By Rob Potter
GRAHAMSVILLE February 24, 2004 Things began well enough for the Tri-Valley girls basketball team on Friday night.
The Lady Bears shot the ball well from close to the hoop, at the free-throw line and beyond the three-point arc in the first quarter of their OCIAA Division V game versus the visiting Tuxedo Lady Tornadoes.
After those opening eight minutes of play, T-V had momentum and a 20-14 lead.
But thanks in part to an improved defensive effort by Tuxedo, the Lady Bears scored a total of just 24 points during the next three periods.
While the T-V offense struggled during those 24 minutes of action, the Lady Tornadoes offense began clicking. The result was a 58-44 victory for Tuxedo.
After T-V (6-12, 3-2 OCIAA) took its biggest lead of the game at 28-18 on a three-point shot by Melissa Bachmann with 6:25 left in the second quarter, Tuxedo (17-1, 6-0 OCIAA) began to chip away at that advantage. By halftime, the Lady Tornadoes trailed by just two points, 32-30.
Tuxedo took the lead for good late in the third period. With 2:50 remaining in the stanza, Lady Tornado guard Ellen OLeary made a layup after a Lady Bears turnover to give her team a 38-37 lead. About 45 seconds later, teammate Terri Verbovsky swished a three-point shot to extend the Tuxedo advantage to 41-37.
At the end of the period, the Lady Tornadoes enjoyed a 42-39 lead. The team then began the fourth quarter with a 10-3 run to take a 52-42 lead with four minutes remaining.
We were a little sluggish and a little sloppy in the first half, Tuxedo Coach Dave Powers said. Maybe it was because this was our third game in three days. But we played better defensively in the second half and did what we needed to do to get a win.
Leading Tuxedo to the victory was Verbovsky, who made a pair of three-pointers and finished the evening with a game-high 19 points. Christina Baxter added 15 points for the Lady Tornadoes and Erica Sovak had 11 points, 12 rebounds and five assists.
Give Tri-Valley a lot of credit, Powers said. They did a good job and played very hard tonight.
Shauna Murry led the Lady Bears with 12 points. Amanda Krom hit a trio of three-points shots and finished with 11 points. Junior center Lacey Moore added eight points, 11 rebounds and five assists for T-V.
Even though we lost, that was probably the best overall game we have played this season, T-V Coach Karen Furman said. We played together and with a lot of heart. These girls hustled the whole game. We got behind in the fourth quarter, but they kept playing hard right to the end of the game.
Notes: Both T-V and Tuxedo have qualified for the Section IX girls basketball tournament, which begins next week.
This week, however, both teams will play a couple of games to finish the regular season. Tuxedo was scheduled to meet S.S. Seward last night in a non-league game and is slated to play Cresskill, NJ on Friday in another non-league affair. T-V plays at James I. ONeill tonight in a non-league contest and travels to Fallsburg tomorrow night for its final OCIAA Division V game.
Prior to the game, T-V honored its two seniors, Krom and Jessica Lake, and their parents.