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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, January 26, 2012

Voorheesville girls survive rollercoaster game for the win

VOORHEESVILLE –– Friday’s score between Voorheesville and Ravena went up and down like a rollercoaster. As the ride came to a close, the Blackbirds had done enough to hold on for the win.

If the Voorheesville girls’ basketball team has one element going for it this season, it’s the ability to show resilience in the face of adversity. The team is usually able to respond in challenging situations.

On Friday, Ravena scored nine points before the Birds scored any, but it was Voorheesville that had a 19-to-14 lead at halftime. The Indians had a four-point lead at the end of the third quarter, but it was the Blackbirds that had a 41-to-32 lead in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter.

“It’s always an effort thing with us,” said senior Emily Blow after the 43-to-41 win at home; she made three three-pointers in the game. “We usually start getting control when we calm down, take a timeout, realize we’re down, and turn it back on.”

Blow said that her team’s bad start was due to nerves. Voorheesville had practiced the 2-3-zone defense before the game, but Ravena was heavily contesting every shot at the beginning. Eventually, shots started to fall for the Birds.

“We tend to underestimate sometimes, but we make up for it,” said Anna Feller, who, personally, had a rough night with the basketball. “Any team that plays us in zone gives us a tough time because we’re a big inside team.”

The Indians’ zone forced the Blackbirds to shoot jump shots, and the team has plenty of shooters. Voorheesville made six three-pointers in the game and Blow and Sarah Madden have combined for 35 deep makes on the season.

Head Coach Bob Baron told The Enterprise that Voorheesville is trying to make decisions while at the same time trying to play fast. The Birds were up by nine points with two minutes left in regulation play, but Ravena was able to make it interesting because Voorheesville wasn’t taking care of the ball.

“I’m happy that my players can respond, but we almost gave this game away at the end,” Baron said. “We can’t simulate some of these situations in practice, so, hopefully, we’ll learn from these game experiences.”

With 18 seconds remaining, and Voorheesville ahead by two points, Ravena’s Kasey Biernacki stole the ball and headed towards the basket. It looked as if though she’d tie the game, but Jennifer Cillis made a great defensive play for the Birds, knocking the ball out of Biernacki’s hands right before she went up for a shot.

“We have to work on finishing it out,” Blow said. “Coach was a little bit mad because he knows we can play better. But, we’re happy for the win.”

Feller said that her team needs to work on “making better decisions” as its moves forward with its schedule. Starting with Ravena, Baron termed the next three games “Killers Road.” Voorheesville lost to Bishop Maginn, 57 to 42, on Tuesday and plays Cohoes and Watervliet over the next week. Watervliet is undefeated and Cohoes is 9-3, an identical record to the Blackbirds’.

“I think we’re already good at playing with each other because so many of us were here last season,” Feller said. Voorheesville went to the state semifinals in 2011. “Sometimes, we move towards sounds, instead of actually seeing what’s going on,” she said.

Not having vision could be an issue, but Voorheesville has been through a lot over the last two seasons. Maybe the players just know what comes next.

“We think about repeating our title, but it’s going to be a tough run,” said Blow, who saw the court well on Friday, making excellent passes. “We have to be ready.”

Baron said he’d have a better idea about where his team belongs in the Class C discussion after the Watervliet game next Tuesday at home. “We need to start faster,” he said.

For Feller and her teammates, getting back to states is a huge objective.

“We should always be looking towards the next game,” Feller said. “I think we want it so much more this year because we came so close before.”

By Jordan J. Michael

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