Dec 09, 2010 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
It’s one thing to carry over momentum from one game to the next – but perhaps it can be done from one season to the next, too.
Just ask the Solvay girls basketball team, who won six straight late in the 2009-10 campaign, including a Section III Class B playoff romp of Canastota (48-31) before falling to Clinton in overtime in the quarterfinal round.
Nine long months later, the Bearcats began a new season with four returning starters and a whole lot of confidence – something that was evident in Thursday night’s 57-44 victory over Marcellus.
Led by senior Tessa Pucello and junior Abbey Jones, who finished with 20 points apiece, Solvay moved out in front midway through the first quarter and never trailed again, the host Mustangs unable to overcome the foul trouble that plagued its top returning scorer, Melissa Lee.
Both Marcellus (12-7 a season ago) and Solvay faced the same common dilemma going into the game – a lack of court time. Both sides had been sidelined all week due to the massive, four-day winter snowstorm, which caused the postponement of both teams’ season openers on Tuesday – the Mustangs against Bishop Grimes, the Bearcats against Phoenix.
Given that, the quality of play proved quite good, especially from Pucello and Jones. Already with more than 1,000 points to her credit, Pucello pushed her team out in front in the first quarter with nine points, everything from a rebound putback basket to a 3-pointer.
And when the Mustangs closed in on Pucello, Jones found herself open for a series of inside baskets, all of which helped the Bearcats lead 19-8 going into the second period. It helped, too, that Lee, who could match with Pucello and Jones in the paint, sat with two early fouls and missed most of the first half.
Marcellus did cut the margin to 20-15 in the second period and were also within five, 30-25, early in the third quarter as Emily Brissette came up with a seven-point burst in that latter frame. Each time, though, Pucello or Jones or Tiffney Guinta (who finished with seven points) would offer an answer, and Solvay would get back its double-digit margin.
Lee, despite all the time she spent on the bench, still led Marcellus with 12 points. Brissette and Bethanie Abbott each had eight points, as the Mustangs were playing short-handed without senior Sophie Jackson, who sat out due to illness.
On Saturday, the Mustangs would try again for its first win when it made up the snowed-out date with Bishop Grimes at East Syracuse.
Helped by a strong practice the day before, the Mustangs’ level of play dramatically improved – which led to a 55-47 victory over the Cobras.
A 16-6 first quarter set a positive tone, and Marcellus, on both sides of the ball, kept Grimes off guard. This proved especially true in a 19-9 spurt through the third quarter that expanded the Mustangs’ lead to 49-25.
Abbott, with 13 points, led a deep and balanced attack. Molly MacLachlan put in 10 points, while Brissette, Meghan Kinney and Emily Soule each had eight points.
Marcellus would meet Bishop Ludden on Tuesday and has a key early-season showdown with league favorite Jordan-Elbridge on Friday night. Solvay takes its own shot at J-E on Wednesday, two days before facing Grimes.