Monday, March 10, 2014
FARMINGDALE — Madison sophomore Kayla Bess passed up an open shot early in Monday night’s game against Hall-Dale. Madison coach Al Veneziano told Bess twice not to do that.
Staff photo by Andy Molloy Madison Area Memorial High School's Tori Mclaughlin, right, blocks Hall-Dale High School's Thea Sweet during a basketball match up Monday in Farmingdale.
Staff photo by Andy Molloy Madison Area Memorial High School's Bronte Elias, right, grabs a rebound from Hall-Dale High Schools Eva Shepherd during a basketball match up Monday in Farmingdale.
Bess ended up taking 11 shots, and made six of them. She hit a momentum-swinging 3-pointer to end the first half, and finished as the game’s high scorer with 13 points as Madison held off Hall-Dale, 42-34, in Mountain Valley Conference girls basketball action.
“You want people to step up,” Madison coach Al Veneziano said. “Hopefully, at the end of the season, that all pays off for you. Kayla’s definitely a good shooter. She’s a good defensive player. She’s going to help us as the season goes along.”
“He’s really looking for us to shoot the ball a lot,” Bess said. “That’s what we’re trying to do, is just get as many shots as we can.”
Junior Bronte Elias had 12 points and 10 rebounds for Madison, but left the game with 2:31 to play in the fourth quarter after falling to the floor while running upcourt. Elias screamed in pain and grabbed her knee, and had to be carried off the court.
“I just saw her going for the pass and the knee twisting,” Veneziano said. “We’ve just got to get it checked out and see what’s going on. Hopefully it’s nothing, but we’ll wait and see for the MRI and the doctor’s visit.”
Hall-Dale shot only 25 percent from the floor (compared to 45 percent for Madison), but also never let Madison put the game away with a big run. Early on, Hall-Dale attacked the basket with drives by Dani Sweet (10 points) and Nicole Pelletier (12 points). Four of Hall-Dale’s first five baskets were layups, and the hosts led 12-11 after one quarter.
“They’ve got a couple quick guards there who really took us off balance a little bit,” Veneziano said.
“I feel good about this one,” Hall-Dale coach Brandon Terrill said. “We talked to the girls about playing fearlessly and playing aggressively against this good Madison team, and I thought we absolutely did that for all 32 minutes.”
Madison (4-1) often substituted five players at a time, and used an effective full-court press to build a 19-13 lead in the second quarter. Hall-Dale responded with a 7-0 run, capped by a 3-pointer from the right side by Molly French. Madison came right back, and ended the half on an 8-0 run when Bess freed herself on the right wing and swished a three at the buzzer for a 27-20 lead.
Hall-Dale (2-2) got as close as 34-30 in the third quarter, but Madison went into a stall with 6:28 to play and the visitors holding a 38-30 lead. Madison’s first possession with the stall lasted 1 minute and 38 seconds, and ended with Bess making a layup. Hall-Dale didn’t score again until the final minutes of the fourth quarter.
One odd note to the game was that 6-foot-1 Hall-Dale center Allison Crockett did not have a field goal attempt. Crockett tried to shoot only once, and she was fouled (which doesn’t count as an attempt unless the shot is good). Crockett finished with 13 rebounds and four steals.
“Ideally, we’d like to get her a little more involved,” Terrill said. “We’ve got to continue to work on ways to get her touches around the basket. But she does an incredible job of affecting the game without scoring. She’s unselfish. She doesn’t demand to score; she knows she can affect the game in other ways.”Matt DiFilippo — firstname.lastname@example.orgTwitter: @Matt_DiFilippo