By Rob Potter
LIVINGSTON MANOR February 8, 2008 The third quarter proved to be the key factor in Tuesday night’s Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division VI basketball game between the visiting Eldred Lady Yellowjackets and the Livingston Manor Lady Wildcats.
At halftime, Manor held a 29-18 lead. But in the third quarter, the Lady Wildcats’ press allowed them to make several steals or cause Eldred turnovers both of which resulted in easy baskets.
Manor (9-6, 3-3 Division VI) outscored the Lady Yellowjackets 15-0 in the frame to take a commanding 44-18 lead into the final period.
Each team scored 14 points in the final eight minutes of play as the Lady Wildcats posted a 56-32 victory.
The game was tied twice in the opening period before Manor took the lead and gradually extended that advantage.
The Lady Wildcats’ lead first reached double digits at 21-10 when Natalia Cruz scored a layup after receiving a pass from Tatiana Brown at the 5:16 mark of the second quarter.
Marissa Diescher converted three layups in the third quarter after she or a teammate made a steal. She finished the game with a total of nine steals.
After being shut out in the third quarter, Eldred (5-10, 0-5 Division VI) was quick to get back on track in the fourth. Eight seconds into the final stanza, senior guard Megan Kean swished a 3-point shot.
Cruz scored 15 of her points in the first half and finished with a game-high 23 points. Diescher netted 16 points and Megan Ellison added six points for the Lady Wildcats.
The Lady Yellowjackets were led by Kean and Gabby Westfall, each of whom netted nine points.
Megan Hazen added five points for Eldred.
Manor Coach Kevin Clifford noted that he made some adjustments in the game plan during his halftime talk with his team. And those changes paid off in the third quarter.
“We made sure we were all on the same page,” he said. “They listened and made those adjustments quickly.
“They all played well,” Clifford said of the Lady Wildcats. “It was a great team effort.”
He noted in particular the performances by Cruz and Chelsea Adamec, who grabbed 14 rebounds, made six steals and dished out five assists.
“We played pretty good in the first half, but in the third quarter we were standing around,” said Eldred Coach Frank Kean, referring to his team’s difficulty in handling the Manor press defense.
“They were too fast for us, they have a very good team,” he added.