Braves achieve milestone in WAC girls’ basketball

Fonda-Fultonville defeats Galway for its 50th straight WAC Northern Division girls' basketball victo

Fonda-Fultonville took the court Friday night in relative quiet — it took a few minutes before their warm-up music began playing over the gym’s speakers.

It took a little while for the Lady Braves to find their game, too.

But in the end, Fonda beat Galway, 43-29, giving the Braves their 50th consecutive victory in Western Athletic Conference North Division competition, dating back to the 2003-04 season. Fonda improved to 9-0 in the division this season, 12-3 overall.

“It’s a great feeling,” said senior guard Molly Sullivan, who began playing varsity basketball as a soph­omore. “As far as girls’ sports go, this is probably our best sport. It’s just a huge part of our trad­ition. We work really, really hard, and it’s just something we’re proud of.”

Galway made the Braves work for it, though.

After trailing by nine points, 22-13, at halftime, the Golden Eagles went on a 9-1 run to close the gap to two points with 1:52 remaining in the third quarter. Irena Longworth intercepted a pass above the top of the key, and with a defender trailing her, pulled up for a short jumper along the right post to bring Galway to within 23-21.

Though the Golden Eagles couldn’t tie it, they kept Fonda scoreless from the field for a little bit longer. The Braves did not score a field goal in the third quarter until Amy Hitchcock hit a bucket off an inbound pass from Britteny Lasky with less than one second remaining. That gave the Braves a 25-21 lead.

The Braves built that to 32-24 on Sullivan’s fast break layup with 4:37 to go. Though Galway got to within 32-28 with 3:10 to go on Longworth’s slash to the hoop from the left wing, the Lady Braves pulled away for the victory.

Paula Egelston, a sophomore, led Fonda with 12 points, eight in the first half. Alyssa Nowak scored 10 points off the bench.

“It’s been pretty fun,” said coach Wendi (Schoff) Waters. “The kids on the team now have a sense of pride. They look up and see all the league titles. They know what we’ve done here. And they know that every team that we play in the league is looking to knock us off and be the team that beat us.”

Longworth scored 10 points to lead Galway, which fell to 4-11 overall (3-6 division). Coach Deb Wilday was pleased her team improved since falling to the Lady Braves last month, 52-27.

“We’ve been working really hard in practice,” said Wilday, who lost seven seniors to graduation after last season. “The first time we played them, we were a little bit intimidated. But we’ve settled down and started to work together.”

Fonda started out slowly, taking its first lead at 5-4 four minutes into the game. From there Galway tied it twice in the first quarter, at

6-6 and 8-8, before Nowak hit two foul shots and Egelston hit an inside bucket for a 12-8 lead.

“Our shots were really off today,” Sullivan said. “We haven’t had a game in a week, so I think that was most of it.”

“I’m still waiting for my team to put four good quarters together,” Waters said. “It’s harder to beat a team the second time around. So we’re facing all these teams who know what we do — we press, we run — they know who are scorers are. . . . That’s my biggest problem: I feel like we’re turning it off and on. When we have to, it’s there.”

“They historically have a great program,” Wilday said. “Whenever you play Fonda and you do as well as we did today and stick with them … I think today is a big step in saying, ‘Hey, you know what? We’re coming.’ ”

Still, Waters was pleased her players hit their foul shots in the final 90 seconds — going 5-for-8 — to extend the Brave’s streak.

“I’ve been lucky,” said Waters, in her 10th year at Fonda. “I’ve had good kids. I’ve had a lot of kids that really love basketball. They’re hard workers most of the time. And they buy into what I tell them. And it’s a sense of pride in not wanting to be the team that loses that record. It’s a nice little run.”

GALWAY

Sickler 3-0-6, Schelling 0-0-0, Jones 3-0-6, Cruden 0-0-0, Longworth 3-3-10, Nicols 2-0-4, Ostrander 1-0-3. Totals: 12-3-29.

FONDA-FULTONVILLE

Hitchcock 3-2-8, H. Hanson 0-0-0, Egelston 4-4-12, Baker 1-0-2, Sullivan 3-1-7, Nellis 1-0-2, Lasky 1-0-2, Nowak 2-6-10. Totals: 15-13-43.

Galway  8  5  8  8 — 29

Fonda-Fultonville 12 10  3 18 — 43

Three-point goals: Longworth, Ostrander.

Categories: Sports

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