Strong second half leads Panthers to victory

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HOOSICK, N.Y. — Down by three points at the half, the Hoosick Falls girls basketball team needed a spark to keep its three-game win streak alive.

Sophomore center Logan Thayne took that as a challenge as she came out in the second half and took over, leading the Panthers to a 55-41 win over Hoosic Valley at home.

Thayne had been held in check throughout the first half as the Indians made sure she couldn't get comfortable. She was held to just a pair of made free throws through the first sixteen minutes of play.

The second half she came out energized and notched 19 points in the final two quarters to finish with a game-high 21 points.

With the game being close, Thayne knew she needed to step up her game.

"I wasn't doing much for my team in the first half," Thayne said. "I just felt like I really needed to take over because it was a close game and we needed this win."

Hoosick Falls coach Dan Hytko thought Thayne made a nice adjustment out of the half.

"I think she became aware of what they were trying to do," Hytko said. "I can tell them, but they actually need to experience and go through what's going on out there."

The Panthers, as a whole, seemed to step to step up their game in the second half. They outscored Hoosic Valley 37-20 after the halftime break.

Hytko thought his girls became a lot more comfortable in the second half and it paid off big for them on the scoreboard. The uptick in play on the block was a major factor in Hoosick Falls taking advantage.

"I think our bigs, Logan (Thayne), Noreen McAuliffe kind of owned the block and they scored some key shots," Hytko said. "If it wasn't Logan, it was Noreen. The two of them combined and Eliza Whitman hit some shots in the third quarter. We worked hard to stay away from their double-team. When they doubled down, we made some shots and then they came out and we dumped the ball in. We mixed it up a little bit and it was pretty good."

Outside of Thayne, the Panthers had a pretty balanced scoring attack Wednesday night. Junior guard Olivia Brownell scored nine points, with her two made field goals knocked down from three-point range. Noreen McAuliffe scored eight and Lillian Hickey scored seven, while senior Eliza Whitman notched six points on the night.

The Indians got most of their scoring from a trio of players as Emaleigh Peckman, Alex Rifenburg and Renee Serafin combined for 34 of Hoosic Valley's 41 points.

The freshman Peckman led the way with 13, while Rifenburg and Serafin added 11 and 10 points respectively.

The win pushes Hoosick Falls' record to 7-6 on the season and the Panthers are on a four-game win streak.

With this being Hytko's first year on the job in Hoosick Falls, there was bound to be an adjustment period for the team.

The coaching veteran believes his team is starting to get comfortable in the system they're running.

"It took them a while to buy into what we're doing. We changed the whole culture," Hytko said. "I think they're coming. We talked about being ready at the end, not necessarily the beginning, and I think it's starting to happen. The kids really play hard and work hard."

The Panthers are back in action Friday at home against Tamarac.

Adam Aucoin can be reached at aaucoin@benningtonbanner.com and followed at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.


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