By Rob Potter
HANCOCK February 29, 2008 Because the score was even at 11-11 after the first quarter and tied 24-24 at halftime, one might have expected Monday night’s Section IX girls’ Class D basketball quarterfinal basketball game between the visiting Livingston Manor Lady Wildcats and The Family School Lady Falcons to remain close in the second half.
But Livingston Manor, the No. 5 seed in the Class D tourney, grabbed a double-digit lead in the third quarter and went on to defeat fourth-seeded Family School, 63-51, in front of a large and vocal crowd in the gymnasium known as “The Falcons’ Nest.”
With the victory, Manor (11-10) advanced to play at No. 1 seed John A. Coleman Catholic School in Wednesday night’s semifinals.
The Family School completed its season with a 14-7 record.
The Lady Wildcats went on a 12-2 scoring run in the last three minutes of the third quarter to take a 42-32 lead into the final period.
With 3:46 remaining in the third, Lady Falcon guard Betty Weaver made a free throw to tie the score at 30-30.
But 43 seconds later, Natalia Cruz swished a foul shot to give the Lady Wildcats a 31-30 lead.
And Manor did not relinquish the advantage for the remainder of the contest.
In the final minute of the third quarter, freshman guard Marissa Diescher scored seven points to help Manor take a 10-point advantage. She then made a 3-pointer just 28 seconds into the fourth to give the Lady Wildcats a 45-32 lead.
Manor pushed its advantage to 20 points (52-32) before The Family School’s Caitlin Foley scored with 5:09 remaining.
The Lady Falcons closed to within 12 points (59-47) with 55 seconds left after consecutive baskets by Mary Schmieder and Weaver.
“It was a good team effort,” Manor Coach Kevin Clifford said.
He noted that the reason the Lady Wildcats were able to break open what had been a very close game was because of “some defensive adjustments we made at halftime.”
Clifford also said that his team played better as the game progressed.
“It’s so tough to play up here,” he said. “Their press [defense] had us a little bit rattled early.”
Diescher had a double double of 33 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Lady Wildcats to the win. The 33 points was a career high for Diescher, who also had five steals.
Cruz and Chelsea Adamec scored seven points apiece and Angela Trotti had six points and 11 rebounds for Manor.
Senior forward Megan Ellison recorded seven assists for the Lady Wildcats.
Schmieder paced the Lady Falcons with 22 points, while Weaver finished with 11 points and Claire Meehan added nine points.
“They were able to get some easy baskets and that made the difference,” Family School Coach Carlton Williams said. “But our girls kept playing until the end, they didn’t quit.
“Manor played well,” he added. “Marissa Diescher had a great game.”
While the season ended with a tough defeat, Williams praised all of the Lady Falcons.
“The girls had a good season,” he commented. “We finished with a 14-7 record and made the sectionals for the second year in a row. These girls played well all year.”
Note: Manor’s season ended with a 50-34 loss to Coleman in Wednesday night’s semifinals.
Diescher scored a team-high 14 points for Manor (11-11).