By Rob Potter
FALLSBURG January 16, 2004 Appearances can be deceiving.
In the first quarter of Wednesday nights OCIAA Division V girls basketball game between Chester and host Fallsburg, the Lady Comets converted several offensive rebounds into baskets. As a result, Fallsburg held a commanding 16-2 lead after those first eight minutes of play.
Based on that performance, it looked as though the Lady Comets might defeat the Lady Hambletonians by 20 or 30 points.
But that was not the way the contest ended.
Fallsburg (2-6, 1-1 OCIAA) still earned the victory over Chester (1-11, 0-2 OCIAA), but the final score was closer than one would have imagined after the first period.
The Lady Comets recorded a 32-22 win, as shooting woes in the second and third quarters and improved play by the Lady Hambletonians kept the score close.
The Lady Comet offense was clicking in the first quarter, but the second quarter was a different story. Fallsburg was ice cold in those eight minutes, missing every single shot it took.
Chester didnt fare much better in the second period, scoring only four points.
As a result, the Lady Comets held a 16-6 advantage at halftime.
Fallsburg experienced another scoring drought in the third period. A jump shot by Shannon Weigand and a steal and subsequent layup by Jen Orlowsky were the only baskets the Lady Comets registered in the quarter.
Meanwhile, the Lady Hambletonians were able to slowly chip away at the Fallsburg lead. Chester outscored Fallsburg 7-4 in the third period and opened the fourth quarter with a scoring burst. A steal and layup by Amanda Benitez at the 6:02 mark drew Chester to within 22-17. Forty seconds later, Casie Laden scored to pull the Lady Hambletonians to within three, 22-19.
Fallsburg Coach Les Hyde then called a timeout to discuss strategy with his team and to quell some of the Chester momentum.
The timeout seemed to work, as the Lady Comets outscored Chester 10-3 the rest of the game.
Leading the Lady Comets to the win were Orlowsky, who scored 11 points, and Felicia Strauss, who netted 10 points.
Three Chester players shared top scoring honors. Benitez, Jasmine Florestal and Jessica Kaarlsen each finished the game with six points.
My team is very young and is still struggling with getting the ball in the basket, Chester Coach Jim Distefano said. We got some good looks at the basket in the first half, but we either didnt take the shots or missed them when we did.
Despite the loss, Distefano was pleased with how his team played.
They did some great work in the second half, he said. They played hard and scored some baskets.
Hyde noted that his teams defensive performance was an integral part of the win.
We put our half court [press] defense on in the second half and that caused some turnovers which led to baskets for us, he said.