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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, December 15, 2011

A new look for Lady Dutch?

By Jordan J. Michael

GUILDERLAND –– The Lady Dutch basketball team has new uniforms to match its new outlook. From opening tip-off on Tuesday night, something seemed different.

Guilderland took it to visiting Columbia right way with fast breaking offense and tight, energetic defense. The Dutch made the Blue Devils uncomfortable, holding the team to only four points in the first quarter.

The excellent defense in the first half allowed Guilderland to run the floor, resulting in easy looks at the basket. The Lady Dutch lost some steam in the second half, missing multiple free throws, but held on for the 56-to-48 win.

“We saw the floor really well,” said senior Kelly Van Epps, who led Guilderland in scoring with 15 points. She had an impressive first quarter –– stealing the ball, making a three-pointer, and making two consecutive lay-ups. “We saw our cutters,” she added.

The Dutch had to fend off Amanda Batzold, who almost single-handedly brought Columbia back in the second half. She made a few stellar shots, finishing with 24 points. The Blue Devils kept fouling to extend the game, but Guilderland had it in the bag.

“We’re being really active and that’s the key,” said Dutch Head Coach Frank Cacckello. “We should have done a better job at putting the game away, but we left empty points at the foul line.”

Guilderland shot 23 of 45 from the foul line, but that was the only sour point of the evening. The Dutch played smart and attacked the basket.

“Oh, yeah,” said Van Epps when asked if there were changes with the team. “We want to run and make plays. In the past, we walked the ball up the court. We’re reading better, getting along a lot more, and just working much better. We’re communicating very well.”

Cacckello told The Enterprise that the new chemistry coalesced at a successful team camp in Syracuse. Also, the team is deep with talent, which makes practice really competitive.

“They’re going into every game thinking that they’re going to win,” Cacckello said of his 11 players. “We’re only looking to jump over teams that are ahead of us.”

The Lady Dutch has two solid guards, Cacckello said. Sophomore Shannon Mackesey flies up and down the floor, while Briana Timmons is a little more controlled on the fast break. Timmons scored nine points on Tuesday and Mackesey had six. Senior Amanda Kernozek added eight points.

“We really wanted to win this game,” Van Epps said. “I’m glad we did.”

Guilderland was a combined 8-28 over the last two seasons in the Suburban Council. The team won only three games last year, but now it has won two in as many tries. What’s the difference?

“It’s the work ethic, or the ability to make mistakes and correct them,” Cacckello said. “Instead of getting down, we’re playing through the mistakes and improving.”

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