In a Finger Lakes East clash, the host Palmyra-Macedon Red Raiders overcame a slow start to defeat the Wayne Eagles, 62-44, on Friday, Jan. 10.
Pal-Mac led only 26-23 at the half.
In fact, the undefeated Red Raiders were trailing after the first quarter, 13-11, and only pulled ahead at the half on a last-second 3-pointer by freshman Abby Halsey. This came after a half of back-and-forth basketball where neither team was able to truly pull ahead for very long, with few sustained runs for either side.
Both coaches had their own takes on the first half.
“We started off a little slow offensively,” said Dave Gross, Palmyra-Macedon's head coach, “We were having trouble moving the ball around and getting good looks.”
Jessica Quick, the head coach of Wayne, credited her team's good early play.
“(The) first half was close. We were making more shots, playing great defense,” she said.
Wayne's offense in the first half was dominated by Shyana McLeod, as the 5'10'' junior scored 14 of the Eagles' 23 points. Palmyra-Macedon was led by Ashley Vanderwall, with 8.
The second half, however, belonged to Palmyra-Macedon, as they pulled ahead in the third quarter and ultimately turned the game into a rout in the fourth on the strength of Vanderwall, who scored 14 points in the final quarter.
“I got what I could take, what I could get, my rebounds ... and it helped,” said Vanderwall, a junior.
Gross, meanwhile, credited better defense for the second-half turnaround:
“(In the) second half, we started to pick up our defense a little bit, got some easy steals and transition points,” he said, “(and we were able to) get Ashley (Vanderwall) going a little better, open up the scoring.”
With the win, the Raiders go to 8-0 heading into their next game, at Mercy on Jan. 13 (too late for Wayne Post). The Eagles, meanwhile, fell to 4-5 with the loss.
Speaking of the Mercy game, Gross knows that the Raiders will have to avoid their early struggles:
“Mercy's going to be tough,” he said, “They've played some tough teams out of our area, so it's tough to really gauge.”
“We'll have to come out with a little better energy.”