By Ted Waddell
ELDRED The Lady Wildcats of Livingston Manor walked off with the first place trophy in the 1st Annual Eldred Holiday Tournament by defeating the Chapel Field Lady Lions, 44-24, in last Thursdays championship game.
Manor (3-0) battled to a 20-13 halftime lead, but in the second half really poured it on by outscoring the opposition, 24-11.
The Lady Wildcats also shot better at the free throw line. Manor converted six of eight foul shots (75 percent), while Chapel Field (1-1) was only four of nine at the line (44 percent).
Bridget Ellison of Manor led all scorers with 17 points.
Chapel Fields Stacy Kuperus also made it into double digits, netting a team-high 11 points.
I wasnt as happy as I thought Id be, said Rachel McDuffie, first year coach of the Chapel Field Lady Lions. I was expecting a more even game . . . they kind of took us out of what we wanted to do.
[Guard] Amanda Schweiger did a very good job, said McDuffie. She stepped up and handled the pressure well.
The Chapel Field coach said Kuperus (the teams leading scorer) got a little frustrated with the turn of events, but kept her head up and kept herself in the game.
Looking ahead to the regular season, McDuffie said, Well get better by practicing what we know the basics. Well give everybody a fight.
Like McDuffie, Manor Coach Andy Taggart is also in his first year at the helm.
Winning the tournament was one of our goals before the season started, he said. I wish wed played a little better . . . I thought we turned the ball over way too many times, but luckily our team played exceptional defense and we were able to shut down their top scorer.
Taggarts take on Chapel Field?
Theyre a good team, he said. Theyre young, but very talented and well-coached . . . they are going to be reckoned with later in the season.
Taggart cited the play of Ellison, as she shut down their top scorer and Jennifer Wright, whom he noted came up with a couple of crucial steals in the third period that broke open the game when they were trying to make a little comeback.
We need to work on offense, but we will definitely improve as the season goes along, Taggart added.
Among those watching the inaugural tournament from the sidelines was Eldreds veteran athletic director Al Wojtaszek.
Its a nice thing for the smaller schools, Wojtaszek said. Anybody has a chance of winning. Its good competition, and thats good for the kids.