Recorder Sports Staff
CANAJOHARIE -- The Fonda-Fultonville Lady Braves had their share of bumps to smooth over in their season opener Friday against Galway -- 14 first-half turnovers and a slew of missed shots chief among them -- but by the end of the night, everything added up neatly enough that head coach Wendi Waters could chalk those rough patches up to her team working the first-game kinks out of its system.
"First-game jitters," Waters said. "They were excited to come out and play, and things got a little sloppy. Fourteen first-half turnovers I wasn't real happy with, but I think our press was effective."
Despite committing 14 turnovers before halftime, the Lady Braves used an 18-point run midway through the first half to spark a balanced effort that saw all seven the players on the Fonda-Fultonville roster score between four and 12 points in a 57-29 rout of Galway in the opening round of the Canajoharie Girls Basketball Tip-Off Tournament.
Taylor Wetsky led the way with 12 points and nine rebounds for Fonda-Fultonville (1-0) while her frontcourt compatriot Monica Derby posted a double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds. Cassandra Egelston chipped in nine points, six steals and five assists, while Emily Frollo recorded a similarly balanced evening with eight points, eight rebounds and four steals.
Though F-F nearly doubled up Galway on the scoresheet, it could have been more if the Lady Braves had more success with their jump shots, as the bulk of the team's points Friday night came either on putbacks underneath the basket or on the fast break off turnovers caused by a full-court press that had the Lady Eagles' guards frustrated throughout the night.
The offense, Waters said, will come as the season progresses.
"We missed a lot of easy shots that I think by the end of the year we'll make," she said. "I think we moved the ball well, they played together, they played hard. We've just got to fine-tune everything and play a whole game."
Fonda-Fultonville's early struggles resulted in a 6-3 deficit in the opening minutes, but from that point, the Lady Braves seized control and never looked back. Consecutive baskets by Egelston and Jeananna Warner put F-F in front to stay and sparked a run of 15 straight points to end the first quarter.
Frollo extended the run to 18-0 when she buried a 3-pointer to start the second quarter, and Galway never got closer than 11 points the rest of the night. Despite a roster of just seven players and some early foul trouble when Egelston picked up her third foul less than three minutes into the second quarter, the Lady Braves played a perfectly-balanced
"I thought the girls off the bench came in and did a nice job," Waters said. "It was nice to be able to play everybody a lot the first game."
Though there were struggles, Waters said that this tournament -- which will conclude with tonight's championship game against host Canajoharie -- is about the Lady Braves getting ready for another rough season in the Colonial Council.
"We know what we'll be up against in the Colonial," she said. "We're using these games to try and get ready. It was a little sloppy at times and we didn't shoot the ball great, but we got it done."