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Fonda girls' basketball uses defense to prevail

Fonda girls' basketball uses defense to prevail

Braves stymie Bishop Gibbons 52-28
Fonda girls' basketball uses defense to prevail
Fonda-Fultonville sophomore Lyndsay Lombardoni drives for the basket Tuesday night.
Photographer: Peter Barber

FONDA — The basketball adage says you can have an off night at the offensive end and still win if the defense is there.

The Fonda-Fultonville girls had one of those nights Tuesday.

With 15 steals and nine blocked shots among the more significant stats, the Braves pinned down Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons 52-28 and remained the Western Athletic Conference's only unbeaten Hudson Division team.

"I really wanted effort," Fonda-Fultonville coach Flip Boshart said. "The first couple of minutes, we were lackadaisical. About three minutes in, we flipped the script and girls responded."

Bishop Gibbons scored first when junior Ryenne Relyea dropped in a layup, and Fonda-Fultonville didn't give up another point in the opening quarter in building an 11-2 lead. By the half, it was 24-10.

Boshart could sense early on it wasn't going to be one of those 70-point outings for his squad that is ranked No. 24 in the state at the Class B level.

"We're a 3-point shooting team. Sometimes you hit four, and sometimes you hit 12. I wanted to make sure we were defending," Boshart said. "Getting after it at the defensive end."

Bishop Gibbons (4-4 WAC, 9-6 overall) battled Fonda-Fultonville (10-0, 14-2) without starting point guard  Ava Megyeri, who recently sustained a season-ending knee injury. Megyeri was a key figure on last season's team that made a run the state Class D final four, and its lone senior starter this season.

"Ava being out changes their dynamic a ton," Boshart said.

"Not having her, we lose our calmness and an important part of our defense," Bishop Gibbons coach Pat Moran said. "Our girls will keep fighting."

The Golden Knights fought hard Tuesday, but were hurt by their own miscues and those forced by the aggressive Braves.

"If we scored half of those layups and didn't turn it over, we're right there," Moran said of the first half. "Our first-half defense was pretty good. We showed them something different."

Fonda-Fultonville pulled away in the third quarter, using a closing 10-4 spurt to go up 41-21. Lyndsay Lombardoni scored eight of her 13 points in that run, and the sophomore guard also paced the Braves with five of their 15 steals to go with nine rebounds.

Marilyn Whitcavitch was another defensive standout with six of her team's nine blocked shots, and the sophomore forward also snared a game-high 11 rebounds.

"Whitcavitch played great defense," Boshart said. "Lyndsay played great offense and defense."

Senior guard Abby Lombardoni matched her younger sister with 13 points, and sophomore guard Kyla Smith contributed 10 points including a layup and a 3-pointer to begin the second half.

Junior guard Ayanna Jackson had nine points and thee steals for Bishop Gibbons. Relyea and Saige Randolph both added eight points, with Randolph, a sophomore, adding seven rebounds. Juliana Tortello had four steals coming off the bench.

"Our strength of schedule is up there," Moran said. "We've played a lot of [state] ranked teams. I hope it helps come playoff time."

Bishop Gibbons 2 8 11 7 — 28

Fonda 11 13 17 11 — 52

Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons scoring: Jackson 3-2-9, Van Auken 0-1-1, Randolph 2-4-8, Corbin 0-2-2, Relyea 3-2-8. Fonda-Fultonville  scoring: L. Lombardoni 6-0-13, Smith 4-1-10, Atty 2-0-4, Cusack 3-0-8, Whitcavitch 0-2-2, A. Lombardoni 4-2-13, McSpirit 1-0-2. Scoring totals: Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons 8-11-28, Fonda-Fultonville 20-5-52.

Reach Jim Schiltz at 518-395-3143, [email protected] or @jim_schiltz on Twitter.

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