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, March 10.
St. Thomas More advanced to state for the first time ever with a 53-40 win over Laconia in a sectional final. Laconia is the only team to beat Amherst, as the Spartans handed the Falcons a 60-49 loss in the third game of the season.
The Cavaliers didn’t have an answer for the Falcons’ Heather Pearson, the only player in the game to finish in double figures with 17 points. She also pulled down a game-high 20 rebounds.
“It’s amazing (to play in a state championship game) with this group of girls,” said Pearson, one of two seniors on the team. “I couldn’t ask for any more.”
Amherst took control of the game early and built a 16-2 lead behind six points from Pearson and four from teammate Lindsay Dose.
The Falcons increased their lead to 27-12 at halftime. Pearson had eight points and 12 rebounds at the break, while the Cavaliers connected on only five of 29 shots.
Pearson opened up the second half with a three-point play that gave the Falcons their biggest lead, but seven straight points from Lindsay Kirby cut Amherst’s lead to 40-32 remaining in the game.
However, the Cavaliers never scored again and Amherst sealed the win with five free throws down the stretch.
Amherst also held St. Thomas More’s leading scorer, Brianna Flayter, to five points on 2-of-11 shooting. She didn’t score until there was 12:31 to go in the game.
“I really didn’t get much sleep last night,” said Flayter, who spent 35 of the game’s 36 minute on the court while dealing with a cold.
”That’s not an excuse for not playing well,” she said. “I was winded most of the game, which didn’t really help.”
The Falcons outrebounded the Cavaliers 48-26.
“Amherst is a really good basketball team,” St. Thomas More coach Brian Krysiak said. “They play phenomenal defense. Offensively, we just couldn’t get it going. You play in a big gym like this, your outside shot takes a while to get acclimated to the surroundings.”