The Dunkirk Lady Marauders (4-2, 3-0) will enter their winter break riding the high of an impressive CCAA Division 1 victory over rival Fredonia (1-5, 1-2) after Friday's 55-35 win at Dunkirk High School.
"I want them to enjoy this win," Dunkirk coach Sarah Bogardus said. "That's what high school basketball is all about. You work hard but you have fun."
It was the Lady Hillbillies who were having the fun early, as they exploded for 18 points in the first quarter, but the offense quickly imploded and mustered only 17 points the rest of the game.
OBSERVER?Photos by Roger Coda
At left, Dunkirk’s Dimary Maisonet (5) goes up for a shot between Fredonia’s Maddy Crandall (22) and Baylee Tarnowski (12), during their CCAA?Division 1 girls basketball game Friday night, at Dunkirk Senior High School. At right, Dunkirk’s Lacey Clark looks to make a move to the basket against Crandall.
"We got away from running our offense," Fredonia coach Carol Zirkle said. "We missed a lot of shots. We had opportunities and we weren't abel to convert. We also had a lot of turnovers."
Fredonia built the early lead with a solid team game. In the first quarter, four different players - Morgan Genovese, Alicia Deering, Olivia Pucciarelli and Bre Dahn - netted at least four points.
"(Coach Zirkle) always prepares her girls very well," Bogardus added. "They're always mentally and physically tough. They're probably one of the most disciplined teams that we'll face all year."
The young Lady Hillbillies unraveled under the pressure of Dunkirk's press defense, however, and the Lady Marauders turned turnovers into easy points.
"Even though Joyce (Bomasuto) and Dimary (Maisonet) didn't score a lot of points," Bogardus said of her guards, "they pressured up on defense and seriously turned the game around. That was the difference for us is when Joyce and Dimary decided to step up and play pressure defense and force turnovers. They are a big reason why our offense got into a rhythm."
Dunkirk's offense was hardly in a rhythm in the first half, with only eight second-quarter points, but was just good enough to enter halftime up 23-21.
The second half was a totally different story as the Lady Marauders kept the pressure on and Khee Nance started scoring in bunches.
With Dunkirk clinging to a 28-25 lead midway through the third quarter, Nance converted on back-to-back old-fashioned three-point plays.
Nance finished with a game-high 25 points and 17 rebounds along with five steals.
"She's a gamer," Bogardus said of Nance. "Any time the game is close, you know you can count on Khee to step up and come through both offensively and defensively. You could tell that she was feeling it."
Moments after Nance's outburst, Jessica Gifford drained a trey and the rout was on.
"I was really unhappy that we weren't aggressive on offense," Zirkle said. "We didn't want to take the shot. We didn't look to score. That's something that we're working on, but it's difficult to work on in practice. It seems like we're looking for that senior that doesn't exist."
Fredonia's offense found some life in the fourth quarter as Genovese and Dahn found their shooting touch, but four 3-pointers from Dunkirk neutralized any momentum the Lady Hillbillies could grab.
Genovese led Fredonia with 12 points while Dahn added nine points and six rebounds.
"You need to learn from your mistakes," Zirkle continued. "You don't want to feel like this again. You need to use this to spur yourself to improve on the areas that you need to improve."
Dunkirk isn't wasting any time over winter break as the Lady Marauders will face a tough test with Pine Valley on Thursday.