Patriots pull away from Ketcham
Follow Section 1 girls basketball on Twitter @MSGVarsityKDJ
WAPPINGERS FALLS — When something dramatically changes at halftime of a sporting event, the first thought that comes to mind is that the coach said or did something different. John Jay-East Fishkill coach Larry Brooks made no such change on Friday night at Roy C. Ketcham.
With just a three-point lead at halftime, the Patriots upped their defensive intensity and held the Indians scoreless for the first 11:40 of the second half. The scoring drought allowed John Jay-EF to turn a tough rivalry game into a 64-31 runaway.
“It was really just the girls,” Brooks said. “At halftime they realized what Ketcham wanted to do against us and they took it upon themselves to play tougher defense.”
The tough defense by John Jay-EF resulted in eight steals in the third quarter alone, and forced Ketcham to shoot 0-for-6 from 3-point range in the second half after shooting 6-for-11 from beyond the arc in the tight first half.
“I give credit to Ketcham for their gameplan early in the game,” Brooks said. “They executed their offense well and we had no answer for it in the first half.”
John Jay-EF's answer came from some tough offensive rebounding by Brittany Gregory and Calli Balfour. Gregory finished with 11 points, seven rebounds, two blocks and three steals. It was Balfour came up with some backbreaking buckets early.
With just 30 seconds remaining in the first half, Ketcham closed a 10-point deficit to just four points. Balfour, however, grabbed a tough rebound with an easy putback to increase the lead back to 28-22.
In the third quarter, with Ketcham still in the game, Balfour skied for another rebound and put it back for an old-fashioned 3-point play. Ketcham took a 34-25 lead and never looked back. Balfour finished with a great all-around game including 16 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, and three steals.
“She’s a tremendous athlete and has worked hard all year on her 3-point shot,” Brooks said. “We have a lot of great players at John Jay-EF, but Calli is special.”
Brittney Gullo is another one of those players for the Patriots. Gullo finished with 16 points, five assists, and four steals.
Ketcham was led by guard Amanda Wall who scored 10 points including three 3-pointers. Ketcham only converted two 2-point field goals all game. The Indians were 6-for-16 from 3-point range, and 7-for -9 from the free throw line.
“Our defense has been our identity all year, we’re glad it showed up in that second half,” Brooks said. “Jay-Ketcham is always interesting, but if we play our brand of defense, we’re going to be okay.”
Email John Malone at firstname.lastname@example.org | Follow him on Twitter: @MSGV_Malone