Falcons Fall 47-43 in OT as Essex Plays Spoiler on Senior Night

NEWPORT–So close.Tied at 40 with no time on the clock and three shots to earn the win, the basketball Gods frowned down upon the Falcons as Emma Joslin was unable to find the bottom of the net, and North Country went on to lose the game 47-43 in overtime.Now before anyone jumps on Joslin, remember this, it was her hard work and effort that got the Falcons in the position to win the game in the first place, but we will get to that later."I feel deflation and overjoy, said coach Christiane Brown, "What these girls showed was that they were capable of doing... their tough, they definitely work hard, and they showed that they can compete with the best." It was senior night at the packed Falcon gym, and the team honored their five seniors in a pre-game ceremony."It was great to play with those other four seniors since we were little girls. I love them to death and I'm glad I could share this night with them," said Joslin, describing how special she thinks this group is.The ceremony may be why it was a slow start for both teams on Friday night, as Essex and North Country struggled offensively,. But defensively, the Falcons were sharp, not allowing Essex to utilize their bigger players in the middle, and forcing the Hornets into making bad shots.Said Brown, "Our defense was great, the girls really got after them, but we've got to demand those boards."Essex eventually got on the score board when Isey Esposito made two out four shots on two trips to the line.Noelle Pinard tied the game with a lay-up at 3:09 mark, but Essex scored four more points to close out the quarter ahead 6-2.In the second Essex again scored first, but after a 10-4 Falcon run, both teams were tied at twelve.Esposito got the and-1 to put the Hornets up by three, Pinard closed the gap to one, depositing a Desiree Coffin rebound for two, but Esposito struck again, and it was 17-14 after sixteen minutes of play.In the third it was a two woman wrecking crew for Essex, as Esposito and Jessie Bryant combined for fifteen points.North Country had a trio of players carry the load in the quarter. Coffin and Anna Bingham each had four points, Pinard had three, and after three it was Essex 32, North Country 25.The fourth was a glorious affair for the Falcons, as they were determined to not let this game slip away.Esposito opened with two, but the Falcons answered with six straight and it was 34-31 Essex.Esposito hit again for the bucket and the foul, but Joslin hit two big three's and one from the line to put North Country ahead 38-37.Kara Sheftic laid one in, and Ali Wells got one from the line, and it was 40-38 Hornets.Joslin, in heroic fashion, picked a Hornet pocket and tied the game with seconds remaining.With 4.5 seconds on the clock, North Country called a time-out to go over their final play.I think it may have been something like"get the ball to Emma because she is on fire right now," but I wasn't within earshot of the conversation.So, as the horn sounded, Joslin was fouled while attempting a three, setting up the dramatic finish.We all know happened next, and Essex went on to outscore the Falcons 7-3 in the extra session to pick up the win."Pretty bad," answered Joslin when asked how she was feeling after the game, "I should have made those free throws, we should have won but we didn't, so now we have to look forward to the play-offs."Noelle Pinard had a team high 14 points, with Joslin contributing 11, and Bingham going for ten.Esposito led all scorers with 23.What I must stress to you the readers, that while yes, the win would have been sweet, really sweet, it is how the Falcons are playing right now that is the bigger picture.They have played extremely well down the stretch, beating BFA and having really good, close games with CVU, BHS, and especially this game with Essex.Coach Brown's goal for the latter part of the season was to have her team firing on all cylinders come play-off time, and guess what, if Friday's game is any indication, whoever the Falcons get in the opening round (it looks like Rice, but pairings come out later today) better come ready to play.For more photos, see page seven.