Not enough offense
AMHERST – After losing nine of his top 10 varsity players, Mike Heaney knew it was going to take time for the Souhegan High School girls basketball team to return to the level it was at last season.
But one thing the Sabers’ coach felt his team could fall back on was its defense.
Such was the case Tuesday night, as Souhegan held Coe-Brown to just 10 points in the second half. Unfortunately for the Sabers, they didn’t have much success on offense either, falling to the Bears 38-21 in Division II action in Amherst.
While Souhegan (1-1) didn’t have a player come close to double figures in scoring, the Sabers managed to hold Coe-Brown senior Jennifer Schlim, a first-team division player a year ago, without a point.
“Defensively, we did a good job holding them to 10 points (in the second half),” Heaney said. “Coe-Brown is a good team and we held them in the second half, and we held a couple of their best players to very low offensive outputs. It’s not surprising to me, with how young we are, that our offensive is behind. But I thought our defense was solid and it’s going to keep us in most games.”
Sarah Curtin scored all of her 11 points in the first half, while Abigail Ahern also had 11 points, six of which came in the game’s final three minutes for the Bears (2-0).
“For us, we have to have everyone contribute,” Coe-Brown coach Joe Vachon said. “They’re going to take away girls. We felt like they did, they took away Jenny at times, Sydney at times, Abby at times, and our other girls have to step up and make shots. This game probably shows us what we’re going to see most of the rest of the season.”
Ciarri Formby-Lavertu led the Sabers with six points, while Hannah Chick added five points off the bench. Souhegan fell behind early, getting down 8-0 with more than five minutes gone in the first quarter.
Souhegan started mixing up its defenses and managed to keep the Bears within striking distance, trailing 17-10 following a layup by Juliane Donohue a little more than a minute into the second quarter.
But Coe-Brown responded by closing out the half on an 11-4 run to go up 28-14 at halftime. The Bears stretched the lead to 16 early in the third quarter, but over the next 11-plus minutes, Coe-Brown scored just two points.
The Sabers weren’t able to take advantage much at the other end, scoring five points to pull to within 32-19.
“If you’d told me before that we were going to hold them under 40, I’d say we had a chance to win,” Heaney said. “We had a lot of good early looks that just didn’t go and at times we weren’t strong with the ball. That’s a sign of a young team, and that will come. When we ran our offense, we got good looks, we just didn’t finish.”
Souhegan returns to action on Friday, when it hosts ConVal (0-1) at 6:30 p.m.