After beating Hackley 58-45 on December 6, in the first game of their season, Rye High hosted Albertus Magnus in their December 11 home opener.
By Melanie Cane
After beating Hackley 58-45 on December 6, in the first game of their season, Rye High hosted Albertus Magnus in their December 11 home opener. Having lost to the Falcons, one of the top teams, in the Sectional semifinals last season, the Garnets had a plan: defense, defense, and more defense. Junior Captain Maddie Eck said, “We wanted to shut down their top scorers and prevent them from taking three point shots. They score a lot of their points from outside shots, so we were concentrating on shutting down their shooters.” The Garnets’ offensive strategy was to run their offensive sets and drive to the basket to draw fouls.
In the first half of the game, Rye was right on track with their defensive and offensive plan. Throughout the half, they either had a small lead, were tied, or were down by one. At halftime, the Garnets led 29-24 and had only given up six fouls, but had drawn 10. They had also out-rebounded Magnus.
The Garnets continued to execute their strategy in the second half, but the Falcons changed their defense to a triangle 2 with a one to one on top scorers Eck and Katie Popp. This defensive maneuver gave Rye trouble, which resulted in a low shooting percentage. Still, Rye maintained a lead through the third quarter and went into the fourth with a tenuous 35-34 advantage.
The Falcons pulled ahead in the last four minutes of the game and despite the Garnets playing their hearts out, Magnus beat them in the final minutes, 48-41.
Popp, the MVP of the Hackley Tournament, led with 19 points, and scored a perfect six for six at the foul line. Eck contributed 12 points.
Coach Dennis Hurlie was extremely proud of the girls. “As a team we were outstanding on defense. Magnus is not an easy guard and our girls worked hard and played so well on the defensive end. We do need to continue to improve every day and we will. We will learn from each game — win or lose — and make any and all adjustments and improvements. That effort and approach will serve us well.”
Eck added, “We played great defense and held their best player, who scored 25 points against us last year, to 9 points.”
The day after Christmas, the Garnets play at The County Center.