Seeing their season slipping away, the Schalmont girls’ basketball team put its collectove head down and went to work Wednesday night.
The Lady Sabres took control with their pressing defense, and Hailee Metzold turned in her standard go-hard-to-the-basket game at the other end as fourth-seeded Schalmont beat Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk, 40-29, in a Section II Class B first-round game.
Up, 11-2, early in the second period, Schalmont saw its Colonial Council rival cut the lead to three (16-13) at the half, and pull ahead, 20-18, early in the third quarter on a Kim Hughes basket.
Then the Sabres used their speed, tenacity and conditioning to frustrate and wear out the Lady Indians, who would get only two more baskets the remainder of the game.
“Sometimes, we need that spark from the defense,” said Schalmont senior Ryanne Olsen. “We’ve got players who can put pressure on teams, and it really picked us up.”
“We had no energy in our half-court defense,” said Schalmont coach Jeff Van Hoesen, who opted to go to all-out pressure early in the third period. “We do have kids who will play defense.
“We have the biggest court in the league, and the girls played most of the second half with full-court pressure. It made a big difference.”
At one point, Ravena turned the ball over seven straight times,
The hounding turned a two-point deficit into a 33-22 lead after three quarters, and left an earlier 18-7 Ravena run in the rearview mirror. It also kept Ravena, which made 66 three-pointers coming into the game, from getting a single basket from beyond the arc.
“They were all ballhawks,” said Van Hoesen. “Everyone on the floor.”
More often than not, the turnovers led to Metzold getting the ball on the break. The junior slashed through the Ravena defense, either going to the basket or finding a teammate for an easy shot.
“When Hailee decides she’s going to the basket, she’s tough to defend,” said Van Hoesen. “She’s strong and athletic. And she also knows how to get the ball to her teammates.”
“If we play good defense, we can get offense from it,” said Metzold, who led all scorers with 15 points on three baskets and 9-for-14 free-throw shooting. “We used the pressure to get a lot of turnovers.”
Olsen felt her team was maybe a tad sluggish at the start, possibly due to playing during vacation week.
“We didn’t have a lot of energy at the beginning,” said the senior. “Maybe that was because we’re not in school this week.”
Schalmont, which gets a quarterfinal against Fonda-Fultonville, also got a boost from JV callup Alexis Horwedl, who hit a big three-pointer and did a lot of the dirty work under the basket.
“We scrimmaged Scotia, and she had a great scrimmage,” said Van Hoesen. “I thought off that that she deserved to play.”
Rebeor 2-1-5, Kross 3-3-9, Filkins 0-2-2, Cross 2-3-7, Wood 1-0-2, Hughes 2-0-4. Totals: 10-9-29.
Saccocio 2-2-6, Metzold 3-9-15, Olsen 3-1-9, Randle 2-0-5, Horwedl 2-0-5. Totals: 12-12-40.
Ravena 2 11 9 7 — 29
Schalmont 6 10 17 7— 40
Three-point goals: Olsen 2, Randle, Horwedl.