Cards wear down Falcons in battle for SBC supremacy
It was all about the depth - Bangor had it, Brookwood didn’t
And it was that depth that fueled the Lady Cardinals to a 53-34 victory over the Lady Falcons in a battle between the only two remaining unbeaten girls basketball teams in the Scenic Bluffs Conference.
Brookwood hung with the defending-champion Cards well into the second half, but Bangor wore down the shorthanded Lady Falcons down the stretch to pull away for its fifth win in a row.
“Bangor’s depth was a factor,” said Brookwood head coach Bob Berg, whose team was forced to play without the services of two starters.
Seniors Ellen Marriott and Lydia Madrigal sat out the SBC match-up due to illness and injury.
Marriott, who was recovering from an illness, didn’t make the trip to Bangor Monday, and Madrigal warmed up, but was unable to play due to an ankle injury.
Berg said he hoped to have both players back at full strength by Friday.
“I was very proud with the effort I got from the girls. It was an encouraging sight,” offered Berg. “The score did not reflect the game. I think it gave us encouragement for the Feb. 13 rematch as long as we can keep on winning.”
Bangor opened the game with a 7-0 run, but Brookwood battled back to cut the deficit to 18-15 in the final minute, before Emma Wittmershaus hit a shot at the buzzer to put the Lady Cardinals on top 20-15 at the break.
Allyson Nelson knocked down a three-pointer 6:40 into the second half to cap off a 10-6 Brookwood run that cut the deficit to 26-25, but Bangor’s Haylee Leonard answered with a trey of her own to ignite a 9-0 run that put the Lady Cardinals on top 35-25 midway through the second half.
Bangor outscored Brookwood 18-9 down the stretch to pull away for the win.
Bangor head coach Merlin Jones agreed that his team’s depth was a key to the win.
“One thing you have to look at is that they were short two starters. Having two starters out in any small school will impact your depth,” he offered.
“Both teams came out playing extremely hard. Brookwood had something to prove and there was a little tension, but what it came down to in the end was their lack of depth,” added Jones. “We were able to maintain our tempo throughout the game.”
Both teams struggled on offense in the first half, but Bangor was able to turn it up a notch on both ends of the hardwood in the second half.
“We knew when we saw it was a close game that we needed to pick it up on defense,” said Bangor senior Jaclynn Freit. “Holding them down shows we can play defense as well as offense.”
Lady Cardinal junior Ashlie Lockington, who scored nine points in the second half, decided at halftime that she needed to be more aggressive.
“We needed to penetrate and get some easy shots, rather than the outside shots that weren’t falling. And we knew we needed to pick it up on defense and not allow then to get so many dribble drives,” offered Lockington.
Freit and Wittmershaus finished with 13 points apiece to lead Bangor on offense, while Lockington scored 10 points.
Leonard and Ariana Hundt added five points apiece for the Lady Cardinals, followed by Courtney Oesterle with three points and Elizabeth Nicolai and Alea Fortier with two points each.
Nelson and Kate Hyatt scored 10 points apiece to lead the Lady Falcons, followed by Angel Brueggen with seven, Amy Berg with five and Cassidy Green with two.
Wittmershaus caused some havoc for the Lady Falcons in the post, recording six blocked shots for Bangor.
“This is an extremely big win. Since the Aquinas loss, we haven’t been challenged or pushed, so to get a win over an undefeated Brookwood team is big,” concluded Jones. “It’s a nice situation to be in. It’s good to be on top because it takes some of the pressure off.”
Bangor improved to 9-0 in SBC action and 14-3 overall with the win, while Brookwood suffered its first loss of the season and fell to 8-1 in league play and 15-1 overall.
The Lady Cardinals are back in action Friday, when they travel to Royall to take on the Panthers in a 7:30 p.m. conference contest, while the Lady Falcon cagers host Wonewoc-Center in a 7:30 p.m. SBC game at Brookwood High School on Friday as well.