NEWPORT–Revenge is a dish best served cold. With temperatures hovering around the single digits on Thursday night, the Falcon basketball girls avenged their season opener loss to Lyndon Institute with a resounding 61-35 beat down of their neighbors from the south.
Signs pointed to a rough and tumble rematch for North Country. Emma Joslin was on the bench early with two fouls, but the team rallied around her by spreading out the offense to build a 13-7 first quarter lead.
Anna Bingham got things started with a deuce, followed by a Michaela Stanley lay-up. The teams would stay close throughout the quarter, and with the clock ticking down and the Falcon lead sitting at three, Joslin, back in the game after the unwanted rest, buried a buzzer beating three pointer to bring the lead to six.
The second quarter was the most exciting, and nerve racking if you are a NCU fan, of the game.
Noelle Pinard kicked it off with a bucket for North Country, but fueled by the combination of Riley Blankenship, Darien Smith, and Hannah Cornell, the Vikings would go on a 10-2 run to take the lead 17-15. Desiree Coffin knotted the game at seventeen, and from there it was back and forth for the rest of the quarter.
The LI trio of Blankenship, Cornell, and Smith were excellent at forcing the Falcons to commit fouls, and would go a combined 5/6 from the line.
Bingham and Stanley paced the Falcons in the latter stages of the half. Michaela had four points, and Anna had a pair of late treys to put the Falcons up for good 28-24.
"I thought North Country executed very well," said LI coach Eric Berry, "They set a ton of screens, confused us, and took it the basket very well, so you have credit North Country, they made some nice adjustments."
The third quarter belonged to Noelle Pinard. The senior was outstanding, doing everything her coach could have asked for. She scored points, she grabbed rebounds, and she played solid Falcon defense en-route to a double-double (17 points, 10 rebounds).
"We know Noelle is capable of scoring, and it was really nice to her take that opportunity and nail some really nice foul line jumpers. She took people off the dribble, had some put-backs, and to top it off she had ten rebounds," said Brown.
"Transition is what always gets our team motivated, and we got two or three in a row and that was the turnaround," said Pinard of her team's third quarter.
By the time the fourth quarter rolled around the score stood North Country 41, Lyndon 33, and the Falcons, still smelling the defeat that haunted them early, went in for the kill.
For the most part it would be the bench doing the majority of the damage while limiting LI to just two points in the final eight minutes, both via the free throw.
After Pinard scored her final five points, Coffin scored six of her eight points on the night, Jaime Kramer dropped in five, and Britni Jewer and Chantal Bedard each added two, combining for a total of twenty in the quarter and a twenty-six point margin of victory.
"It is nice when I have bench I can play, and when I put people in (from my bench) I am not worried," said Brown of her 6-10 players, "Jewer came in and took some shots, picking up her intensity and grabbing some rebounds.
"I'm (also) pretty happy with Kelsey and Jamie going out there getting after people defensively."
Pinard, while taking a seat herself in the fourth, knows that to have success you need a deep team, and said of the difference between the LI and NCU benches, "Ours was amazing. They (LI) couldn't do anything and ours will step up for us anytime we need them."
The 2-1 girls will play host to MMU on Thursday, J/V kicks off at 5:00, Varsity at 6:30.