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Falcons victorious in home opener

Falcons victorious in home opener Falcons victorious in home opener

As a coach, player and even a fan, you never want to read too much into one game, especially when that game is the first one of the season.

That doesn’t mean you can’t take away positives from a game. And after the Abbotsford girls basketball team dropped Owen-Withee 70-36 in a non-conference match in the first game of 2020-21, there’s plenty to be positive about.

“A 70 point game is a higher scoring game than we had all last year,” head coach Ally Meserole said. “We had every single girl on the team score at least a few points, and we had four girls in double digits, which is exactly what we want.”

That offensive balance was missing from last year’s 3-20 squad, and it’s especially encouraging to see that kind of performance with so many new faces on the team. Meserole’s line-up this year includes multiple freshmen and seniors that have never played together - not that you could tell after Monday night’s win.

“I think it shows that offensively, we mesh OK, and we’re confident giving the ball to all our teammates,” Meserole remarked on her team’s scoring output.

The Falcons wasted little time in jumping out to an early advantage, taking a 8-0 lead over the Blackhawks in the first minutes of the first half.

Abby matched that offense with great defense, and in spite of giving up size in the paint, Owen-Withee did not score its first basket until 13:56 in the first half. But with each basket Owen-Withee scored, the Falcons had the answer, and they extended their lead to double digits at 14-4 with 9:07 to play.

Alea Graff, Catie Clement and Sydney Falteisek left the Blackhawks reeling with their jump shots, and Graff and Clement led the charge, scoring eight points apiece in the first frame, while Falteisek, only a freshman, added seven.

The Falcons expanded their lead to 26-11 with just under four minutes to play, and the two teams traded baskets down the stretch, but it was Abby who held a comfortable 36-18 lead at the break.

In the second half Abby’s lead swelled to 29, and Meserole rotated her bench players into the game. Ten Falcons scored in the final frame, with Falteisek adding three baskets while Mya Ruesch stole the ball multiple times which led to buckets in transition.

Falteisek wasn’t the only frosh to make her mark on Monday. Fellow freshmen Sommer Brodhagen and Briseida Escalera put points on the board as the Falcons out-scored their Eastern Cloverbelt visitors 34-18 in the second half.

The Falcons didn’t play a perfect game, struggling at times from the charity stripe, converting just eight of 20 opportunities, and a lack of size continues to be a liability, with the Blackhawks scoring multiple times on offensive put-backs, but the good far outweighed the bad.

“It feels really good to get that first win in the first game of season because coming from last year we only had a few wins, and we lost to this team actually,” Ruesch said after the victory. “We have a lot of underclassmen but we saw a lot of growth tonight. It was just fun to play tonight with these girls.”

Falteisek led the proceedings in her varsity debut, scoring a game high 13 points and team high six rebounds. Alea Graff was right behind, scoring a career high 12 points. Seniors Catie Clement and Mya Ruesch added 10 points apiece, with Ruesch pulling down five boards and dishing out a team high three assists.

Senior Bridgett Pogodzinski and sophomore Adriana Fuentes added five points apiece. Brodhagen and Brissa Diaz scored four apiece. Briseida Escalara chipped in with three points, and Marisol Garcia and Vanessa Maganda rounded things out with two points each.

The Falcons are 1-0 at the start of the new season, but they are not going to rest on their laurels any time soon.

“I feel like we have a lot of strengths on offense. However, there are still things we need to work on,” Ruesch said as she assessed the Falcons’ first game.

“We’re still learning. It’s going to be a tough week in practice, but if we put in the hard work and effort, we’ll do good.”

FUENTES ON A FAST BREAK -Adriana Fuentes (#22) brings the ball up court on fast break during Abby’s 70-36 victory. Teammates Alea Graff, Catie Clement (#12) and Brissa Diaz-Miranda sprint down the court with Fuentes. All 11 varsity players scored on Monday. STAFF PHOTOS/ROSS PATTERMANN

FLICK OF THE WRIST - Mya Ruesch dishes the ball to a teammate on Monday. Ruesch led Abby with a team high three assists.