HOOSICK, N.Y. — Starting the Wasaren League campaign, the Hoosick Falls Central School girls basketball team had been stout, especially on the defensive end, allowing an average of 26 points in two games.
On Wednesday, the Panthers turned up the heat with their press, only allowing seven field goals in a 47-22 win over Cambridge.
"Defensively, it's a team effort, and the girls are starting to learn what their role is on defense," said Hoosick Falls (4-1) coach Eamonn DeGraaf. "It's still not perfect, we'll fine tune it and we'll be tough on the defensive end."
Cambridge didn't score more than eight points in any period. Bridey Nolan led the Indians with nine points on three 3-pointers, one each in the first three quarters.
Helen Mooney had eight points, but only one field goal as she went 6-of-10 from the line.
"I think we got a little shell-shocked early, we did some things better as the game went on," said Cambridge coach Tony Bochette. "We need to play fast, but not in a hurry. We could break the first wave of the press, but then we get frantic in the half court. We've emphasized being a fast-break team, we have to get used to playing in the half-court."
Panther senior center Megan Flynn was a beast down in the paint, scoring 19 points to lead all scorers. She also grabbed 10 rebounds, giving her another double-double to start the season.
"Our offense is based off reading a defense and they are understanding that. Meg is putting herself in a position to score," DeGraaf said.
Flynn scored half of Hoosick's first-quarter points as they raced out to a 14-5 lead after the opening eight minutes. She was blanked in the second, but other teams made big shots, including a 3-pointer from Anna Wysocki and baskets from Kelly Pine and Lizza Ryan.
"Between Lizza, Kelly and Meg, they're really starting to get it and play well together," DeGraaf said. "It's going to be big to learn what the others are going to do, but it's not going to happen in the first couple weeks."
Ryan flirted with another triple-double, falling just short after an effort of eight points, 10 rebounds and seven steals, while Wysocki was the second high-scorer with nine points and seven rebounds.
"Lizza is a very scrappy player, has a motor that never stops," DeGraaf said. "If she can slow down a little bit, she'll be a great player, she'll be able to see the floor better. On defense she's tough and that helps in transition when she's got the ball in her hands."
In the third quarter, Cambridge tried to make a game of it, with Nolan hitting her final three and Mooney scoring five points, but Flynn and the Panthers were too strong, with Flynn scoring eight points just in the third and Ryan, Wysocki and Eliza Whitman hitting shots — Whitman's coming at the third quarter buzzer — as Hoosick Falls took a 39-17 lead to the fourth.
"I think it's a little bit of a mental thing against [Hoosick Falls]," Bochette said. "Hoosick Falls is a good program in almost everything they do or sport they play, we have to understand that we can be that type of program."
Both teams get back to it on Friday, with the Panthers traveling to Stillwater and Cambridge hosting Greenwich. Both Wasaren League matchups start at 7:30 p.m.