By Anthony Mitchell
For The Daily Item
For three quarters, Shikellamy came away with nearly every loose ball and held a comfortable lead.
Line Mountain turned the tables in the fourth but Shikellamy righted the ship in time to come away with a 51-41 win over the Eagles.
“It was a tough one,” Shikellamy head coach Lew Delegrotti said. “I give a lot of credit to Line Mountain. They didn’t quit.”
Shikellamy held the lead for the entire game after scoring the first points of the game but Line Mountain continued to hang around.
With the Braves ahead by 14 early in the fourth, Colleen Troutman sunk the second of her two free throws after earning a trip to the line. While it was only one point, Line Mountain quickly turned the tide after Troutman worked her way inside.
Within a minute of game action, the momentum swung in the Eagles’ favor after Joelle Snyder finished off of the glass after a steal and the Eagles pressured on the Braves’ next possession.
The Eagles (1-3) had used a full-court press for much of the game against the Braves, but the Braves (1-1) used slick passes into tight windows time and time again to break the press. However, the Eagles had an answer after the lay-up from Snyder with quick rotation causing the Braves to stay on their own side of the court for a 10-second violation.
Jessica Zimmerman converted down low for the Eagles, fighting for the ball in traffic to cut the Braves’ lead to 44-35 on the strength of a five-point swing. After Kelsey Zimmerman knocked down a free throw to stop the run, the Eagles added four straight, drawing fouls against a Braves team dealing with foul trouble for much of the second half.
After Kierra Smith and Raven Fatool fouled out late, the Eagles seemed poised to pull off a late comeback and steal a win. But the Braves regrouped coming out of a timeout and did not let the Eagles to pull even.
“They did a good job and controlled the ball,” Delegrotti said.
With a lead late, the Braves knocked down free throws to prevent a Line Mountain comeback and preserve the win.
After both teams missed perimeter jumpers in the first few minutes, Andrea Amerman received a pass from Kelsey Zimmerman in the corner and swished a trey to give the Braves an early 3-0 lead. Line Mountain answered with a pair of free throws in what quickly became a recurring theme with the Eagles driving into the lane and drawing fouls.
However, for every foul that the Braves committed, Shikellamy had an answer on offense to erase any damage. After the Braves and Eagles exchanged lay-ups and Madeline Reed sunk a free throw, Amerman started to take control to end the quarter as the Braves finished on an 8-2 run.
Amerman knocked down a jumper in the corner and prevented the Eagles from tying the game at nine with a steal and a lay-up on a fast break. The Braves scored the last six points of the first quarter with Amerman reaching in again to knock the ball away and finishing with a lay-up to bookend the run.
Amerman finished with nine points — all in the first quarter — but kept Line Mountain off-balance in the back-court throughout the game by keeping her hands and feet active to clog passing lanes.
The Braves continued to attack loose balls in the second quarter, leading to close looks at the basket as the Braves’ lead hovered around 10 points for much of the quarter.
After the Eagles trimmed the lead to single digits in the third quarter, the Braves scored the final six points of the third to push their lead to 14 points.