Will didn’t overcome lack of skill
The Enterprise — Jordan J. Michael
Nowhere to go? The Voorheesville girls’ basketball team played well in the first half at Ravena on Tuesday, but struggled in the second half, losing, 55 to 43. Here, sophomore Jordan Pettograsso, right, applies pressure defense for the Birds on the Indians’ Teller Wood, who scored 13 points.
RAVENA — Basketball is a combination of effort, skill, and discipline. On Tuesday night at Ravena, the Voorheesville girls had the first.
But the Birds were sporadic on skill and discipline.
The Blackbirds had a four-point lead at halftime, due to some unbroken defense, but the offense missed crucial scoring opportunities. In the second half, those missed shots became more frequent, and the defense was scrambling.
After a 19-to-4 run in the third quarter, Ravena was ahead, 39 to 28. Voorheesville seemed rather shell-shocked.
“We lost it,” said sophomore Rachel Blow after the game with a sigh. Describing her team going into the second half, she went on, “We came out kind of ‘blah’ and let them come back. We could have made more shots.”
Blow got Voorheesville to within eight points with 2:24 remaining in the fourth quarter after making a lay-up while being fouled, but the Birds didn’t run the full-court press defense like it should, Head Coach Bob Baron said. The Indians were able to close the game out with easy baskets.
“We didn’t play the game that we were supposed to play,” Baron said after the 55-to-43 loss, which put Voorheesville at 4-7 in the Colonial Council (6-7 overall). “We didn’t do our assignments, we were out of position, and we didn’t run our schemes like we should.”
The Blackbirds stabbed at Ravena for the entire game, but Baron told The Enterprise that effort gets a team only so far; credit comes when enough points are scored.
“It’s a skill thing of being able to finish, score around the basket, but we couldn’t find the basket,” said Baron. “We used bounce passes instead of passing over the top, we didn’t cut off screens, and our angles were wrong. We started freelancing a little bit.”
The Indians’ shooting percentage was nowhere near great, but the team dominated the offensive glass. Meanwhile, the Birds were shooting bricks. Senior Katina Wallace made only one of her 10 three-point attempts on the evening; she missed her first eight.
Since Voorheesville couldn’t finish shots, Blow said that the psychological side came into play. “It’s like, ‘Oh, man, they just made two threes in a row and four lay-ups, and now we’re down,’” she said. “We think we can’t return from that.”
Personally, Blow said she wasn’t down when Ravena gained a huge lead, but, collectively, the team was not feeling good. “We should never have that downer mentality,” she said. “We should keep playing hard until the end.”
To make Tuesday night worse for the Blackbirds, senior Rebecca Bogart went down with a knee injury in the fourth quarter on a lay-up attempt; the ball miraculously went through the net though. She was taken to the hospital after the game.
In general, Baron said, Voorheesville’s shooting hasn’t been very good this season.
“Then, missed shots leads to a lack of discipline because we lose our confidence and trust in the system,” said Baron. “We have to grow, and we should be getting better with every game, but we’re up and down. We need to be more consistent.”
Again, Voorheesville’s effort was never in question, but the team’s proficiency needs some polish.
“Skill would help, but I’d like to see the discipline of running what we’re supposed to run,” Baron said. “After that, skill should build over time, and we’ll get better.”
Eight of the 11 Blackbird players are sophomores, so the team has room to develop. Baron was hoping that Tuesday night would be the start of some momentum towards Class B sectionals, but it felt more like a step back, he said.
“It all depends on how we play from here,” said Baron. “We have to make a decision on which way we want to go, so, that’s where we are.”
Voorheesville has games against Cobleskill, Albany Academy, Watervliet, Schalmont, and Fonda to close out the regular season. Watervliet, Schalmont, and Fonda are ahead in the Colonial Council standings; Watervliet is undefeated.
“Hopefully, we can get our act together,” Blow concluded. “We have a lot of potential; I always thought that. We can win if we all play as a team.”