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IAC GIRLS BASKETBALL: NEWARK VALLEY CLICKS ON ALL CYLINDERS IN WIN OVER OWEGO (2021-02-20)

BY TIM TAYLOR
Tioga County Sports Report
OWEGO — Newark Valley rebounded from a tough loss to Waverly, pulling away from Owego early to post a 69-38 IAC victory here Saturday afternoon.

The Cardinals spread the wealth in the process as all eight players contributed points, including four who reached double figures.

"Great balance, which has been our strength for the last year; four girls in double figures, which is what we like to see," NV coach Greg Schweiger said. "Much better ball sharing today. I challenged the girls yesterday to kind of focus on what it is we're trying to do here and accomplish this season , and I think they gave me an answer today, so that was nice, nice to see."

What started out looking like a low-scoring affair — just six points combined in the first 3:14 — turned in the visitors' favor with a 17-point explosion as NV found its groove.

"I think we're getting in a groove with the season," Schweiger said. "This is now, what, game four. Normally this game would occur in December after weeks and weeks of practice, not six days of practice and then get thrown into games. I feel like today is the first game this season where we kind of started looking a little bit more like ourselves for the whole game, not just in spurts."

"That's two games in a row now. Horseheads did it to us the other night, buried us in the first quarter, and we got buried again tonight, and then the game flow after that was relative even," McEvoy said. "You can't dig a hole. We shot the ball not very well in the first quarter either which is weird. I mentioned to them that I feel like we practice in this gym regularly, we should be able to shoot in it. I think the turnovers piled up as well too, which led them to build that lead and expand upon it throughout the game."

Schweiger thought it was his team's best overall performance of the season and Owego coach Luke McEvoy had no debate.

"I agree, based on what I've already scouted from them," he said. "I think they shot the ball really well against Waverly the other night, that 75-70 game, but they've put all the pieces together.

"I think we helped with that. We didn't do the things that we're necessarily capable of doing. I know they've been trying to push the tempo a little bit more and they clearly got out and ran against us today."

Following a 3-pointer by Evee Coleman which gave the Indians a 5-4 edge, Mackenna Nechwedowich NV on top for good with a three at the 4 1/2-minute mark. She followed that shot up with a pair fo layups and the surge was on.

With three minutes remaining in the opening period, Hayley Beebe converted a steal and layup. Rachel Walker drained a trey 53 seconds later for a double-digit lead, and Hayley and Bri Beebe ended the run with a field goal and three, respectively, to push the advantage to 21-5.

Owego didn't allow NV to keep the run going in the second quarter as Maggie Huizinga scored in the first minute of the period.

Unfortunately for the Indians, the NV offenses continued to click on all cylinders as Nechwedowich dumped in four more points, Taylor Benjamin scored four points, and Allie and Rachel Walker, and Bri Beebe popped in a trey apiece to give Newark Valley a 38-15 halftime cushion.

The Cardinals continued to soar after intermission with Bri Beebe connecting for her third three of the day. Benjamin added two points and three others contributed to the scoring as NV pushed the lead to 51-22 heading into the final frame.

Coleman pumped out four buckets and went 3-for-4 at the free throw line in the fourth quarter to finish with a game-high 21 points. She accounted for two of the Indians' three treys and five of their six points at the foul line over the course of the game. She also finished with a double-double, hauling in 13 rebounds.

NV's double-digit scorers included Nechwedowich, who recorded a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds, Bri Beebe and Benjamin with 13 points apiece, and Hayley Beebe with 10 points. Hannah Ferguson and Rachel Walker contributed a half-dozen points apiece, Allie Walker had three and Cha Gardner two.

The Cardinals shot 47 percent from the field, including 8-of-15 from 3-point range, their defense put forth a strong performance as well with 20 steals and six blocked shots and the transition game was solid throughout the contest.

"When we get out and run we've usually got five people on the court who can finish their scoring on way or another and that makes it tough," Schweiger said. "The defensive effort was really good today. Again, we're getting better. We were able to change up our defenses, switch things a little more than we have in the first couple of games because we're getting a little more time together."

Gardner added nine boards, three assists, three blocks and three steals; Nechwedowich had three steals and two blocks; Ferguson chipped in with seven rebounds and three steals; Benjamin accounted for five assists and three steals; Hayley and Bri Beebe pitched in with four and three steals, respectively; and Rachel walker had a block.

Owego's other scorers were Ellie Sherwood with five points, Huizinga and Lauren Gilbert with four apiece, and Maddie Bennett with three. Huizinga also chipped in with six boards while Gilbert grabbed four rebounds.

NV (3-1) visits Elmira Monday and hosts Owego (2-2) Tuesday.

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IN PHOTO 1: NV's Cha Gardner (L) and Owego's Lauren Gilbert. ... PHOTOS BY TIM TAYLOR.

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