MANLIUS — The Bureau Valley girls’ basketball team will use Thursday’s 40-36 loss at home to Erie as a learning experience.
It was a tale of two halves as the Storm dominated play in the first half, but their offense sputtered in the second when Erie changed to a full-court press.
The result was a 24-12 halftime lead being cut down to five points by the end of the third period. Erie then sank 11 free-throws in the final quarter to rally for the Three-Rivers Conference win.
“There is a bitter feeling in the locker-room right now but it’s a good thing to have that feeling,” BV coach Tiffany Gonigam said. “I know one thing we talked about as a goal this year was being able to compete in games and that was the most competitive game we’ve had so far. The girls want more now. We are going to learn how to win. We need to learn how to handle the pressure a little bit.”
BV (4-4, 0-2), which has typically been slow starters this season, jumped out to a 13-4 first quarter lead behind 7 points from Helena Osk Arnadottir and a zone defense that forced the Lady Cardinals into nine turnovers.
The Storm continued their solid play in the second quarter as they did not allow a field goal in the final 5:48 of the half and extended their lead to 24-10 with 1:19 remaining following a bank shot by Shannon Reuter and three-point play by Darcy Kepner, when she was fouled driving to the hoop.
“(BV) played a great first half and took us out of our element,” Erie coach Brian Howell said. “We just had to get refocused at halftime and realize we had to play our game and pick up the pace.”
Erie’s response in the third quarter proved to be the difference in the game. The Lady Cardinals went on a 10-0 run midway through the period to cut the Storm lead down to 26-22. To make matters worse for BV, Arnadottir and starting center Nicole Bornsheuer both were forced to the bench with four fouls each.
“We came out in the third quarter and I felt like when the going got tough, we started to shut down,” Gonigam said. “We’ve got to learn how it felt to play in that first half and when teams start to pressure us more we continue to play like that.”
Erie carried their momentum into the fourth quarter and took their first lead of the game with 5:02 remaining after Courtney Cobert hit two free-throws to make it 29-28.
The Storm would regain the lead one more time following back-to-back hoops from Heaven Bennett and Bornsheuer, but Erie had one more run in it.
A baseline jumper by Cobert, a putback from Bryce McCormick and two free throws from Cobert put the Lady Cardinals up for good with 1:22 left. The Storm had one last shot to tie or take the lead but a steal and two more free-throws by Cobert secured the win.
Arnadottir led BV with 10 points. Kepner added nine points and a game-high 10 rebounds.