By Jordan J. Michael
BERNE –– The Berne-Knox-Westerlo girls’ basketball team is strong when it’s running on all cylinders. Most of the pistons were not firing on Tuesday night during the Bulldogs’ home opener against Greenville, but it still came away with the win.
The play was messy, physical, and the Spartans put a target on the Bulldogs’ star player, senior Liz Harvey, who was fouled many times. Harvey made 13 of her 14 free throws.
“This wasn’t a very good basketball game,” said BKW Head Coach Tom Galvin after the 44-to-38 victory moved his team to 3-0. “It was ugly, sloppy, and full of bad shooting.”
Greenville beat up BKW a little bit, knocking players to the floor. However, the Bulldogs returned the favor.
The Spartans had a chance to make the game closer at the end after a steal and a BKW foul led to points, but Greenville’s assistant coach received a technical foul for yelling at the referee. Harvey made the two free throws to ice the game.
“Oh my gosh, yes,” said Harvey when asked if she felt targeted on Tuesday. She’s one of the top players in Section 2, and 219 points away from breaking BKW’s all-time scoring record (1,525).
“How else are they going to stop us?” she exclaimed. “They have to target us.”
Turnovers and missed baskets plagued both Greenville and BKW for the entire game. Galvin and Harvey gave the team a C grade, but the Bulldogs have played much better this season, for example, during a 51-to-28 win over Herkimer on Nov. 30.
One look at Harvey’s face and you would think BKW lost the game. The team is happy to win, but lost too much of its composure against Greenville.
“It’s like having a filet mignon, then going back to hamburger,” Galvin said, comparing the two previous games to Tuesday’s. “You don’t want hamburger anymore; you want the steak. It has to be the steak, but, tonight, it was hamburger.”
The beef patty had no cheese or any fixings. It was a burned burger.
“I know we can play better,” Galvin said. “We talked about composure after the game. We can’t just waltz out there and think we’ll win because we have BKW across our chests.”
Harvey said the Bulldogs are used to physical play. BKW’s aggressive full-court press defense disrupted Greenville quite a bit, too.
“Last year, we were more confident, but, this year, we’re more timid,” said Harvey, who scored a game-high 19 points on Tuesday. “We need to find that confidence and bring it to the games. We have it in practice.”
BKW likes to use the word “swag” to describe its confidence. Harvey said that BKW would find it eventually.
Harvey and Mary Salo, who scored nine points on Tuesday, are the only two Bulldog players who have real game experience. The team went 17-0 last season, but went 1-2 down the stretch, losing early on in the Class C playoffs.
“Most of these girls haven’t run through the tunnel yet,” Galvin said. “Winning ugly can actually be good because it levels our head. So, after not playing well tonight, there’s an added work ethic for tomorrow.”
The Bulldogs made it to the Class C finals when Harvey was a ninth-grader. Galvin said the team has been talking a lot about wanting to celebrate at the season’s end, instead of feeling sad because of an early loss.
“We need to bring the craziness and competitiveness that we have in practice to the games,” said Harvey. “If we figure that out, we’ll be hard to beat.”