East’s freshman girls’ basketball B-team faced off against Newark Community High School in a home game on Saturday, December 11th, losing the game by a final score of 63-9 and bringing their overall record to seven wins, three losses.
Freshman Allie Gatz said she could feel the pressure coming before the game began, but she was still ready.
“I always feel a little bit nervous before the game, just because I don’t know who I’m playing against,” Gatz said.
Both teams rushed into the game in the first few seconds, but Newark insisted on showing East how it’s done, finishing two layups in the first 30 seconds. Despite jumping out to an early lead, Newark kept their composure and played aggressive and controlling defense against the Wolves.
After an early timeout, East regained the headstrong energy expected of a home game but couldn’t break Newark down enough to score.
By the end of the first quarter, East stood with one point. Newark had 17.
Freshman Mae Robinson said she was still ready to power through regardless of opposition.
“Usually, I’m not too nervous during the game,” Robinson said. “Whatever happens during the game, we’ll find a way to adapt to it and play through it.”
Freshman Layla Martin said she was disappointed with the lack of opportunities for points during the first quarter.
“I wanted to take a lot more shots than I was able to during the game,” Martin said.
And as the second quarter began, so did East’s second attempt to crack Newark’s defense, and this time, it worked. The Wolves were able to hit their first jump shot of the game, but lacked consistency in shooting thereafter. Newark’s defense learned from the success East’s girls were finding against them quickly, and reacted accordingly, only allowing East one more bucket for the first half of the quarter.
Head Coach Gerard Vergara said that there were certain things the team was doing wrong that allowed Newark to extend their lead.
“Our passes are weak,” Vergara said. “That’s why we gave so many turnovers.”
With a score a sixth of the opposing team’s, East began with the ball after the timeout and regained their composure. 30 seconds passed and freshman Skylar DiCharia took her shot, scoring again. She ignited a fire in the hearts of the audience and the players, even though there was still a 23-point lead to fight through.
Unfortunately, though, that fire came down soon after.
Newark took possession and didn’t allow another shot for the rest of the second quarter, bringing home nine points of their own and reaching halftime with a score of 7-39. Their demeanor was as calm as it was when they began the game, but East was more determined, all involved in finding the answer to winning back the game.
Coach Vergara, going into the game, indicated that the team would be competitive against Newark.
“Our morale is really good. Our team is great. We’re feeling great. We’re going 7-2 right now, seven wins and two losses,” Vergara said. “On Thursday, we played Oswego High, and our B team was able to compete with their A team.”
Newark was able to continue regaining possession with turnover after turnover, and were significantly more efficient in ensuring their openings resulted in buckets. East failed to keep up, ending the third quarter with a score of 7-59.
“I was feeling kind of defeated, just because their score was a lot above us,” freshman Mae Robinson said.
Coach Vergara said he was determined to keep everyone composed and ready to continue the fight into the fourth quarter, even if a loss seemed to be impending, but Newark was equally determined to keep East down.
“Even when we lose, we still feel like we’re winning,” Vergara said. “That’s what’s important.”
With the fourth quarter came Newark’s first foul all game, generously offering East a chance to bring back some speed. Disappointingly, the pressure pushed the free throws into Newark’s hands again.
The weight was on East to at least prevent Newark from extending their lead.
Four minutes pass. A single shot made it through the Wolves’ defense. Newark was struggling.
But some things still didn’t change. East had the same problem as before with cracking into Newark, but the Wolves were intent on finding their first points since before halftime.
So they did, with two minutes left in the quarter.
Newark, however, found a chance to begin biting the Wolves back during their aggression. They managed two more buckets in the final minutes. East was able to deal less turnovers, but Newark’s lead allowed them to get comfortable and relax in defense until the end of the game.
East’s girls were still heated afterwards, ready to bring back their win streak and improve their record for the next game and focused on their improvements. Robinson noted that there were definitely certain things that her team needed to work on.
“We need to work on taking a lot more shots and ensuring we guard the basket more than we guard our person,” Robinson said.
Gatz said she was proud of herself and her teammates even after losing by 54 points.
“Even if we’re losing, we still want to fight for that last minute, that last second of the game,” Gatz said. “We were playing for our team, we were doing really well. Even though we lost, we were putting ourselves out there and doing really good as a team.”
The girls’ B-team plays again at William Fremd High School on Saturday, December 18th, and they look forward to showing what they’re capable of with the lessons they’ve learned from Newark.
Nepeta Porter is a staff writer for Oswego East High School’s online news magazine the Howl