By Drew Karpen
January 18, 2013 7:00 a.m. CAMBRIDGE SPRINGS —
The Maplewood girls basketball team likes to do everything together; on the court and off. Usually that’s a good thing. Sometimes it’s not.
Such was the case during Thursday’s Region 3 showdown against Cambridge Springs. Thanks to a mix of illness and injuries, the Lady Tigers had just three varsity players ready to go.
“I had two starters that were out,” Maplewood head coach Ben Mangus said. “I had a reserve that got injured so she couldn’t play. Two of the other players that I had were sick. I had players in the game that were vomiting before the game.”
So, Maplewood was already behind the 8 ball. And they had to take on a skilled Blue Devils crew. And Cambridge Springs (8-5, 3-3 Region 3) handled the ailing Tigers (3-9, 1-4) by the score of 46-25.
Still, the Tigers showed some grit during the first quarter. Their zone defense held Cambridge to just four points throughout most of the period.
Down 4-0, Jessa Covine got Maplewood on the board with her bank shot at 1:29 left in the quarter.
However, with 1.7 seconds left in the quarter, Cambridge’s Paige Wolfrom got fouled, earning herself a trip to the free-throw line. Wolfrom knocked down both attempts to give the Lady Blue Devils a 6-2 edge.
The Tigers then scored the first two points of the second quarter, but it was all Cambridge after that. The Lady Devils outscored the Tigers 18-3 in the frame, including a 12-0 run at the beginning of the quarter.
The Spa’s freshman point guard Taylor Babb highlighted the run with two 3-pointers and a breakaway layup. Babb scored all eight of her points during the run.
“She is coming along,” Cambridge Springs head coach Rick Grubbs said about Babb. “It’s always good when you are struggling down low to have someone come out and hit a couple 3s to get you jump started.”
The fun for Cambridge continued to the end of the half when senior Renee Dalbec rebounded a miss by Brianna Babb and laid it in right before the buzzer.
Maplewood came out of the half with more energy and enthusiasm, but unfortunately the damage was already done.
The Tigers were neck-and-neck with the Lady Blue Devils in the second half, getting outscored 22-20.
What started as a frustrating first half for the Cambridge bigs, turned into a productive second half as Wolfrom and Zilhaver were able to break the zone defense at a more effectively.
“We were a little frustrated going into halftime,” Wolfrom said. “We came out in the second half and we worked through the frustration a little bit. We figured out what we needed to do. We were forcing the ball to a bunch of girls.”
Even with the victory, Grubbs still saw a few kinks in his team that need to be fixed moving forward. “We have to take care of the ball better then we have,” he said. “A lot of it is inexperience but the more we play the better they will get at it.”
On the other side of the spectrum, Mangus couldn’t have been more proud of his team’s effort.
“I am extremely happy with the way we played,” Mangus said. “I came into this game not knowing what to expect with everything we had going on. If we had our whole team tonight who knows what could of happened.”
Wolfrom led the Lady Blue Devils with 11 points, including a perfect 3 of 3 from the free-throw line. Zilhaver added 10 points in the win.
For Maplewood, Kaylee Krepps led the way with five points. Molly Bernoski, Elizabeth Miller, Laurel Smith and Emily Merritt each tallied four points.