By Nathan Mayberg
FALLSBURG The Fallsburg Lady Comets scored a convincing 40-28 victory Friday night over visiting Liberty in a non-league basketball game.
Fallsburg (2-7) led the whole way in a contest that was tightly called by the officials. A total of 21 fouls were called in the game, which was not that physical. Both teams took most of their shots from the outside.
The Lady Comets were led by senior center Felicia Strauss, who scored a game-high 13 points. Forward Abby Smassanow added 10 points.
Both teams played with high defensive intensity throughout the game. Fallsburg scored the first five points of the game, but Liberty responded.
However, Fallsburg took a 13-9 lead into the second quarter.
Fallsburg took control in the second quarter, pushing away to a 21-11 lead. Liberty hit two late unanswered baskets to finish the half down 21-15.
The second half began with a full-court press by Liberty. The Lady Comets initially had trouble with the press, but the Lady Indians could not capitalize.
Liberty (1-10) could only score five points in the decisive quarter. Fallsburg broke the press late in the third and took a 31-20 lead into the final quarter.
Liberty made one final push, but seemed to be blocked everywhere by Strauss. She was all over the court, causing many turnovers through steals and blocks. Even when Fallsburg was up 40-28 with a minute left, Strauss did not stop fighting for every rebound.
Fallsburg Coach Les Hyde called his teams performance great.
Everybody played great, he said. We did great on the boards. Liberty played tough. It was a good win for us. We kept our turnovers down.
Liberty Coach Tom LaGattuta called his teams play below average.
We shot 10 percent from the field, he said. Fallsburg played decent defense. It was a well-contested game. The big girl in the middle [Strauss] was tough.
Lisa DeStefano led Liberty with 10 points and Jessica Klein added seven points.
Before the game, there was a long moment of silence to honor Guadalupe Jasmine Martinez, the 17-year-old Fallsburg High School student who died last week in a car accident in the Town of Bethel.