MCS girls headed to postseason

By Julia Green
Roxbury 52, Andes 41 (Tuesday)
Jessica Utsler and Jenna Johnston combined for 33 of Roxbury’s total 52 points when the Rockets defeated the visiting Andes Mountaineers 52-41 on Tuesday night at Roxbury. The Rockets tallied 10 points to Andes’ six in the opening quarter to take an early lead.
“We’ve been playing better,” said Roxbury Head Coach Tom Sherwood. “We beat Gilboa on Monday and we come off that game and we played very well for three-and-a-half quarters, and then we kind of had a let-down and let them back in the game. But we pulled it out at the end.”
The game got as close as two points at one point as the Mountaineers refused to let down, outscoring the Rockets 14-11 in the final quarter.
“Our press was working pretty good,” Sherwood said. “We got some turnovers and we shot the ball very well from the outside that game.”
Danyelle Greene pulled in nine rebounds for the Rockets, who got four steals each from Rachel Meckes and Karly Bolger.
“I think really we shot the ball well and we created some turnovers off our press, which we’ve been working on,” Sherwood said. “As we’ve become more successful I think our press has helped us and we’ve created turnovers and got some baskets off turnovers.”
The Rockets finish the season with a 4-13 overall record and a 3-11 league record.
Andes was led by Mariah Ruff with 13 points; Karli Tait and Rachel Andrews each added nine.

Margaretville 45, Windham 23 (Tuesday)
Erica Faulkner led the Blue Devils with 19 points and 14 rebounds when Margaretville played host to the visiting Warriors of Windham on Tuesday night.
The Blue Devils jumped out to an early lead and had a 23-9 lead by halftime.
“We wanted to try and get in another win on our home court, if we could,” said Margaretville Head Coach Kyle Holden. “We came out aggressive and outscored them 11-5 in the first quarter and 12-4 in the second to try and get it going quick.”
The offense was a team effort in the first half, with five Blue Devils – Faulkner, Casey Hubbell, Brandi Balcom, Olivia Todd and Brittney Hull – scoring points.
“I was proud of the intensity the girls brought out,” Holden said. “It was steady. We didn’t throw the ball away, we moved the ball around pretty good, we had balanced scoring.”
The Blue Devils got 10 points from Balcom as well as 14 rebounds from Faulkner and 11 from Hull. Hubbell tallied three assists and four steals for Margaretville, who maintained its offensive momentum in the third quarter, tallying 14 points and limiting Windham to eight.
“The girls did a really solid job rebounding,” Holden said, adding that he was pleased with his team’s ability to maintain possession of the ball – a strength that he hopes to carry over into the postseason.
“The continued rebounding, movement of the ball, and limiting our turnovers are the key things from that game,” he said. “We had 12 turnovers that game; we did a fair job protecting the ball.”

Charlotte Valley 47, Margaretville 19 (Thursday)
The Blue Devils closed out the regular season against undefeated Charlotte Valley Thursday night, falling 47-19 to the host Wildcats.
“It was their senior night so we knew they were going to be aggressive and trying to finish out their season undefeated,” Head Coach Kyle Holden said. “So we wanted to make it through the initial energy burst without getting blown out of the water.”
It was a fair aspiration for the Blue Devils, who tallied six points to the Wildcats’ 12 in the opening quarter, but fell further behind before the half as Charlotte Valley tallied another 16 and limited Margaretville to five to take a 28-11 halftime lead.
“In the second quarter they outscored us 16-5, and that’s where they started to get away from us,” Holden said. “Sam Meyerhoff is so tough; she had seven points in the first quarter and 11 in the second. We definitely tried to limit her touches, but she wound up with 27 points on the night.
“We handled their pressure pretty well,” he added. “They do a little 2-2-1 full-court trap, so I was pleased with that.”
Erica Faulkner tallied seven points for the Blue Devils, who got four from Brittney Hull as they move into the postseason.
“In that game, once we did start to make errors, we wound up with 21 turnovers,” Holden said, attributing the breakdown in part to “a lot of passing. Passing seemed to be our downside: 12 of the 21 turnovers were bad passes, and a lot of that was that Charlotte Valley comes at you with an intense defense and tries to speed you up, and if we can’t maintain our composure we’ll get a little carried away with passes.”
Holden added that shooting was also a problem for the Blue Devils.
“We shot horrendously,” he said. “It was probably one of our worst shooting nights. I think a lot of it was hurrying themselves up; shooting was the third option, and usually by then it was too late. That’s something we’ll need to prepare for sectional play.”
Looking forward, even without knowing who the sectional draw will match them against, Holden was optimistic about his team’s odds.
“I think the girls are confident, which I feel good about,” he said. “That’s huge for us: them believing that they can do this is key for us. We know what we’re good at: we know we can defend with anybody, rebound with anybody as long as we compose ourselves, make good decisions on offense. I like our chances. And we’ve played some close games lately, which is good for sectionals. It makes us a little bit battle-tested.”

Downsville 42, Roxbury 34 (Thursday)
Jenna Johnston and Jessica Utsler combined to account for 23 of Roxbury’s total 34 points in the Rockets’ loss to the host Eagles of Downsville on Thursday night. Johnson and Utsler tallied 14 and nine points, respectively, with all nine of Utsler’s points coming from outside the three-point arc.
“We had a good chance to lead that game,” said Roxbury Head Coach Tom Sherwood. “We jumped out on them 13-5 and then we were still up by one at the half, and with three minutes to go in the game we were down by two points… it was a game that could have gone either way.”
With a 30-29 Downsville lead at the end of the third quarter it was still up for grabs, but the host Eagles snatched the momentum in the fourth and final quarter, tallying 12 points to Roxbury’s five.
“They out-rebounded us – that was really the key in the fourth quarter,” Sherwood said. “When it got to be a two-point game, they were getting two or three shots, they were getting offensive rebounds, and eventually they put the ball in the basket, and that was key for them.”
Danyelle Greene added five points for the Rockets, who have won three of their last six games.
“I think they got more confidence as the season went along,” Sherwood said of his squad. “It was an improvement overall throughout the season.”
Roxbury will lose four seniors to graduation: Karly Bolger, Marlise Cammer, Danyelle Greene and Jessica Utsler.
“I’ve got a junior and two sophomores that I have coming back, and they got a lot of playing time, so they should be able to step right in next year with varsity experience and then bring some kids up off the JV team and mix in with them. We’ll see what happens from there.”

SK 65, Andes 38 (Thursday)
The Andes Mountaineers put together what was perhaps their most consistent offensive effort Thursday night, when they faced the Mountain Division champion South Kortright Rams at home. The Mountaineers tallied ten points in three consecutive quarters.
The Rams, however, stayed a step ahead of the host Mountaineers, tallying 17, 16 and 14 points in the first three quarters.
Andes senior Hope Egnaczak rounded out her five-year varsity career at Andes with a team-high 12 points to lead the Mountaineers, who received 10 points from Rachel Andrews and eight from Kaitlin MacKay.
The Mountaineers finish the 2008-09 season with a 3-14 overall record.