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Lady Spartans defense charges comeback over Lady Titans

December 1, 2018 12:00 am

CRARYVILLE — When the offense is not clicking on a certain night, a team may have to turn to their defense to help pull out the win and that's what the Greenville Lady Spartans did Friday night. Greenville used their defense to battle back from multiple early deficits to capture a 36-33 road victory over Taconic Hills in Patroon Conference basketball action.

Coach Steve Gipprich has at his disposal various tenacious defenders that can either use their speed to close out or make a steal, or their length to deflect passes and cause turnovers, which on this night, was the key to the Lady Spartans success, and something the first-year coach harps on to his players in practice.

"Our goal is 20 turnovers [a night], I call it my black mark and 20 turnovers is where we are looking and in the last game we had 26 deflections and I don't know what we had this game, but honestly, if we can get in the passing lanes and play great defense, we can get points," Gipprich said. "We have to work a little bit better on our transition points, but when my girls get on the ground for loose balls it's encouraging to see."

The Lady Spartans finished the night achieving Gipprich's goal of 20 turnovers forced, they finished the game forcing over 20, however, the night did not start well for the now 2-0 Greenville Lady Spartans.

After sophomore guard opened the scoring on the night with a jumpshot from the baseline to give Greenville a 2-0 lead, the Lady Titans went on an 8-0 run to take an 8-2 lead. Taconic Hills offense was clicking behind guard Marleah Perry, who buried a 3-pointer and scored seven of the eight points, while Greenville struggled to run their offense efficiently, leading to poor shot selections or turnovers.

The Lady Titans went up 12-4 after an Emily Mottoshiski lay up, however, with 3:10 left Coach Bob Bailly took a timeout and it benefited Gipprich and the Lady Spartans who came out of the break, forced four straight Taconic Hills turnovers and were able to close the deficit to three to end the first quarter after Trostle buried a corner 3-pointer.

Down 12-9, the Lady Spartans continued to force turnovers with Trostle and Tess Fitzmaurice buzzing around making the Lady Titans guards force passes and get into trouble. However, Greenville could only come away with two points off turnovers early in the quarter to make it a 12-11 game.

After all of the turnovers, Taconic Hills was finally able to get on the board with a Chandler Hoose wide-open 3-pointer from the corner to make it 15-11 with 3:03 left in the quarter. The basket marked the first field goal for Taconic Hills since 3:45 left in the first quarter.

The Hoose 3-pointer sparked a Titans 8-2 run to close the quarter and hold a 20-13 lead heading into halftime.

Greenville may have ended the half on a sour note having dominated the better half of the second quarter, before Taconic Hills was able to out execute them offensively late to take a seven-point lead into the break, but they came out and started hot in the third quarter.

Gipprich's unit came out and utilized their defense and forcing turnovers to jumpstart their stagnant offense and they opened the third on an 8-0 capped off by a Fitzmaurice steal and layup to give Greenville their first lead of the game since Trostle's opening layup in the first quarter.

Now trailing 21-20, the Titans quickly rebounded thanks to the Perry, who knocked down the team's first field goal of the quarter with 3:09 remaining to put Taconic Hills back up, 22-21. Perry was later able to extend the lead to 25-21 with 1:21 left after burying two free throw attempts, after Greenville guard Mackenzie Kennedy was assessed a technical foul for slamming the ball on the court after a battle for a loose ball.

However, Greenville kept battling and guard Alexis Caprio came off the bench and completed a three-point play after making a contested layup, this cut the deficit to 25-24 and Meghan Misuraca was able to give them the lead with a pair of free-throws, making it 26-25 with 34.2 remaining.

Taconic Hills was able to close the quarter on a high note when the sophomore center Mottoshiski was followed going into the lane, but made the layup and completed the three-point play at the free throw line, putting the Lady Titans up 28-26 heading into the fourth quarter.

The Lady Spartans opened the fourth strong, led by Trostle and Misuraca, who scored off layups to make it a 30-28 game, but Morgan Hoose came back with a layup of her own to tie the game at 30 apiece.

With 2:28 left in the game, Misurca gave Greenville the lead with a mid-range jumper, making it 32-30. The Lady Titans were able to make it 32-31 with 1:37 remaining after Emma Leipman converted one of her two free throw attempts.

After a Greenville turnover with 31.1 ticks remaining, Taconic Hills had a chance to take the lead, however, they committed another turnover, with Misuraca coming up with the steal with 24.8 left. 

In the penalty, Misuraca was fouled and missed both attempts keeping it at 32-31, however, on the ensuing Lady Titans possession she came up with another steal and dished it off to Trostle who was then fouled and knocked down both attempts to make it a 34-31 game.

The Lady Titans continued to fight and Morgan Hoose dribbled down the court and knocked down a baseline floater to make it 34-33. Once again, Trostle was fouled and connected on her free throw attempts to make it 36-33.

With one last chance to tie the game with 8.0 ticks left, Morgan Hoose brought the ball up the court to the wing and dished it off to the team's most proficient three-point shooter in Perry, who took an attempt from the top of the key, but it was blocked and Greenville was able to grab the rebound and secure the 36-33 victory.

"We have some core standards that we started off in the beginning of the year and we weren't hitting those core standards in the first half in terms of communication, enthusiasm, great defense, earn the victory, and no excuses and we weren't hitting a lot of those things and really I didn't challenge the girls, I just put it on spot that we weren't hitting it," Gipprich said, talking about his team's fight to get the comeback win. "Quite honestly, it was really awesome and really cool to see how the girls rose up to those standards."

Once again, Trostle was the key to the offense on the evening, scoring a game-high 18 points in the win. Misuraca was also key, not only defensively and grabbing boards, but she supplied 11 points.

For Taconic Hills, Perry led the way with 11 points and Mottoshiski and Chandler and Morgan Hoose each added six.

Greenville improves to 2-0 while Taconic Hills falls to 1-1.