by Richard Creaser
copyright the Chronicle 1-7-2014
NEWPORT — The North Country Falcons picked up their second win of the season against the visiting Lyndon Institute Vikings on Saturday afternoon 41-29. It also marks the team’s second win against rival LI this season as North Country improves to 2-3 on the year. Coach Christiane Brown credits a strong defensive presence for Saturday’s win.
“Everyone contributed in some way or another,” Coach Brown said after the game. “My stats calculator can keep track of a lot of things but the intensity and drive of my girls isn’t something that shows up in the stat sheet. That’s what really made the difference today.”
A key contributor in the effort was Morgan Greene who racked up eight steals, seven rebounds and contributed six points for the Falcons. As a team, the Falcons had 27 steals that greatly helped to limit Lyndon’s offensive opportunities.
“Our defense was definitely working today,” Greene said after the game. “We set up a lot of screens and kept them to the outside. That helped us get the steals and turn the other way.”
Momentum was a key component in the North Country effort. When the Falcons controlled the pace of the game they enjoyed success at both ends of the court. When that momentum faltered, the Vikings were quick to pounce. That was especially notable in the third quarter where the Falcons came out flat.
“That’s been a problem with us all season,” Coach Brown said. “We always have one flat quarter and this time it was the third. We’ve been working on keeping that intensity through all four quarters.”
Regaining momentum is about keeping morale up and encouraging one another on the court, Greene said. The team’s communication has continued to improve throughout the season allowing the Falcons to shrug off missteps and move forward.
“We try to pick each other up and keep our spirits up,” Greene said. “We have to keep working as a team no matter what.”
The intensity that fueled many of the steals and rebounds did come with a price however. As the game wound down the weight of fouls began to take its toll. The Vikings went to the line eight times in the fourth quarter alone shooting a combined 6 for 14.
“Those late fouls were hurting us,” Coach Brown said. “We had a 19-point lead going into the fourth quarter. Watching it go down and down was tough.”
While the fouls certainly hindered the Falcons’ run, Greene also gives credit for a tighter defense on part of the Vikings in the end result.
“They put up some nice screens that kept us from working inside,” Greene said. “I think they protected better late in the game.”
Nine different Falcons would hit the score sheet in Saturday’s contest. Kelsea Cutting and Nicole Therrien led the charge with eight points each, along with Greene’s six and five more from Brooke Breault. The top scorers for the Vikings were Taylor Cushman with nine points and Samantha Smith with 7.
“When you can get points from that many players, it’s tough for your opponents to shut you down,” Coach Brown said. “It creates a lot of opportunities when you can move the ball around and have multiple shooters.”
The Falcons host their next home game on Friday, January 10, against the visiting St. Albans Comets. The varsity game is scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. start.
contact Richard Creaser at firstname.lastname@example.org