Dec 18, 2006 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
With each game, and each victory, the Liverpool girls basketball team’s confidence continues to grow.
And if that’s the case, then the Warriors must feel like giants after a five-day stretch where it knocked off a defending sectional champion and secured a big win in the Rochester area, among other things.
Liverpool started to propel forward last Tuesday night, when it went on a long road trip to the east and beat Rome Free Academy 53-40.
Granted, the Black Knights were not the same team that won the Section III Class AA title a year ago, mainly because all-time leading scorer Nikki Jo Rotolo graduated.
Still, RFA was dangerous, and recognizing that, the Warriors played outstanding defense, especially in the second quarter, when it held the Black Knights to just four points to seize a 25-15 edge that it would not relinquish.
On the other end, Colleen Maloney had a breakout performance. With RFA all over Tyler Ash (she had just one field goal and seven points), Maloney kept getting open looks — and kept converting, as she finished with 21 points. Ashleigh Bowers (11 points) and Sharon Dennis (six points) helped, too.
Liverpool could not afford a letdown on Friday night when Utica Proctor visited, especially since the Raiders had just knocked off unbeaten, state-ranked Oswego 52-50 earlier in the week.
There wouldn’t be a second upset. Liverpool had a near-perfect start and never allowed the Raiders to be part of the argument as, by a score of 56-45, the Warriors won its fourth game in a row.
When it came out to start the game, Liverpool noticed that Erica Austin and Deshanna Pierce, Proctor’s leading scorers, were not on the floor.
Sensing a big opportunity, the Warriors pounced on it. Ash had seven quick points, and her teammates fed off that energy to bolt to an 18-4 lead before the game was four minutes old.
Eventually, Austin and Pierce came back (and Pierce would score a game-high 19 points), but Liverpool would not surrender its advantage, building its lead to 41-21 by halftime and only cooling off when it could not be caught.
Ash finished with 13 points, 11 of them in the first half, and Dennis added 13 points of her own. Maloney gained 12 points, with Lauren Pluchino and Jessica Stagnitta each getting seven points.
With no time to rest, Liverpool went back on the road, this time to the Rochester suburbs, to meet Greece Arcadia. Despite the long bus ride and other possible disadvantage, the Warriors shrugged them off and beat Arcadia 55-52.
For three long and tough quarters, nothing was settled, but Liverpool would break out of a 39-39 tie and hit all the key shots down the stretch.
Again, an opponent paid for paying too much defensive attention to Ash, who continued her fine distribution of the ball. Dennis threw in 16 points, while Bowers finished with 14 points and Maloney contributed 13 points.
Now at 5-1, the Warriors sought its sixth straight win Tuesday, against West Genesee, knowing that a big Friday showdown with Oswego looms — a game that could determine who is the early Class AA title favorite.