The girls’ varsity basketball team narrowly added a victory to their conference season record as they defeated the Yorkville Foxes 50-46.
After a disappointing 29-50 loss against Nazareth Academy on Monday, the Wolves needed to refocus before going into their next conference match, and one upperclassmen on the team – junior safeguard Caley Layman – laid out a plan of action before the game to remain calm under the potential pressures of the match.
“Going into the game tonight I know it’s really important that we focus and really communicate,” Layman said. “Since we didn’t play that well against Nazareth, we really want to win today and play our best … we need to talk in that court more and just focus on our fundamentals.”
Layman’s mindset carried through as the team prepared to face the 1-7 Yorkville Foxes.
The Wolves began the game and were quick to show their aggressive side, fouling within the first seconds of the game, allowing the Foxes to gain some early momentum. Slow to find their start, the Wolves gained traction following a three-point shot by senior Maddie Stockley.
“We just needed to push the ball and play collectively. We really needed a strong start,” Stockley said.
The three points put up by Stockley were quickly made back by Yorkville, creating a close first quarter, despite senior players from East showing out early, like senior Katie Jorgensen who put up four points. Even with the back and forth between the teams, the Wolves were unable to keep up with their opponents and were forced to call an early timeout.
Following the time out, junior Riley Dogget ended the scoring drought deep into the first quarter with a layup, bringing the Foxes’ lead down to only four points. While the Wolves struggled to put up any points, Yorkville’s defense prevailed early on and didn’t let up, leaving East down at the end of the first quarter, 9-15.
“I think we just weren’t focused,” Doggett said. “We started slow and we needed to up the pace.”
Late into the second, the Wolves found themselves down six points, not able to establish a strong offense, falling short to the lady Foxes, who were able to score on almost every attempt, and turnover possession quickly.
With a basket from senior Cydnei Mitchell putting the game within three for the Wolves, a newfound stride was evident within the Wolves’ play.
With this momentum, Dogget was able to make a three-point shot and tie the game at 24-24, where the score remained at the half.
“We needed to play with more aggression and match their defense,” Stockley said.
Stockley herself came back strong with her senior skill and power, kickstarting the third quarter with a three-point shot to give the Wolves their first lead of the game.
The aggression of the game continued with both teams putting up back-to-back fouls. The opportunities for free throws on both sides of the court led to a tied match at 28-28.
Although the Wolves fell behind by four going into the fourth quarter, senior point guard Katie Jorgensen quickly put the Wolves into a fight for the lead by scoring another three-pointer. The back and forth between the two teams continued as the Wolves still fell behind by one point even after another shot from senior Cami Phillips and a basket by Stockley.
“We started to switch up and look for better shots,” Stockley said. “Once more of us did that, it worked.”
With free throw opportunities, Phillips was able to score off of both her shots and give the Wolves a one-point lead, which was then immediately taken away with a three-point shot by Yorkville. With back-to-back shots from both teams, the game was tied, putting the Wolves neck and neck at 39-39 midway into the final quarter of the game.
After a three-pointer by Stockley, the Wolves were able to put themselves at a four-point advantage in the tail-end of the game. Despite a rebound from fellow senior Angela Ruiz, the Foxes still managed to bring the game to a one-point differential.
“We talked through those struggles we faced early on,” Ruiz said. “It got tough and we needed to execute and we practiced for that.”
Despite the deficit the team faced early on in the game, Doggett was able to secure a three-point lead by making both of her free throw shots, and with that the Wolves were able to finish the game, winning with a final score of 50-46, bringing their conference record to 2-1.
Reflecting on the intense match, Head Coach Abe Carretto said he was proud of the Wolves’ victory.
“I’m really glad they were able to push through,” Carretto said. “It was definitely a tough start but we had our upperclassmen pull through and help us get a win.”
The varsity girls will play against crosstown rivals Oswego on Friday.
Savina Trujillo is a staff writer for Oswego East High School’s online news magazine the Howl