Margaretville girls split as Andes, Roxbury fall

By Julia Green
Andes 48, Stamford 54
Defense was the main problem for the Andes girls when they traveled to Stamford to face the Indians last Tuesday. The Mountaineers fell 54-48 to Stamford in the Delaware League match-up.
“Offensively, I was very pleased with how we played,” said Head Coach Jeff Rhone. “I thought we did a nice job of breaking when we had opportunities and we did get some easy baskets in the transition; however, defensively we didn’t play well at all.”
While the young Andes team’s ball movement against the zone defense combined with good shooting decision-making were definite strengths in Tuesday’s game, it all came down to defense for the Mountaineers.
Two defensive facets in particular that spelled trouble for the Andes girls were rebounding and denial of passing lanes; while on-the-ball defense wasn’t bad, Rhone characterized off-the-ball defense as his team’s chief downfall.
The Mountaineers outscored the host Indians 26-16 in the first half, with a 15-6 scoring run in the second quarter. But it was a different team that came out of the locker room after halftime.
“In the third quarter we came out really flat, and they really started to hit some shots,” Rhone said. “Emily Hull hit a couple of three-point shots and Sommers Gaddis, who had been in foul trouble, came back in off the bench and had a stretch where she did a nice job rebounding and scored some points.
Where we were flat coming out of the half, they were just the opposite, and by the fourth quarter they were right with us.
“Down the stretch it was just a matter of defense and rebounding,” he added. “They out-hustled us and out-rebounded us and I think that was the difference in the game.”
Stamford outscored the Mountaineers 15-8 in the third quarter.
Karli Tait led the Mountaineers with 20 points and eight rebounds while Rachel Andrews tallied 12 points and eight rebounds. Seventh-grader Mariah Ruff added 10 points and seven assists for Andes, which is currently 0-1.
The Mountaineers host Downsville today at 5:30 p.m. at ACS. They will also compete in the Margaretville Booster Club Tournament on Friday, where they face the host Blue Devils at 7 p.m. at MCS.
 
Margaretville 34, Roxbury 24
Despite some pre-game jitters, the Margaretville girls’ varsity basketball team opened the season with a win at Roxbury on Tuesday, when the Blue Devils beat the host Rockets of Roxbury 34-24.
“I think we started off a bit nervous,” said MCS Head Coach Kyle Holden. “They were really excited to get going and we played nervous, and it showed on the floor.”
After a 4-4 tie at the end of the first quarter, the Margaretville girls put together a scoring run in the second quarter, putting nine more points on the board while Roxbury was unable to score in the quarter.
“We’ve got to find a way to score some points,” said Roxbury Head Coach Tom Sherwood. “When you’re scoring 24 points, it’s hard to single out any individual player, but as a team we’ve worked hard defensively and worked hard on the rebounding; we’ve just got to find a way to score some points.”
The Rockets battled back in the third quarter, however, outscoring the Blue Devils 11-9. Eight more points came in the fourth quarter, when Roxbury pulled within four points but was unable to close the gap any further.
“Our defense is going to be a solid spot for us,” Holden said of his team’s zone system. “We’re a good rebounding team and the 2-3 lets us concentrate on that. We just have to work on closing out on jump shooters.
“We definitely did not work the ball inside offensively enough, which is something we’re going to need to do,” he added. “We have some good height on our team and our post players need to get a touch before we start putting shots up.”
Senior Brandi Balcom led the way for the Blue Devils, tallying 14 points and four blocks while Brittney Hull added 14 rebounds and five assists.
Marlise Cammer led the Roxbury girls with eight points.
 
Roxbury 15, Stamford 34
Scoring remained a challenge for the Roxbury girls as they traveled to Stamford on Thursday. The Rockets, who dropped a 34-15 battle to the host Indians, were outscored 10-2 in each of the first two quarters.
Two games into the season, Sherwood reiterated the need for his young squad to sharpen its offensive game.
“We’ve got to put some points on the board,” he said. “We’ve got to work on our offensive skills. We’ve done a decent job defensively in both games and we’ve done a decent job rebounding in both games, but we’ve scored four points in both games in the first half, so somehow we’ve got to find a way to get off to a better start.
“It seems like we come out in the second half, but we’ve dug ourselves a hole in the first half, so we need to find a way to get some points in the first half.”
The Rockets were led Thursday by Jenna Johnston, who tallied six points for Roxbury, while Jessica Utsler had a three-pointer for the Rockets.
“Just the fact that the girls overall have hustled, they’ve hustled for me and we’ve held teams both of our games to 34 points,” Sherwood said. “That type of defense should really keep you in the game. So I guess if there’s one area as we go forward here, we’ve somehow got to work on offensive skills.”
Sherwood also added that despite a lack of size on his roster, rebounding is one of the strengths of a squad that boxes out well.
The Rockets will face the Rams of South Kortright on Friday – a game that Sherwood anticipates will be a challenge.
“They’re probably the top team, at least early on, and I predicted that before the season started,” he said. “They’re probably going to be the top team in our division. That’s going to be a tough game.”

Margaretville 24, Jefferson 50
Despite a different result in Thursday’s game at Jefferson than the Blue Devils earned Tuesday at Roxbury, Holden said he was happier with the way his team played in their second game of the season than in the first.
“We actually played better in the Jefferson game in a loss than we did in winning in Roxbury,” he said. “The girls played extremely hard the first half – it was 29-21 going into halftime.”
Jefferson’s lead extended in the third quarter, however, aided by a 10-1 scoring run and a few shots that Holden said should have dropped for the Blue Devils.
“We came out from halftime and had four shots that should have dropped that quarter that would have let us keep up and they just wouldn’t drop – that kind of played into our psyche a little bit,” he said.
That damaged psyche carried over to the fourth quarter, when the Blue Devils tallied only two points to Jefferson’s 11.
Despite a scoring shortage for the Blue Devils, the Margaretville girls fought for the boards, which Holden said kept them in the game and will continue to be one of the MCS squad’s strengths throughout the year.
“It just confirms that rebounding’s going to be what makes us go this year,” he said. “If we do that well, I like our chances of being competitive in every game we play this year, no matter the opponent.”
And the added bonus: rebounding comes from many sources. Michelle O’Reilly tallied 11 rebounds for the Blue Devils, while Balcom and Amanda Drizis added seven apiece.
“It’s been all over, which is nice,” Holden said. “We’re not looking to just one person to keep us going.”
Balcom led the Blue Devils with eight points in Thursday’s match-up and Erica Faulkner added three steals.
Another aspect of the game that improved from Tuesday to Thursday for the Blue Devils was the number of times they found themselves at the free throw line; in 25 attempts, Margaretville sank 10.
“Overall, 1-1 is not a bad spot to be coming home for a home opener,” Holden said.
The Blue Devils will face the Indians of Stamford at home on Wednesday. They will also compete in the MCS Booster Club Tournament this weekend playing their first game on Thursday at 7 p.m. against Gilboa.