In girls basketball: Falcons defense key in win over Lyndon

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NC girls block
Falcon Mariah LaDeau (right) forces Lyndon Institute’s Samantha Smith to the outside during Saturday’s girls varsity match at North Country. Photo by Richard Creaser

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.”

NC girls basket
North Country’s Brooke Breault turned on the afterburners as she cut through the Lyndon Viking defense for this lay-up during Saturday’s 41-29 win over the visiting Vikings. Lyndon’s Madalyn Sanborn (obscured left) prepares for a rebound. Photo by Richard Creaser

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.”

NC girls defense
North Country’s Abbie Santaw (right) and her Falcon teammates worked a rugged D as the Falcons held on for a 41-29 win against Rylie Nichols and the visiting LI Vikings on Saturday. Photo by Richard Creaser

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.”

NC girls tipoff
Falcon Kylie Jones (center right) squares off against Lyndon Institute’s Cherree Berry as referee Larry Boisvert (right) prepares for the opening tip-off in Saturday’s varsity basketball game at North Country. Jones, fellow Falcon Brittany Royer (background left) and the North Country squad held off a late run by the Vikings to secure their second win of the season 41-29. Photo by Richard Creaser

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 [email protected]










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