There are teams that kill you slow and there’s teams that kill you fast. Then there’s teams like Tuscarora, that can kill you faster-than-fast.
On Wednesday night the #10 Huskies scored 47 second-half points and got double-doubles from both Kennedy and Isabellah Middleton to rally past host Stone Bridge for a 69-57 victory. The win handed the Bulldogs their first loss of the season and gave the Huskies their best start in school history.
As is so often the case it was the Huskies’ defense that sparked their offense. Michael Newkirk’s team trailed the host Bulldogs by seven at halftime, but ratcheted up the defensive pressure after the break. They trapped the Bulldogs and harassed them into turnover after turnover, often resulting in lay-ups for the Huskies. Isabellah Middleton was huge triggering the main surge. She hit a three-pointer to bring the Huskies to within 34-30, then scooped up a loose ball a few plays later to go coast-to-coast for the bucket. Less than a minute later, Tuscarora junior guard Rosi Santos got a steal and a basket to give her team a 37-36 lead with 2:15 still left in the third.
“We just felt like if we could apply some better defensive pressure in certain areas up top, we could have some success,” Newkirk said. “Kind of get back to our identity with things we weren’t doing so good in the first half. Just play faster. Everybody kind of dug down and worked harder, also with rebounding.”
Stone Bridge didn’t quit down seven after three any more than the Huskies did down seven after two. The Bulldogs went on a 8-1 run to tie the game at 50 on a Chloe Madgwick basket with five minutes left in the game. Tuscarora responded with a run of its own, however, and the Bulldogs soon found themselves short-handed when Madgwick and star sophomore Anna LeMaster both fouled out with ample time left on the clock. After that Stone Bridge simply didn’t have the firepower to overtake Tuscarora, a team that hasn’t lost a district game in well over three years.
Madgwick led the Bulldogs (1-1, 7-1) with 20 points and was sensational in the second quarter, seemingly everywhere for her team as it built its early lead. LeMaster added 11 points despite having to sit much of the second quarter with her foul trouble. Freshman center Sarah O’Day impressed as well, contributing nine points and 11 rebounds and giving the smaller Huskies problems in the paint.
As mentioned, the Middleton sisters were fantastic for Tuscarora, especially in the second half. The senior Kennedy had 17 points and 10 rebounds while sophomore Isabellah went for 14 points and 13 boards. What makes both so dangerous is their ability to rebound the ball against bigger players and spark transition by themselves without having to outlet the ball.
The dynamic pair got good help for their teammates as well. Santos added 14 points and four assists while senior guard Allison Fitz added 11 points. Tuscarora sits atop the Potomac District, its winning streak in the district currently “somewhere around 35 games” according to Newkirk.
“We got good teams like Freedom and Stone Bridge out of the way now, all least for now,” he said. “The district is tougher this year and hopefully games like this will make us tougher down the stretch.”
all stats are unofficial
|Threes: Madgwick 2-7, Hafer 2-8, Alston 1-1, LeMaster 1-2, Cowden 1-2, Kreyer 1-4, Jolly 0-1|
|Threes: I. Middleton 2-3, Machulski 1-1, Cabassa 1-1, Santos 1-4, N. Fitz 0-2, Evans 0-2, A. Fitz 0-5|