GILFORD — The Laconia girls can hope that, in the big picture, history repeats itself.
A year ago, the Sachems faced rival Gilford four times and their only victory came in the final game of the Lakes Region Holiday Basketball Tournament, played annually in the Golden Eagles home gym.
This year, the two teams are once again among the very best NHIAA Division III has to offer and both entered the 42nd Holiday Tournament with perfect records, and again advanced to championship game.
On Thursday evening, Maddie Harris scored 23 points and three other Golden Eagles joined her in double figures as Gilford won the title, 61-50. The teams will face off at least two more times — home and home — during the regular season and will perhaps again meet up in the season-ending state tournament. Laconia would be happy to turn the tables and take three of four this season.
After a racehorse first quarter that saw the rivals combine for 38 points, Gilford outscored Laconia 14-8 over the second 8 minutes to expand its lead from 4 to 10, 35-25. Behind Natalie Compton, the Sachems roared back with a 16 point third period to narrow the gap a little but eventually came no closer than the 4 point spread that brought that had Laconia roaring midway through the final quarter.
Tournament Most Outstanding Player Cassidy Bartlett scored 12 for Gilford and Brooke Beaudet and Stevie Orton were right behind her with 11 and 10.
Compton topped Laconia scorers with 22 points, 15 in the second half. Kailey Nute was the only other Sachem in double figures, with 13.
Laconia returns to regular season play on Tuesday night, hosting Plymouth. Gilford plays at Belmont that same night.
WINNISQUAM CRUISES TO BOYS TITLE
The boys' championship game at the Holiday Tournament was not nearly so competitive as the girls'. Winnisquam Regional kept its perfect record intact with an easy 65-36 win over Kingswood Regional of Wolfeboro.
The Bears sprinted out to 15-3 lead after one quarter of play and extended the gap to 30-12 by half-time.
Tim Harmon scored 20 points to lead Winnisquam and Michael Buxton was good for 17. Tournament Most Outstanding Player Christian Serrano added 12 more.
Kingswood's meager offensive effort was led by Patrick Meyers, who scored 11.
Winnisquam gets back to regular season work on Tuesday, when the Bears host Franklin.