By Josie Aja and Mackenzie Magas
On Tuesday, the Masuk girl’s basketball team played a home game at Masuk High School against the Newtown Nighthawks, losing with a final score of Masuk 20, Newtown 48.
The game started off slow, as Masuk had 4 points and Newtown had 8 after the first quarter. The first quarter consisted of runs up and down the court with equal possession from both teams. The Masuk girls began the game with lots of fast pace ball movement and passing between the players, allowing Natalie Lieto to make a layup shot right off the bat. The team held their own and demonstrated possession in the first quarter.
Coach Daniel Young explained, “This wasn’t one of our stronger games, you know we kind of got off to a slow start and we had a tough third quarter there, and in the end it just kind of got away from us.”
The second quarter marked the start of an increasing score difference between the two teams. Newtown’s nighthawks pulled off a number of offensive breakaways. This led to many baskets scored by Newtown and the Masuk panthers were unable to defend. The quarter came to a close with a score of Masuk 10, Newtown 18. Newtown scored 29 more points in the second quarter and Masuk scored six, leaving the Newtown Nighthawks in the lead.
The third quarter resulted in one more point added to Masuk’s side of the scoreboard, and our players had notably less energy. Up against a difficult opponent and with morale running low, the girls failed to look for open players and move off the ball.
Senior captain Lauren Breyan commented, “We needed to look for the open players and make sure we were moving without the ball. That was kind of key in why we weren’t able to get the ball to the basket as much as Newtown was able to.”
The girls missed the mark offensively and defensively and were unable to come back from the first two quarters. By the end of the third quarter, the point gap between Masuk and Newtown largely increased.
Young shared, “nights like tonight show we need to improve all over the place on our offense and defense, and our ability to work together.”
The fourth quarter solidified the win for Newtown and proved to Masuk that they need to put in some extra hard work for their upcoming games. Though Natalie and Sofia Lieto each earned one-point foul shots, it was not enough to boost the team’s morale and bring Masuk to a victory. Masuk was able to score 9 more points in the last quarter, however, Newtown added 19 more points to the scoreboard and claimed their win.
Senior captain Breyan explained, “I think overall we played well as a team but ultimately couldn’t get the ball through the basket. Our offense can definitely improve.”
Senior captain Maia Ventresca added, “We also need to work on playing more as a team and less individually.”
The rivalry against last night’s opponent posed as extra motivation for the players.
Breyan shared, “We always play harder when we play against newtown because the rivalry adds motivation for us to win.”
The rivalry between Masuk and Newtown grew stronger after last night’s loss, and though it was a tough game for our panthers, it will hopefully drive the girls to work hard and achieve a win at their next game, and throughout the rest of the season.
Although the Panthers did not come out on top at last night’s game, there are many upcoming games which will pose opportunities for redemption for the team.
Young remarked, “We’ve got some tough games coming up and more opportunities so we have to stay positive.”
Despite a discouraging loss, the girls will face New Milford at their upcoming game this Friday and work towards a comeback.