Recorder Sports Staff
JOHNSTOWN -- Size matters.
Broadalbin-Perth girls basketball coach knows his team is at a major height disadvantage nearly every time he sends the Lady Patriots onto the court -- 5-foot-10 Kaitlin Wood is B-P's only starter taller than 5-foot-6 -- and as such, the rebounding battle has been a season-long struggle.
Tuesday night, the Johnstown Lady Bills -- who started five players 5-foot-9 or taller -- exploited that size advantage perfectly, dominating the boards to pull away in the second half for a 46-32 Foothills Council victory.
"They had 50 rebounds to our 34. It's kind of hard to win a game like that," Magliocca said. "Most games, we're getting out-rebounded, but we didn't play smart tonight."
Hope Cerasulo scored 18 points and Courtney Cirillo added 11 for the Lady Bills, who opened up a 19-16 lead at halftime, then limited B-P to just eight points through the first 14 minutes of the second half before a pair of late Kaitlin Wood 3-pointers gave the B-P (8-8, 2-8 Foothills) a brief spark.
Wood led B-P with 13 points, but the Lady Patriots struggled to find any rhythm offensively, as Johnstown's length cut off B-P's two best offensive options -- point guard Katie Herba driving to the basket and Wood making plays in the post.
"Offensively, we were trying to rush it a little bit too much," Magliocca said. "I thought we had a few opportunities to get it down low, and we're just not seeing it. I don't know if that's because they've got about three, four inches on each one of our girls and maybe our guards can't see it down low, but we're still not cutting away from the ball, we're still not setting picks.
"Defensively, I thought we did a halfway decent job, but when you don't score it's going to happen like that in the second half when they start getting easy buckets and killing us on the offensive boards."
Though B-P contained a sloppy Johnstown offense in the second half, the Lady Bills pulled away throughout the final 16 minutes by exploiting the Lady Patriots' undersized 2-3 zone -- which often ended up with 5-foot-4 Herba playing in the middle of the back line -- either by finding Cerasulo in the soft spots of the defense or by simply towering over B-P's shorter players to collect offensive rebounds.
"That's kind of our forte," said Johnstown coach Tim Derwin. "We've got big forwards, but we're big right through the guards."
With his team now sitting on a .500 overall record and just two games left in the regular season, Magliocca said the Lady Patriots need to work quickly to correct Tuesday's problems before the Section II Class B playoffs get underway.
"They were just more aggressive. Defensively, I think we matched them with the intensity, it was the rebounds," he said. "I don't know how many offensive rebounds they actually put back in for easy buckets, but that's too easy. When you make them earn a shot, like they were making us do, that was our plan -- not to give up offensive rebounds, but to get them to work the clock down a little bit, take a wild shot. I thought we accomplished a little bit of that, but when they get their own rebound and put it back up, it's kind of hard."