Dominant first half leads Hoosick Falls to win
BENNINGTON — The Hoosick Falls girls basketball team has a singular focus this time of year — preparing themselves for the rigors of sectionals.
The Panthers used their Wasaren League crossover game against Spa Catholic as a tune-up for the sectional run they hope to make, as they topped the Saints 48-27 Friday night.
Hoosick Falls played the whole first half in a press defense and Spa Catholic couldn't muster much at all to break it.
Possession after possession, the Panthers' defense swarmed to the ball and caused numerous turnovers. This allowed Hoosick Falls to absolutely dominate the first half.
The Panthers allowed just a free throw to Lauren Maher in the first quarter and one field goal from Ria Walsh in the second quarter.
Hoosick Falls will need to defend the whole floor effectively to make any noise in sectionals and that was the key reason Panthers coach Ken Facin had his team stay in the defense for all of the first half.
"We're heading into sectional play, so we want to play 90 feet of defense and be able to pick up full-court man defense," Facin said. "We felt like we did what we wanted to do in the first half."
Hoosick Falls found an offensive rhythm on its own end and went into the half up 34-3.
Panthers center Logan Thayne continued her dominant season with an 18-point first half. Thayne finished with a game-high 24 points.
The Saints had a much more inspired effort in the second half. Guard Katie Cronin took advantage of some opportunities from three-point range and knocked down three 3's to lead the team with nine points.
Maher added seven points on the night, scoring a pair of field goals and two free throws after the break.
With a huge lead early in the second half, Facin played some of his bench players, who hadn't seen regular time in previous games. That was something he wanted to do coming into Friday's contest.
"We wanted to play everyone in the second half, which we did. We always like to have a starter in there as well to work with our kids," Facin said.
A bit of a cautious moment happened for the Panthers in the second half when starting point guard Lillian Hickey rolled her ankle. Hickey was quickly helped off the court and was treated with ice afterwards and the team hopes the injury is a just minor one.
The win moves Hoosick Falls to 11-8 to close out the regular season and the Panthers now await their Class C sectional seeding.
Adam Aucoin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.
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