By Rob Potter
ELDRED January 12, 2001 -While the goal of any basketball team is to put the ball through the hoop more times than the opposing team does in a given contest, every coach is pleased when his or her team plays well defensively.
Thats why Eldred girls basketball coach Frank Kean was smiling after Tuesdays game with Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division IV foe Chester. The Lady Yellow Jackets aggressive man-to-man defense led to steals and easy hoops in the first quarter as the squad grabbed an 11-8 lead at the end of those eight minutes.
Eldred (61, 30 Division IV) maintained that defensive intensity throughout the contest to post a 37-25 win.
The whole team played well tonight, Kean said. We played good intense man-to-man defense.
That defense allowed Eldred to slowly extend its lead as the game continued. While the Lady Yellow Jackets limited the number of good looks the Lady Hambletonians had at the basket, they also pushed their advantage into double digits.
A basket in the lane by Jessica Timan with 3:20 left in the second period gave Eldred a 21-11 lead. Fellow senior Erin Donnelly gave the Lady Yellow Jackets their biggest lead of the night when she hit a 10-foot jump shot at the 2:55 mark of the third quarter. Donnellys hoop gave Eldred a 28-14 advantage.
Despite a game-high 14 points from Jamie More, Chester (44, 13 Division IV) struggled to get its offense fully on track. In fact, the only lead the Lady Hambletonians enjoyed was a brief 2-0 advantage in the first minute of the game.
Offensively we just didnt put the ball in the basket enough times, Chester coach Sal Patane said. We did a nice job defensively, but we had some crucial turnovers down the stretch.
More than once in the fourth quarter, it looked as though Chester was going to close the gap. But when it seemed that the Lady Hambletonians were poised to cut the Eldred lead to single digits, they were stymied by one of the turnovers Patane referred to or a steal or blocked shot by an Eldred player.
Although he felt that his team was sluggish for a couple of brief moments in the game, Kean noted that his teams defensive effort and cohesiveness should continue to benefit them.
Were an intense team that plays tough defense, he commented. If we continue that through the rest of the season we should do well. And our seniors Loretta (Wolff), Erin (Donnelly), Christine (Lizzi) and Jessica (Timan) have done a great job of leading the younger girls.
Donnelly and Lizzi paced the Eldred offense with 10 points apiece. Lizzi was also credited with 11 assists. Stacie Blaut added seven points and 14 rebounds for the Lady Yellow Jackets.