New Hartford – Vernon-Verona-Sherrill’s girls basketball team entered Monday’s game at New Hartford as a decided underdog. The Red Devils were 1-4 and had lost to NH by seven points in their previous game. Making matters worse for Coach Keith Schiebel’s team was the absence of starter Kaitlyn Reader due to injury.
Well, VVS defied the odds by posting a 45-39 victory in the December 7 contest. Leading the way was Therese Pitman with 16 points while Sara Field added 10, Sierra Thieme had nine and Alexa Kiser had eight.
“At our place we zoned them and their top two players made nine threes,” Schiebel said. “We knew if we pressured them more (it’d help).”
And handling the pressure in the final 2:53 also proved key for the Red Devils (2-4) as they erased a one-point deficit with an 8-1 closing run.
“We were a lot more positive and our shots were falling,” Field said of the key to her team earning a split in the season series. “We kept our cool.”
Kiser grabbed an offensive rebound for a basket that gave VVS a 39-38 lead then Field did likewise with 1:01 to play to stretch the VVS lead to 41-38. Coach Mike Callan’s Spartans had chances in the next few seconds but the shots did not fall until Abby Buchholtz made the second of two foul shots to keep her team’s hopes alive with 15 seconds to play.
VVS was able to inbound the ball to Pitman who dribbled off six seconds before she was fouled. The senior made both her fouls shots to clinch the win and Kiser added a basket off a steal in the final seconds to cap the scoring.
“We were so slow in the first half,” Callan lamented afterward. “It was a poor game for us.”
But still a game the Spartans (2-1) could have won. The non-league contest was a defensive battle for much of the first quarter. Pitman hit a three to break a 4-4 tie midway then Kayleigh DePaul made a basket to stretch VVS’ lead to 9-4 before Taylor Torchia hit a three in the closing moments of the quarter.
The second quarter was similar, with both teams playing good defense and the score staying close until VVS closed with a 6-0 run for a 20-12 edge. Before that, NH had great success with inbounds plays featuring Buchholtz and Torchia and in the third quarter Michaela Scarafile had some strong plays to get her team even with the Red Devils. Scarafile’s best play was a 3-pointer as time expired in the quarter. It came after VVS failed to hold the ball for a last shot and a chance to stretch its lead to five or six points. Instead it wound up 26-26 going into the last quarter and it stayed even until VVS had the better of play in the final minutes.
Torchia led NH with 15 points and Buchholtz added 12.
VVS 9 11 6 19 – 45
NH 7 5 14 13 – 39
VVS (2-4): Kayleigh DePaul 2, Alexa Kiser 8, Sierra Thieme 9, Therese Pitman 16, Sara Field 10.
NH (2-1): Taylor Torchia 15, Abby Hall 3, Michaela Scarafile 7, Abby Buchholtz 12, Gianna Dischiavo 2.