Injuries not helping girls playoff hopes
As the basketball season winds down, the Whitehall girls basketball team will have to overcome some recent adversity in their quest to make the playoffs.
They lost another player to an injury as Taryn Sayre was recently sidelined. This follows in the footsteps of losing Olivia George who was injured in their game against Hazleton. Both players will be further evaluated and a firm timetable for their return is still not certain.
They had the task of playing short-handed against Nazareth last Saturday evening. They were coming off consecutive wins, defeating Liberty and East Stroudsburg South. A division game is always tough, and the Zephyrs would have to do it without two of their rotation players.
They got off to a good start, taking a 7-4 lead after the first quarter. They held onto that lead after two periods, leading 9-8 heading into halftime.
The first half was marked by some strong defensive play by Ariana Hines who did a good job on the boards despite the presence of Tayla Brugler and Jaime Youngkin, Nazareth’s two blue towers. Hines was also coming up with a number of steals inside. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to capitalize on those turnovers and held onto that slim lead heading into the intermission.
But when the third began, Nazareth began to pull away, beginning with Brugler’s three to take the lead. Amy Morgan also got hot from long range as the Blue Eagles cushion grew to double digits, eventually winning by 10, 35-25.
The loss drops the Zephs to 7-10, but they remain in the playoff hunt with five games remaining.
With the statuses of their injured players in limbo, Repsher said that they’ll play the way they are currently constructed and felt that his team was very competitive against Nazareth.
“I was really proud of the kids today,” said Repsher.
Other players had to assume those minutes, and a large chunk has fallen into Katie Kelly’s lap. She did a good job bringing the ball up the court in the face of pressure. Repsher said that the problem was that they got bogged down in their offense, often times dribbling too much which played into the hands of the scrappy Blue Eagle defenders.
In losing two outside shooters, their substation rotation has been affected. Repsher said that it’s forced them to move Alix Buskirk outside because they can’t afford to have her inside any longer.
“It just disrupts everything,” he said.
He said that extending more minutes to other players will benefit them, an opportunity to get more people involved
Still, they maintained the lead heading into the half. Buskirk, who can get to the basket as well as anyone in the league, hit from both inside and out, finished with 10 points.
The Zephs tried to claw their way back into the game in the fourth quarter, but Nazareth’s 17-6 run in that pivotal third quarter was too much to overcome.
It wasn’t the tandem of Youngkin and Brugler that made the difference as Hines and Clary held their own on the glass; instead, they began to hit from the perimeter as Morgan and Katie Krege (8 points) began to heat up from the floor.
Repsher said that Hines has been more aggressive and it’s reflected in her strong defensive play. She can hit the open shot as well, finishing the game with five points.
Repsher said that if they give the same kind of effort that they did against Nazareth, they’ll be OK.
“If we play with that kind of heart, and we play with that kind of togetherness, then we’ve done something the rest of the way,” said Repsher.