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NEWPORTâ€“Playing through rebuilding season can be tough road to hoe, and it continues to be so for the UCA Crusader girls, as they lost to Masse Vanier 60-37 Wednesday afternoon.
"We are really struggling out there. We beat our selves up and down the court, and we can't have that many turnovers and expect to be in games," said coach Sarah Roy
Having the game held at the Municipal Building made things a little trickier for the Crusaders, as they had to contend with strange lighting, a smaller court, and some very unfriendly rims to say the least.
Well at least the Vikings also had to deal with the conditions, and the game got off to an even foot.
Masse Vanier got on the board first, and UCA responded with a Hannah Piette jumper.
They repeated the process again, before the Vikings jumped out to a 9-4 lead. Piette closed the quarter with her third bucket to bring the score to 9-6 after one.
In the second Masse got rolling and opened up the game with an eight point run before the Crusaders answered with a Christina Maxwell lay-up and a Piette three. Another eleven straight put the Vikings up 28-11, and it seemed like there would be no stopping the visitors from the north.
The Maxwell/Piette duo hit for the same 2/3 combination late in the half, and at the break it was 30-16.
The third would be controlled by the Vikings, but UCA showed improve late in the stanza. Laura Libby started sniffing around the basket and had five points in the third, and Maxwell and Kathryn Daigle each had two.
Said Roy of Maxwell's growth as a player, "I think Christina is really stepping up for us in a new role. She has a nice skill set that she brings to the team. You can tell when she feels confident, and that makes a difference for us."
Finally, in the fourth, Coach Roy found a combination that could keep up with the Vikings.
She put out Libby, Maxwell, Piette, Sydney Whipple, and Nicole Roy, and the game evened up.
It was not like the Vikings were emptying their bench (it is hard to with just seven players on the roster), they were playing as hard in the fourth as they were in any of the other quarters.
Maybe UCA was tired of having the score be run up on them, I don't know, but they should great heart, strong determination, and it was probably the hardest played quarter I have seen from them this season.
Piette dropped in two, as did Maxwell and Whipple. Libby continued her second half surge with six, and they came within two (14-12) of tying Masse Vanier in scoring in the quarter.
"Laura was a real steadying force out there," said Roy, "She really set the pace, keeping her head and staying focused on what we are trying to accomplish."
Piette led the Crusaders in scoring with 14, followed by 11 from Libby and 8 from Maxwell.
The girls will head to Burlington, weather permitting, to face Trinity Baptist today as they hope to take their strong fourth quarter play and transition it into their next game. Tip-off is slated for 5:00.