E.O. Smith girls' basketball team has strong record heading into home stretch of regular season

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Storrs - posted Tue., Feb. 11, 2014
Holly Worski battles RHAM's Sarah Veilleux for the ball. Photos by Melanie Savage.
Holly Worski battles RHAM's Sarah Veilleux for the ball. Photos by Melanie Savage.

In a battle for CCC East leadership, the E.O. Smith Lady Panthers avenged their only CCC-East loss of the season to date and earned their fifth straight win with a 55–39 victory over the RHAM Sachems on Feb. 4. The Panthers had lost their previous matchup against the Sachems on Jan. 7 with a final score of 66-65.

“Both teams started out tight as several open shots were missed, resulting in an E.O. Smith 8-6 lead at the end of the first quarter,” said E.O. Smith coach Mary Roickle. The Panthers were ahead by 25-12 at half time, expanding the lead to 43-23 by the end of the third quarter, and finally ending with a 55-39 win. The E.O. Smith defense had 11 steals and held RHAM to 29 percent shooting from the field.

McKenna Dale led the Panthers with 16 points, as Isa Peczuh, Holly Worski and Nicky Fuentes chipped in 10, 8 and 8 points respectively. Roickle was pleased with her team’s performance. “Frankly, we needed a good win and confidence booster as we move towards tourney time,” she said.

Jessica Cyr has been brought up from the JV team since the beginning of the season. “She is an up and coming point guard and bolsters the guards,” said Roickle. Freshman McKenna Dale has also stepped into the starting lineup. “As a 5'10" forward, she is a smooth shooter and penetrator,” said Roickle. “She is a sponge and is absorbing new things every day especially defensively.”

Roickle said that the team has evolved through the season “and is becoming much better in playing an assertive team defense of which the foundation is man-to-man principles.” The team is focusing the offense on controlling the tempo and working for the best shot within its offensive schemes.

“We continuously reinforce that all players should touch the ball and one more pass for the better shot. This has led to four starters averaging from 7 to 12 points per game,” said Roickle.

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