T-Wolves best Rams for first win
|SARAH ADAMS goes hard to the hoop against defensive pressure in her teamís loss to Berlin on Dec. 16. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)|
December 21, 2009ALTON — If the saying the first one is the hardest is true, then coach Jeri Blair's toughest win as head coach of the Prospect Mountain girls' hoop team is out of the way.
The veteran coach, in his first year at the helm of the Timber Wolves, picked up his first win of the season as the Prospect girls knocked off Raymond by a 63-21 score on Friday, Dec. 18.
"It was a nice night for us, a good win for us," said Blair. "The girls needed it, and I needed it."
The game, the Timber Wolves' second home game of the week, went Prospect Mountain's way from the beginning, as the hosts kept the Rams in single digits in each of the first three quarters and held them scoreless in the fourth quarter on their way to the big win.
"I didn't think our intensity on the defensive end was good against Berlin," said Blair. "But we came out against Raymond and did a good job, the intensity was up.
"And once we started to hit our big girls inside, it opened up the outside for Rachel (Roberge)," he continued. "Between (Sarah) Adams, (Sydney) Robertson and (Kelsey) Hopper, we have some good size in there."
He noted that assistant coach Bridgette Hooker was working with the post players on establishing position in the paint and it paid off with a strong game inside against Raymond.
Roberge had 15 points to lead the way for Prospect Mountain, while Hopper had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Robertson also had a double-double, adding 12 points and 12 rebounds. Adams had 10 points and eight rebounds and Sahara Brown had nine points and seven steals.
"Starting with a new team, they've got to believe in me, and I have to believe in them, and games like this help us get on the same page," Blair said.
The Timber Wolves opened the home season on Wednesday, Dec. 16, against Berlin and struggled to score points, netting only two in the first quarter and nine in the second quarter, leading to a halftime deficit of 23-11.
Hopper hit the first shot of the night for the Timber Wolves from the foul line, for a 1-0 lead more than three minutes into the game. However, Berlin came back with a field goal, a three-pointer and another field goal to take a 7-1 lead. After a Robertson block, Hopper hit another free throw with 37 seconds on the clock for the Timber Wolves' second point of the night, and the hosts trailed 7-2 at the end of one quarter.
Robertson netted her team's first field goal a minute and a half into the second quarter, cutting the lead to 7-4 and a pair of Roberge free throws made it 7-6.
However, Berlin got a three-pointer to up the lead to four, only to see Roberge answer with one of her own from beyond the arc to make it 10-9.
The Mounties then took control, scoring the next 11 points to up the lead to 21-9 before Brown hit a hoop to stop the bleeding. The visitors added one more hoop before the break and took a 23-11 halftime lead.
The Timber Wolves chipped away at the lead a bit in the third period, as Hopper hit a bucket to open the scoring, but Berlin answered with a three-pointer. After a Roberge hoop made it 26-15, Berlin got a field goal and a three-pointer to up the lead to 31-15. Roberge hit from beyond the arc to make it 31-18, but Berlin answered with a field goal to go up 33-18.
The Timber Wolves got the final two buckets of the third quarter, as Roberge hit another three-pointer and Hopper hit for two, making it 33-23 after three quarters of play.
Hopper finished a nice pass from Robertson to cut the lead to 33-25 to open the fourth quarter, but a three from the Mounties upped the lead again.
After a Robertson hoop made it 36-27, Berlin hit two buckets in a row to take a 40-27 lead, but the Timber Wolves did not back down.
Robertson hit back-to-back hoops sandwiched around a Hopper block and with 3:30 to play, the lead was down to nine at 40-31. Roberge then drained a three-pointer with three minutes to play to make it a six-point game at 40-34. However, the Mounties hit three buckets in a row to retake the momentum and the Timber Wolves got only a Roberge three-pointer at the end to close out the scoring in the 46-37 loss.
"When you make runs, you have to make stops, and we didn't make the stops," said Blair of his team's fourth quarter comeback attempt. "But it was a lot better second half than first half."
He noted that his girls didn't do a good job of containing Berlin's Marisa Lemoine, who they knew would be an outside threat.
"It's still a work in progress," Blair said. "We've got to do a lot of work on the defensive end and with our size, we didn't control the boards as well as we should've."
For the game, Roberge had 19 points to lead the way, including five three-pointers. Robertson and Hopper each added eight in the loss. Hopper also had six rebounds.
The Timber Wolves were in action after deadline Tuesday against Gilford and will return to action for holiday tournament action in Gilford next week.
The girls open the tournament on Monday, Dec. 28, against Winnisquam at 4 p.m. If the girls win that game, they play on Tuesday, Dec. 29, at 7 p.m. If they lose the opening game, they play on Tuesday, Dec. 29, at 12:30 p.m.
The tournament championship is set for Wednesday, Dec. 30, at 6 p.m.