by Richard Creaser
copyright the Chronicle 2-6-2013
NEWPORT — The North Country Falcons (4-8) fought hard but came away with a loss against the visiting Essex Hornets (11-2) on Tuesday night.
Essex would go on to win the game 53-34. The Hornets came into Tuesday’s contest fresh off a victory against Spaulding while the hometown Falcons hoped to snap a seven-game skid.
The Hornets set the tone early after spending half of the opening frame trading point for point with North Country. A late run put Essex ahead 18-9 by the end of the first quarter. Despite a nine-point deficit the Falcons rallied back in the second quarter.
Co-captains Desiree Coffin and Anna Bingham combined for 11 of North Country’s 15 points in the quarter, slashing Essex’s lead to a mere two points. By the time the teams hit the locker rooms at the half, North Country had battled back and trailed 24-26.
In the third quarter, the confidence and tenacity that enabled the Falcons to fight back tailed off precipitously. North Country managed only two points in the quarter and fell behind 36-26 entering the final frame.
“I think we kind of lost our defensive presence,” Bingham said after the game. “We weren’t communicating very well. We didn’t have players where we should have and it cost us.”
The Hornets feasted on turnovers in the second half, breaking up any momentum North Country could manage. Their best defense proved to be a seemingly unstoppable offense as they outscored the Falcons 27-10 over the final two quarters.
Knowing that they were facing the number three team in Division I posed no additional pressure for the Falcons, Bingham said. Every game is a big game as far as mental preparation goes, she said.
“They’ve had some tough games lately and we hoped to take advantage of that,” Bingham said. “We just need to know where the ball is and make sure we get to it. That wasn’t happening for us tonight.”
Coffin led all Falcons scorers with 12 points on the night while Bingham contributed 11 points for North Country. Kara Sheftic led all scorers tossing in 20 points for Essex while fellow Hornet Lauren Miles contributed 14 points in the win.
The Falcons return to action hosting Spaulding High on Friday, February 8, with a 6:30 p.m. start.
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