By Rob Potter
LIVINGSTON MANOR Faced with a 14-point halftime deficit, the visiting Fallsburg Lady Comets started the third quarter of Monday night’s non-league basketball game against the Livingston Manor Lady Comets with a 9-0 scoring run.
Sheryl Pinder had seven points and Jasmine James scored a basket as Fallsburg cut the Lady Wildcats’ lead to 27-22 with 4:30 remaining in the quarter.
After Manor’s Maggi Calo scored to give her team a 29-22 advantage, Shaina Swerdling swished a 3-pointer to bring the Lady Comets within four at 29-25.
But the Lady Wildcats ended the period with a 14-3 scoring run to take a 43-28 lead.
Manor (2-2) went to post a 62-33 victory.
By using a full-court press defense, the Lady Wildcats were able to convert steals and turnovers into baskets late in the third quarter and early in the fourth period.
After Swerdling made another 3-pointer with 1:12 remaining in the third quarter to make it a 33-28 game, Manor went on a 10-0 run.
Christine Babich started the run with a basket and Marissa Diescher and Sabrina Hinkley each made a pair of free throws to push the Lady Wildcats’ lead to 39-28.
Diescher then scored a layup with 12 seconds left.
In the final seconds of the quarter, Diescher made a steal and quickly passed the ball to Hinkley, who scored inside the lane to give Manor a 43-28 advantage going into the fourth quarter.
“In the first half, we were right there with them,” Fallsburg Coach Daniel Redmond said. “In the second half, we didn’t shoot the ball as well.
Redmond noted that Manor’s press defense was a key to the game’s outcome.
“Livingston Manor has a very good team and Marissa Diescher is an excellent player,” he said.
Fallsburg (2-5) will have several days off before hosting Port Jervis in a non-league game on Monday, Jan. 4.
“We kept playing hard tonight and didn’t give up,” Redmond said. “These ladies are working hard and that’s all I can ask of them.”
Pinder paced Fallsburg with 12 points, while James and Swerdling added eight points apiece.
Manor Coach Kevin Clifford praised the Lady Comets for the way they responded after being down at halftime.
“They came out and cut our lead down to four,” he said.
Clifford noted that Diescher, who scored a game-high 23 points, netted 17 of those points in the second half.
Babich and Hinkley finished the game with 12 points and 11 points, respectively, to help the Lady Wildcats have a balanced scoring attack.
“Our players are still learning how to work together on the court,” Clifford said. “This is the first year of playing basketball for some of them.”
Manor is scheduled to play two games during the upcoming holiday break.
At 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 29, the Lady Wildcats are slated to play Chapel Field at Warwick High School. At 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 30, Manor is scheduled to visit Washingtonville for a non-league game.