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<b>Hoosick Falls Central School guard Carsen Williams (14) drives the lane against Tamarac on Wednesday night. (Geoff Smith) </B>
Hoosick Falls Central School guard Carsen Williams (14) drives the lane against Tamarac on Wednesday night. (Geoff Smith)
Hoosick Falls Central School guard Carsen Williams (14) drives the lane against Tamarac on Wednesday night. (Geoff Smith)

GEOFF SMITH

Assistant Sports Editor

HOOSICK, N.Y. -- The Tamarac girls basketball team raced out to a 7-0 lead early against Hoosick Falls on Wednesday night, and the Bengals never looked back as they went on to win 50-31.

"Anytime you give a team a seven-point lead, you hope your team can keep their composure and keep their attitude," Hoosick Falls coach Eamonn DeGraaf said. "You never want to give another team a seven-point lead."

Adiya Henderson (11 points) and Jenna Erickson (game-high 17 points) got the Bengals going early, with Erickson hitting a trey inbetween four points from Henderson, and it would take the Panthers until 2:35 left in the first to get a basket, when Chelsea Stevens (5 points) connected underneath on a pass from Meghan Flynn (6 points).

"This is a tough place to play, Hoosick Falls has always been a challenge for us," Tamarac coach Eric Medved said. "The most important aspect was how we were going to come out, trying to set the pace and the tempo from the opening tip."

Tamarac would end the first with a 10-5 lead.

To start the second, Taylor Hayes (team-high 7 points) hit a pair of free throws, but Tamarac answered the next trip down with a basket by Sammi Casale. Hoosick Falls would call a timeout with the score at 12-7, but after the break Tamarac scored three quick baskets to take a 18-7 lead.

Going into halftime, Tamarac led 21-10.

"Tamarac is a very good team, one of the top teams in the section," DeGraaf said. "We knew we had to go in and play perfect to have a shot at the end. I thought we played well from time to time."

To open the third quarter, the Panthers made their best run of the game to try and tie the game up, cutting the lead down to five. Carsen Williams (3 points) scored her only field goal to start the run, Olivia Schnieder hit a three to highlight the run, and Kelly Pine (4 points) capped it with a basket on an inbounds pass from Williams.

But Briana Matazinsky converted an and-one opportunity down the other end of the floor on the next possession, sparking an 8-0 run that put the game out of reach.

"[Tamarac] went on a run there, and in the fourth there were a lot of fouls called."

In the fourth, Tamarac converted 6-of-10 free throws to help ice the game.

"I thought defensively, the kids played a good game," Medved said. "We ran a few different sets on defense. That was our game plan tonight, to not show one thing."

For DeGraaf, the loss highlighted a big issue the Panthers will have to face in order to overcome early deficits: Turnovers.

In the first half alone, Hoosick Falls turned the ball over 19 times. For the game, the Panthers finished with over 30 turnovers.

"I thought we played well, but we have to eliminate the turnovers," DeGraaf said. "If we can do that, and get [Rachel] Pine back, who knows what could happen."

Hoosick Falls moves to 1-2 on the year with the loss, while Tamarac moves to 2-1. Hoosick Falls plays next on Friday, when the team travels to Schuylerville.