by Richard Creaser
copyright the Chronicle 1-13-13
NEWPORT — A strong first half by the visiting Massey-Vanier High School Vikings girls basketball team led to defeat for the home team United Christian Academy Crusaders on Wednesday night, January 9. The visitors from Cowansville, Quebec, would emerge on top with a final score of 59-30.
“We are definitely a second-half team,” UCA Coach Molly Smith said after the game. “We don’t start as aggressively as sometimes we should.”
The Crusaders hung tough through the early goings keeping pace with Massey-Vanier. Then the Vikings turned up the heat and recorded ten straight points before UCA could rally. At the end of the first quarter the home squad found themselves down 22-10. Though UCA’s defense tightened and limited the Vikings to just 12 points in the second quarter, that defense came at the expense of UCA offense. UCA would only post seven points of their own and enter halftime down 34-17.
“I think we had a little bit more drive coming out in the second half,” UCA’s Hannah Piette said after the game. “Everyone was giving that little bit extra and I think it showed. Everyone stepped it up and not just a few girls but the whole team.”
Coach Smith commended her team on the newfound aggression they displayed in the second half. Their willingness to take a foul to break up Massey-Vanier’s momentum derailed what had been a smoothly operating offensive machine.
“In the second half we had more movement in our offense,” Coach Smith said. “Our man-to-man was solid and we started taking away scoring chances.”
With a tremendous deficit ahead of them, UCA focused on playing the best game they could, Ms. Piette said. The second half became less about a team desperate to win a match and more about a team displaying its pride and its confidence in its ability.
“I think we had the mindset that we just wanted to close that gap,” Ms. Piette said. “We wanted to get 30 points and we weren’t going to give up.”
Though the Lady Crusaders were outscored 25 to 14 in the second half, it was clear that Massey-Vanier no longer ruled the court unchallenged. At every turn and on every pass or shot a Crusader was there.
“We need to remember that this game has four quarters and we can’t just be a second-half team,” Coach Smith said. “We just need to dial it up through the whole game.”
Viking Rikki-Lee Blumenfeld led all scorers with 22 points while Azizza Goyette also added 14 points for Massey-Vanier. Hannah Piette recorded 11 points for UCA while Amy DeLaBruere and Kathryn Daigle each added six points.
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