Comets eclipse Bay as SWC champions
By Zachary Dzurick
Published Feb. 9, 2005
Audra Mihalic battles Bay’s Paris Pugliese. Both scored 18 points
in the game.(Photo by Larry Bennet)
For Bay to have
a chance to repeat as SWC co-champions in basketball, the Lady Rockets
needed to hold serve at home Monday against league leader Amherst.
matched the intensity of the Comets for most of the game but in
the second half, the Comets built a lead then forced Bay to play
more their style. The Comets took a six-point lead after the third
quarter and Bay could never get closer than five the rest of the
fourth. It had appeared with 1:35 left, Bay would cut it to four
as junior Paris Pugliese stole the ball and went in for a layup,
but 5'7 Amherst reserve guard Maddie Sofia blocked the shot. Then
the Comets made just enough free throws to hold the Rockets off
and finally win 60-53.
Without a single
senior on their roster, Amherst, 17-2 overall, won the SWC title.
The Comets shook off an early season loss at North Olmsted to win
their last 10 conference games to finish 13-1. It was Amherst's
first conference title since 1991-92.
"It was a tough
game and we won that is all matters," reigning conference MVP Audra
Mihalic said. "It was fun. The whole team wanted it bad. We hadn't
won in so long that we didn't want to share."
For most of
the first quarter, the two team traded baskets. Amherst controlled
the boards behind Rocky River transfer Sasha Samara and most of
their early points came directly from offensive rebounds.
up big in the first half and kept us in the game with the stick
backs," Amherst coach John Rositano said. "I thought she controlled
the boards in the first half."
The early stage
of the game was fast- paced and very clean. The game's first turnover
did not occur until nearly half- way through the first. Quickly
however, the pace and the strong defense of both teams started to
force each other to turnover the ball.
Bay built a
six point second quarter lead behind senior Jessica Lauerhass and
junior Paris Pugliese. However Pugliese went to the bench in the
final moments of the half and Amherst closed the quarter on a 6-0
to tie the game at 28.
Audra Mihalic was the 2003-2004 conference MVP. She was held to
just two points for the game's first 14 minutes but finished with
18. She also controlled the pace of the game in the second half
and made 10 of 12 free throws in the second half. Samara had a game-high
that win did not come easy.
very well," Rositano said. "It took a tremendous effort on our part
to come in here and get a win."
The key for
Amherst was getting the lead.
"The key to
the game was the third quarter," Rositano said. "I think we are
quicker than they are and if we could bring them out of that zone
they were playing that was causing us problems. We did get them
to come out after us when we got the lead and we got to the line.
Once we got the lead, we forced them to play our game."
Bay coach Chris
Brewer was disappointed but gave credit to Amherst.
"They got us
tonight," brewer said. "Amherst did a great job. They deserved it."
Bay found success
early in the lane with Pugliese, but in the second half those opportunities
came harder and harder to come by.
defense was brutal," Brewer said. "We had a hard time getting the
ball inside. We lost our composure a little and quit doing what
we wanted to do. When you can't get the ball inside."
Bay with 18 points. Lauerhass finished with 13. Junior Sarah Kazanas
also had 13.