Varsity Girls Basketball loses to Newark Memorial, 42-61
American’s Varsity Girls Basketball team lost its home game against Newark Memorial High School on Friday, January 8, 2016, with a final score of 42-61. After fighting with speed and energy in the first half, American grew messy and unfocused, letting the gap slip to nearly twenty points by the end of the game.
Both teams started out playing with huge energy. Players rushed back and forth across the court, blocking shots and passes with lightning speed. Megan Kalning (11) scored the first basket a minute and a half into the first quarter; Newark scored its first basket fifteen seconds later. Around the end of the first quarter, American shot two three-pointers and Newark made one to bring the score to 12-9, in American’s favor.
“[The] beginning was amazing,” co-captain Shreya Joshi (12) said. “We did everything right, we were running everything right, [and] intensity was high.”
However, Newark caught up to American a minute into the second quarter and started to pull ahead. Newark’s Haylee Nelson (10), began to score a casual slew of three-pointers. American kept pace, but fell into a small gap in scores by the end of the second quarter, with Newark leading by four points.
In the third quarter, American quickly scored two three-pointers, followed by two shots by Newark. The teams began scoring back-and-forth in small bursts of two to six points at a time, American never quite catching up to Newark. Newark totaled higher than American in the end of the third quarter, bringing the game to a 35-45 score.
“As we came to the end it got slower, and we didn’t rebound as much, and that killed us,” Joshi said. “The subs weren’t going in, so that tired us out more.”
The fourth quarter grew more frantic than the previous three, with more incomplete passes and slips. Newark grew farther ahead in points and began taking longer to complete plays, stalling for time and lessening American’s chance to catch up. With less than fifteen seconds remaining, Newark scored their last three-pointer. American’s Ky’erra Sylva (11) sprinted across the court to score a final basket in the last four seconds, bringing the score to 42-61.
American’s general strategy for the game included pressing the other team and “making sure on the offensive end we’re moving it so [Newark’s players] have to play more,” according to co-captain Sierra Hillman (22).
“We were trying to tire them out,” Hillman explained. “They were getting tired. They’re big. We tried. Didn’t work too well, but we tried.”
Despite the loss, American is optimistic about the future. Hillman and Kalning both stated that they felt the loss would cause them to grow stronger as a team.
“We just need to bounce back,” Joshi said. “And I believe we can do that – we have a good team, we have a good squad, and I believe we can bounce back. I think we just gotta bring intensity and keep it constant, that’s the thing we need practice in. We’ll work on it as time goes by.”