Defensive efforts lead T-Wolves to pair of wins
|SAHARA BROWN and her Prospect Mountain teammates will be in action at Newfound Friday and Belmont Wednesday. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)|
February 01, 2010ALTON — The Prospect Mountain girls' hoop team had better get used to playing on the road. And to having other teams in the stands scouting.
The Timber Wolves began a stretch of four games in a row away from home with a trip to Epping on Friday, Jan. 29.
Though things started out a bit rough for the Prospect girls, they bounced back in fine fashion and recorded a 41-19 win over the Blue Devils.
"I told the girls they were going to be a tougher team that what you think and they were going to have to come out ready," said coach Jeri Blair.
Evidently, it took the Timber Wolves four minutes or so to get that message, as the hosts jumped out to an 8-0 lead to start the game.
Blair called timeout and the Timber Wolves bounced back strong, outscoring the hosts 41-11 the rest of the way.
"It's tough on the road," Blair said. "I've always said that when you go into another gym, you're down 10 points already."
The Timber Wolves were without Sydney Robertson for their game in Epping and the hosts did a good job focusing on Kelsey Hopper in the middle. However, a great team effort led to more people getting on the board and chipping in all the way around.
"It was a great team effort," Blair noted.
Sarah Adams led the way with 14 points, Hopper added nine, Kristi Maciejewksi had six and Sahara Brown chipped in with five. With Robertson out, Blair worked Emily Barrett into the lineup and she contributed with four points.
Rachel Roberge had only three points in the game, but Blair was impressed with the way she handled the team.
"She's starting to read the game and see the floor better," he said. "She did a great job running the game."
The Timber Wolf coach was pleased with his team's defensive effort, something they focused on in the last few games.
"If we can hold a team to under 40 points, we have a good shot at winning," he noted.
The Timber Wolves did just that on Tuesday, Jan. 26, when they hosted Somersworth. The Hilltoppers came in averaging between 50 and 60 points a game and were undefeated with 10 wins.
When they left town, the Somersworth girls were 10-1, as the Timber Wolves used a great effort from Hopper and a strong defensive game to pick up the 38-33 win.
"It was a great ballgame," Blair said. "The girls were really happy with that win."
The 'Toppers gave the Timber Wolves some problems in the opening half, but the Prospect Mountain defense held strong and the hosts trailed by just five, 18-13 after the first half ended.
Prospect came back strong in the third quarter and a layup by Hopper at the buzzer gave the Prospect girls their first lead, 26-24 after three quarters of play.
The Timber Wolves seized the momentum from that point, hitting 10 of 13 from the line, including four in a row from Hopper after the 'Toppers tied the game at 26 to start the fourth quarter.
"I'll take that game after game," said Blair of his team's free throw shooting in the fourth quarter. "It was exciting to start the week off like that."
Hopper was four-of-five, Michelle Lizotte was three-of-four, Roberge was one-of-two and Brown was two-of-two from the line in the crucial fourth quarter.
Hopper led the way with 18 points and 11 rebounds while Roberge added seven to the cause.
"I thought we played great defense," Blair said. To hold a team averaging 50 to 60 points a game to 33 points, you're doing a pretty good job on the defensive end."
Blair noted that Epping was scouting the game and in the lockerroom some of the girls wondered why Epping was there.
"I told them, you're an up and coming basketball team and you're doing a great job," he said. "People are going to be watching you."
The Timber Wolves will head to Newfound today, Thursday, Feb. 4, where Blair expects a tough battle with the Bear defense.
However, the highlight of the coming week will be Blair's return trip to Belmont, where he coached for 28 years (26 as the varsity coach) and won a state championship. The Timber Wolves visit the Red Raiders on Wednesday, Feb. 10.
"That's going to be a little emotional," he said. "I have to make sure I don't try to coach both teams."
Both road games start at 6:30 p.m.