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In girls basketball: Falcons fall to Comets 50-40

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Comets guard Hannah Earl (left) and Falcons forward Morgan Greene (right) vie for a loose ball in the Falcons loss Thursday. Photos by David Dudley
Comets guard Hannah Earl (left) and Falcons forward Morgan Greene (right) vie for a loose ball in the Falcons loss Thursday. Photos by David Dudley

copyright the Chronicle February 4, 2015

by David Dudley

NEWPORT — The North Country Union High School Falcons lost to the Bellows Free Academy St. Albans Comets Thursday, 50-40. Though the Falcons trailed the Comets for most of the game, they took a hard-nosed approach to the game that rattled the Comets early.

“Any time you come to Newport to play these scrappy girls, there’s always going to be a battle,” Comets Coach Richard Berthiaume said after the game. “Tonight was no different. Nothing was easy for us tonight. They fought us the whole way.”

Comets sophomore guard Hannah Earl, who led all scorers with 21 points, heated up early. She hit a wide open jumper from the left perimeter in the opening moments of the game.

A few moments later, Earl got the ball on the perimeter. But this time she swiftly drove to the hoop. She scored on the layup, took the foul, and hit the extra point to give the Comets a 20-11 lead.

Earl would close out the first half with nine points, as the Comets took a 22-13 lead into halftime.

The Comets benefited largely from crisp passing and good court vision. A number of their points came from open looks from the perimeter, the result of making the extra pass.

The Falcons, on the other hand, were playing a physical game. Some teams might have been intimidated by their hard nosed approach, but the Comets took it in stride. Still, the Falcons came out of the locker room ready to get back into the game.

Behind Morgan Greene’s five points, the Falcons matched the Comets scoring in the third-quarter.

“Tonight Morgan really came through for us,” Falcons Coach Christiane Brown said. “And Brooke Brault really stepped up. She played the whole game, 32 minutes, and she guarded one of the best players in the state.”

Ms. Brown was speaking about Comets senior forward Kim Howrigan, who was held to only ten points on the night.

But Earl’s 21 points, eight of them coming from the foul line, were just too much.

Falcons forward Kylie Wright follows through from the line, Thursday.  Though the Comets doubled down on her much of the game, Wright still scored eight points, and pulled down a number of rebounds.
Falcons forward Kylie Wright follows through from the line, Thursday. Though the Comets doubled down on her much of the game, Wright still scored eight points, and pulled down a number of rebounds.

“We put a lot of pressure on Hannah tonight,” Mr. Berthiaume said. “And she came through for us.”

In the third-quarter, Falcons guard Kylie Jones was forced to come out of the game with an injury. Jones chipped in ten points on the night, knocking down six from behind the arc.

The final possession of the third quarter belonged to the Falcons. Breault pulled up to hit a buzzer beater, but Comets forward Halle Sam-Boudreau swatted the shot away.

The fourth quarter was much of the same for the Comets. Earl helped maintain the lead with five points from the foul line.

Olivia Venturo and Sam Boudreau also pitched in with eight points apiece for the game.

“The depth that we have makes us difficult to handle,” Mr. Berthiaume said. “Everybody’s averaging between seven to ten points a game. It makes scouting us really difficult.”

Boudreau played a big role on the defensive end, swatting away three shots, and pulling down boards that would have otherwise been gobbled up by Falcons forward Kylie Wright.

“Wright really hurt us the last time round,” Mr. Berthiaume said. “We made a real effort to double down and keep her from scoring. We did a good job of preventing her from getting into a rhythm. We boxed her out for much of the game.”

Still, it was no off night for Wright, who scored a solid eight points and pulled down her fair share of rebounds.

The Comets spread the floor, managed to kill a good chunk of time each possession, and flat out wore the Falcons down.

But the Falcons refused to go quietly. In the final moments, they turned on the full court press, and started to let the three-pointers fly.

Green, Jones, and Michaela Columbia each buried a trey as regulation expired.

“Our girls are willing to work from beginning to end,” Ms. Brown said. “But we had a lot of empty possessions, a lot of turnovers. Sometimes we don’t do what we’re supposed to do with the ball.”

The turnovers certainly undermined the Falcons efforts — they had 15 turnovers in all — but fouls may have been the determining factor.

The Falcons finished the night with 19 team fouls, sending the Comets to the line 14 times. The Comets hit on 11 of those attempts, which is the margin of victory plus an extra point.

The final score was 50-40, in the Comets’ favor.

“We’re in games, but how do we finish?” Ms. Brown wondered. “That’s what we’re trying to find out now. How do we get over the hump?”

contact David Dudley at [email protected]

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