Margaretville girls clinch spot in sectional play

By Julia Green
SK 57, Roxbury 19 (Wednesday)
Jenna Johnston led Roxbury with seven points when the Roxbury Rockets hosted the visiting Rams of South Kortright on Wednesday night. The Rockets (2-12, 1-10) dropped a harsh 57-19 game to the Rams.
It was high pressure from the opening whistle in the Roxbury gym as South Kortright came out blazing, posing an 18-1 opening quarter. They followed that effort with a similarly devastating 16-2 second quarter to give them a 34-3 halftime lead.
“They just shot the ball really well and they out-rebounded us really,” said Roxbury Head Coach Tom Sherwood. “And they’re much bigger than we are.”
The Rockets appeared to gather some momentum and find their stride in the third, however, tallying a noticeably better 10 points to the Rams’ 11, but the gap was already too wide to close.
Karly Bolger added five points for the Rockets, while South Kortright’s Renee Craft paced the Rams with 21 points.

Jefferson 45, Andes 24 (Wednesday)
“They pretty much controlled the game from the beginning,” said Andes Head Coach Jeff Rhone of the visiting Jefferson JayHawks. “They started out well and they rebounded well and I guess we kind of hung around for maybe half a quarter or so. They pretty much controlled the game.”
Jefferson defeated the host Mountaineers 45-24 on Wednesday night. Andes led by a point at the close of the first quarter, but Jefferson jumped out to a five-point lead by halftime and never relinquished it, outscoring the hosts 24-8 in the second half.
“They hit their stride,” Rhone said of the JayHawks’ second half. “It sometimes takes people a little while to get going and we just couldn’t match up. [Jefferson’s] Chelsea Martin had a couple three-point shots from the top of the key; early in the third she knocked down a couple. She’s just such a good player, goes in and out so well, good away from the basket or she can post somebody up – she really makes them go.”
The Mountaineers were led by Mariah Ruff with six points and Karli Tait and Rachel Andrews added five apiece.
“At times we played defensively fairly well,” Rhone said. “At this point, on paper we just haven’t done the things that I thought we would do this year. When you look at the overall record, when I look at statistics like points per game and rebounds and things like that, I see that we’ve made some major improvement but when I look at wins and losses and teams I think we should have beaten I think we let some games slip away. We do have some things that at times we’re doing very well but we just can’t seem to do those things well for a full game. It’s a long process.”
  
Gilboa 50, Andes 45 (Friday)
The Andes girls played host to the visiting Wildcats of Gilboa on Friday night, dropping a tough five-point decision in the teams’ second match-up of the season. Rachel Andrews led the Mountaineers (3-12, 3-10) with 18 points and 14 rebounds.
“As a team we went through the sickness this past week,” Rhone said. “We had four starters that were sick or on medication, and it was just one of those weeks, and people were just tired. Some of the girls I couldn’t leave in the game so it was really like – we just had one of those weeks.”
Despite a four-point halftime lead, Andes was unable to maintain its momentum and allowed 22 points in the final quarter.
“We were really flat and we just couldn’t put the ball in the basket,” Rhone said. “We had a lot of opportunities that we just didn’t capitalize on and they did. They made shots that the first time we played them they weren’t even hitting the rim and this time they were all going in, so it was a combination of us playing poorly and them playing well.”
Rhone added that his team had a “major let-down” in the second half, which he said might be attributed to frequent substitutions.
“I probably used nine or 10 girls in the same amount of time, and so that may have hurt us some. We may have had some people in there who were in positions they weren’t used to and it just didn’t work out. And it disrupted the flow, as well. We kind of came back at one point at the end of the third, and then they went on a run and we had three or four girls who were in foul trouble and they shot the lights out from the foul line.”
The Andes girls faced Roxbury on Tuesday; there was no result available at press time. They travel to South Kortright for the last game of the season on Thursday.
“I just said to them the other night, we need to finish the season and finish strong and no matter our record at the end of the year, we need to finish on a note that says we’re finishing hard.”
 
Margaretville 47, H-T 36 (Friday)
The Margaretville girls sealed their bid to postseason play Friday night as they defeated the visiting Wildcats of Hunter-Tannersville, 47-36. The Blue Devils were paced by Erica Faulkner with 20 points, including eight in the final quarter. Faulkner also tallied 13 rebounds for Margaretville.
“That got us into sectionals,” said Margaretville Head Coach Kyle Holden. “That was our 10th win of the season, which we needed to get to, so that was a huge win for us. The girls were a little disappointed from the Roscoe game that we couldn’t get it done there, but they came back focused and they love to play on our court, and we really wanted to punch our ticket to sectionals.”
The game was back-and-forth until the final quarter, with the Blue Devils holding only a three-point lead at halftime and the same lead at the close of the third quarter.
“They were right there with us the entire game, within a possession, and in the fourth the girls dug deep and outscored them 16-8,” Holden said. “And the best part of that was that we had five girls contribute in the points column in the fourth quarter.”
Overall, Holden said, it was protecting the ball that served the Blue Devils well on Friday night.
“We really limited our turnovers, which is huge for us,” he said. “We’re a good rebounding team, we just need to take care of the ball and try to limit the other team from getting more looks, so I was really happy with that.”
The Blue Devils got eight points and three steals from Brandi Balcom and eight points and two steals from Amanda Drizis.
 
Jefferson 54, Roxbury 34 (Friday)
The Rockets dropped another tough one to the host JayHawks of Jefferson on Friday night.
With only six players to work with, the Rockets tallied seven points in the opening quarter but allowed 18 for Jefferson, who took the early lead and never looked back. The JayHawks widened their lead in the second quarter, scoring 17 points to Roxbury’s 10 to take a 35-17 halftime lead. The Rockets held Jefferson to eight points in the third while tallying four, and their best offensive quarter came in the fourth, as they tallied 13 to outscore the JayHawks by two.
“From the opening tap to the end of that game, the girls hustled and they worked hard,” Sherwood said. “Jefferson’s got probably one of the top three teams in the league, so I was pretty pleased with our effort for the game.”
Roxbury was led by Jessica Utsler, who sank five three-pointers and posted a game-high 21 points. Jenna Johnston added seven points and Raven Sprague had four for Roxbury.
“I think we played pretty good defense, overall team defense, and I think we rebounded as a team fairly well,” Sherwood said.
Roxbury was led by Jessica Utsler, who sank five three-pointers and posted a game-high 21 points. Jenna Johnston added seven points and Raven Sprague had four for Roxbury.

Roscoe 43, Margaretville 37 (Monday)
The Margaretville girls dropped a tough 43-37 loss to visiting Roscoe Monday night in a repeat of the teams’ meeting just last week, when the Blue Devils fell 54-39.
“One girl, Amanda Ladenhoff lit us up for 21 points when we were down there, so she was one of the girls we wanted to key in on tonight,” Holden said. “She had 17 against us but didn’t get to the foul line like before, so we were able to limit that a little bit.”
Roscoe led the host Blue Devils by three points at the end of the first quarter, and Margaretville battled back to close the gap to a one-point Roscoe lead at the half.
“We came out after halftime and took the lead briefly, which was good,” Holden said. “We had some pretty balanced scoring, the ball was moving around a little better, and then they just grabbed the lead from us and held on by five or six points for the rest of the game.”
The Blue Devils switched it back on halfway through the fourth quarter, however, trimming Roscoe’s lead to three. They closed it even further as time dwindled, down by just two with less than a minute and a half remaining.
“We had a good look underneath but couldn’t convert,” Holden said. “Then we had foul shots and only hit the back end… we just couldn’t tie that game up. They scored again, so we were down three at that point, and we drew up a play with about 39 seconds left to go for the tie, but couldn’t get it.”
Holden said he was pleased with the way his squad was able to spread the floor, set screens, and get dribble penetration to the basket.
Erica Faulkner led Margaretville with 14 points, 17 rebounds and six steals.
“I feel really good about the way we’re playing ball right now,” Holden said. “Tonight’s game had a sectional feel. Roscoe is a physical team, not afraid of mixing it up underneath. They’re aggressive. Tonight’s game had a sectional feel to it, and the girls responded.”
Casey Hubbell added 12 points and Brandi Balcom contributed eight for Margaretville (10-7, 7-5), who travels to Davenport to close out the regular season on Thursday.

Roxbury 38, Gilboa 28 (Monday)
The Roxbury Rockets posted their third win of the season Monday night, defeating the visiting Gilboa Wildcats by a convincing 10 points.
“I thought we handled their pressure defense fairly well and we rebounded the ball fairly well,” Sherwood said. “Those were a couple of key things, I think.”
The second quarter was vital for the Rockets, who were down by a point after the first quarter but retaliated out outscore the Wildcats 13-2 in the second to take an 18-8 halftime lead.
“We’ve talked about that in the past, falling behind early,” Sherwood said. “But we got out ahead in the second quarter and maintained an eight-, 10- or 12-point lead throughout the rest of the game. The second quarter was the key to the game, I think.”
Sherwood attributed his team’s success to good team defense and rebounding in the second quarter, and compared it to the teams’ meeting earlier in the season, when he said that falling behind caused his team to shut down. Looking forward, however, Sherwood is optimistic.
“I think, from beginning to end here, I think we’ve improved,” he said. “I think our team defense and our team rebounding has gotten better. As a team, I think we’ve played better defense from beginning to end.”
Jessica Utsler and Jenna Johnston tallied 11 points apieces for the Rockets and Rachel Meckes added nine.
Roxbury will finish out the season at Downsville on Thursday night.