Girls fall to Lions
Everything seemed to be going right for the Salisbury girls basketball team coming out of halftime.
The Lady Falcons sprinted out with a 15-4 run in the third quarter and brought Salisbury’s lead to 17 points, seemingly putting Moravian Academy out of reach.
But then the seesaw tipped in Moravian’s favor when Salisbury’s leading scorer, senior Sarah McGee, left the game midway in the third quarter due to injury. And the Lady Falcons (3-3 overall; 2-2 in Colonial League) couldn’t cover up her absence, as the Lions (3-4, 2-3) raced back to defeat the hosts on Friday night, 58-52.
“It seemed like we stopped playing,” head coach Joe Mladosich said. “Obviously losing Sarah is a big loss, but you still have to keep playing. I think they hit some shots and got into momentum, and we didn’t respond very well to them hitting shots at all.”
Prior to McGee leaving the game, she played a key role in the Lady Falcons’ 20-point third quarter. She hit back-to-back 3-pointers, both set up by Kelly Gardus, that pushed Salisbury’s lead to 33-21.
McGee’s shooting from beyond the arc forced the Lions to switch to a man-to-man defense. McGee, however, thrived in that as well. She took her defender off the dribble three straight times for field goals, the last a three-point play opportunity in which she injured an arm.
After Anna Bishop entered and hit the free throw for McGee, Salisbury’s lead grew to 40-23.
“We were down 9-2, and then I thought we controlled the whole game until she went out,” Mladosich said. “I thought Madison [Bettucio] did a pretty decent job [guarding Moravian’s Maya Ettle]. She played her pretty tough.
“I thought we played very well to build that lead, and we did a nice job both offensively and defensively. When you lose somebody, your best player, that’s what happens sometimes.”
Moravian steadily chipped away. Ettle scored six of her game-high 20 points in the third quarter to bring the Lions within 12 points. The Lions’ offense snowballed into the fourth quarter.
Caroline Spugnardi’s four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter helped the Lions take the lead midway through the final period, 48-45. The mix of Spugnardi’s shooting and the play from Ettle, along with the inside presence of Quinn O’Connor (seven points in the fourth quarter), made it tough for the Lady Falcons to keep up.
And to make things even more difficult, Bettuccio also left the game with an injury that made it tough to guard Moravian’s post presence.
“Obviously we were concentrating on not letting the ball get into [Ettle] as much,” Mladosich said. “We talked about it during the timeouts to make sure we play her [Spugnardi], and we didn’t do a good job adjusting to her.”
McGee led the Lady Falcons with 18 points, while Olivia Hoeing (10) and Kelby McNally combined for 19 off the bench.
Salisbury will take the court in its annual Holiday Tournament. The Lady Falcons face Oley Valley on Wednesday at 3 p.m. The championship and consolation games will be held the following day at 1 and 3 p.m.