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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, January 7, 2010

Lady Birds put Ravena away early, never look back

By Jordan J. Michael

VOORHEESVILLE –– The Lady Birds’ basketball team doesn’t fly south for the winter. It holes up in a gymnasium and wins games.

Voorheesville pushed its Colonial Council record to 6-2 on Tuesday night with a 54-to- 40 win over Ravena at home. The Birds looked fresh after a two-week break, putting the Indians into a 19-to-6 hole after the first quarter.

“We went back to the basics over the break and made sure we were in shape,” said Head Coach Robert Baron after the game. Voorheesville’s last game was a 40-to-32 loss at Mechanicville on Dec. 22.

On Tuesday, the Lady Birds only had three subs because Sarah Madden was out with an injury. However, the remaining eight players hustled until the final buzzer even though the win over Ravena was well in hand by the start of the fourth quarter.

Baron said that he expects the team to play all 32 minutes, no matter the circumstance. “Even though we’re up 10, we’ll play like we’re down 10,” he said. “These girls have a spot on this team because they can all contribute. That’s the way it is around here.”

It’s easy to see what Baron is talking about. All eight Birds made key plays against the Indians, and six out of the eight scored four points or more. Everyone touches the ball.

Quick start

Ravena came in looking like the 1-6 team that it was, and Voorheesville clearly had an advantage from the get-go.

Sam Randio hit the first shot of the game by sinking a three, and that would be the only lead Ravena would have for the night. Britney Creed tied the score at the other end with a three-point play. Elizabeth Madden and Amelia Martin had back-to-back scores to bring the Voorheesville lead to 9 to 3.

Madden, the Birds’ leading scorer, practically lives under the basket and she was there to easily clean up a miss by Martin, running the score to 13 to 4. With around two minutes to go in the first quarter, Ravena’s Jaquilla Ponder couldn’t find a hole in Voorheesville’s full court press, so she decided to throw the ball out of bounds.

Jennifer Cillis drained an open jump shot, and the Birds already had a 13-point lead after the first quarter. The Indians would hang around for the rest of the game, but couldn’t get within 10 points.

“I think our man-to-man defense was too much for them,” said Martin, who scored 15 points. “They were able to pick up on our zone defense though.”

Defense was the exact reason why Ravena couldn’t cut into the score. “I thought that was our best showing of man-to-man defense all season,” said Baron. “I would have stayed with full-court press, but we got into foul trouble.”

It may have seemed like a flawless game for Voorheesville, but the team missed a share of shots and only went 9 of 18 from the free throw line. “We’ve been pretty good with free throws all season, but maybe the time off got to our heads,” Baron said.

The Lady Birds are a team that likes to run the floor and most of its points are scored in transition. “That’s just how we like to play,” said Baron. “Scoring on the run is our game.”

Voorheesville has had quite the turnaround since finishing the 2007-08 season at 5-16. The team ended last season with a 17-6 record and made it all the way to the Class CC finals. Baron doesn’t want to jump to conclusions and he’ll know more about the team as it heads into the second half of the schedule.

“We’ll continue to progress,” Baron said. “Be more physical, finish off drives, play tougher defense, and force more turnovers.”

A team that was recently known for losing is now making a name for itself in the win column.

“I think this group of girls can build on the foundation that was set last year,” said Martin. “We’re a tough team and we all want to win as much as possible.”

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