Basketball results mixed for girls' teams; Lady Rockets post first win of the season

By Julia Green
Downsville 54, Andes 43 (Wednesday, Jan. 21)
Mariah Ruff led Andes with 19 points, including three three-pointers when Andes hosted Downsville last Wednesday. The Mountaineers also got 11 rebounds apiece from Karli Tait and Rachel Andrews and six assists and five steals from Ruff.
Andes led by two points at the end of the first quarter, but relinquished the lead in the second, when Downsville went on a 13-5 scoring run. The visiting Eagles widened the lead in the third quarter, scoring 20 points to the Mountaineers’ 10.
“That’s kind of been our issue all year long: the third quarter,” said Andes Head Coach Jeff Rhone. “The other night I’d taken all of our stats from all of our games, and in the first and fourth quarters we’ve won every game this year, but middle two we haven’t. We have trouble with the middle of the game, and the same thing happened with Downsville. We often come out flat in that quarter and they took advantage of that.”
Rhone was pleased, however, with his team’s defensive play.
“Even though Downsville scored 54 points, when we’re playing defense, we’re playing it well,” he said. “It’s just a matter of playing defense for an entire game. I’m sure every coach feels that way, but right now the problem for us is we’re playing for about 20 minutes, and the other 12 minutes really hurt us.”

Margaretville 26, Stamford 28 (Wednesday, Jan. 21)
It was a barnburner when the Margaretville girls traveled to Stamford on Wednesday night.
“That was a close game throughout, and I knew it would be,” said Margaretville Head Coach Kyle Holden. “Stamford’s been playing good ball. We were tied at halftime, and they got one basket ahead of us in the third quarter and we just couldn’t get away from them. It was back and forth throughout the game.”
The Blue Devils were led by Brandi Balcom and Erica Faulkner with eight points apiece. Three-point shooting was the key to the Stamford offense, accounting for 15 of the Indians’ 28 points.
“We stayed in our zone, and we said that if we gave up one thing we weren’t going to give up the inside,” Holden said. “But they got hot and that was what killed us in that game.”
“Our shooting was not the greatest,” he added. “We were off shooting-wise. We had the offensive boards – combine that with whatever pressure we tried to apply in the front court – we just didn’t generate any points from that, either. Stamford handled that very well. It became quite a grinder game.”
Defensive rebounding kept the Blue Devils in the game; however, offensive rebounding led to only three put-backs, despite a team total of 13 offensive boards.
Faulkner led the Blue Devils with 12 rebounds.

Gilboa 43, Roxbury 27 (Wednesday, Jan. 21)
Jessica Utsler scored 12 points including two three-pointers to pace Roxbury and Raven Sprague added 10 rebounds in the Rockets’ game against Gilboa on Wednesday night.
“It was a game similar to other games we’ve had this year where we got down in the first quarter and then played teams even from there on out,” said Head Coach Tom Sherwood. “It’s a situation where we need to get off to a better start in games.”
Gilboa outscored Roxbury 17-4 in the opening quarter to put the Rockets in an early hole; however, they battled back in the second quarter, tallying nine points to the Wildcats’ 11.
“We were down pretty badly in the first quarter especially, and kind of stayed that way for awhile, similar to some games where we got down to some teams then make a run but it’s too late,” Sherwood said. “We’ve got to improve and stay with teams in the first quarter and first half.”
Despite that fatal first quarter, the Roxbury girls stayed with Gilboa for the remainder of the game, scoring 23 to the Wildcats’ 26, which Sherwood attributes to his team’s improvement in rebounding and tighter defense.
“It’s just a case of trying to get off to better starts in the games, really,” he said. “That’s something we’ve got to work on.”

Margaretville 40, Andes 33 (Friday, Jan. 23)
Rebounding was key for the Blue Devils in their league victory over Andes on Friday night. Five Margaretville players had over six rebounds, led by Faulkner with 13; Balcom, Casey Hubbell, Brittney Hull and Caitlyn Roberts all tallied more than six rebounds on the night. Roberts also had three assists.
“The thing that really got us going besides the rebounding was we put a little bit of half-court pressure on and that generated quite a few turnovers,” Holden said. “Our half-court pressure slowed them down a little bit and got us into transition where we got some easy baskets. Then when it went into the half-court and slowed down, our defense did a nice job. All the girls played really strong inside.”
Hubbell tallied 15 points for the Blue Devils, 10 of which came in the fourth quarter.
“We were in this one, even in the fourth quarter we started to come back,” said Rhone. “Casey Hubbell had 10 points in the fourth quarter alone. We kind of started to close the gap a bit in the fourth, and she really single-handedly kind of shut us down. She had some big shots.”
The Mountaineers were led by Ruff with 12 points and five assists; Andrews contributed 10 points and 14 rebounds and Tait had seven points and 10 rebounds for Andes. Andrews also went six for nine from the free throw line.
Andes outscored Mar-garetville in the second half but was unable to mount enough of a scoring streak to break away.
“I feel like we outplayed Margaretville in many aspects of the game, and if you look at everything except the points column, we won that basketball game,” Rhone said. “But we were 11 for 49 from the field, and you don’t win many games shooting like that.”
“As frustrating as it is to be where we are right now in terms of our record, when I look at them I see some major improvements and they’re really, really close to winning games,” he added.
Andes plays at Davenport at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday; the Margaretville girls will host Downsville at 7 p.m. that same night.

Windham 37, Roxbury 47 (Friday, Jan. 23)
The Roxbury Rockets tallied their first win of the season Friday night, posting a convincing 10-point victory over the visiting Warriors of Windham. It was a little role reversal for the Rockets, who before Friday had struggled to produce a competitive first quarter. That wasn’t the case against Windham, however, as the Rockets tallied 13 points and held the Warriors to a mere five.
“There was a situation where we got off to a good start against them and they were playing catch-up for the rest of the game,” Sherwood said. “They were in the same situation we’ve been in in a lot of our games.”
Roxbury maintained that momentum in the second quarter, adding 10 points as Windham tallied eight.
The Rockets received 13 points from Rachel Meckes and 10 from Utsler, as well as 10 rebounds from Sprague. Jenna Johnston added nine assists and Utsler and Meckes had six steals apiece.
“We got off to a good start, played good defense, shot the ball a little better overall against Windham than we have and our pressure defense – we caused some turnovers and that was really the difference in the game,” Sherwood said.
“Hopefully we can take something from the win and go on and finish out the season in a positive way,” he added. “We’ve got some tough games coming up, but hopefully we can use that as a positive step and play better for the rest of the season.”
The Rockets travel to Gilboa tonight and Hunter on Friday to play two rescheduled games.