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Bow girls make adjustments, come back against Kearsarge in second half

  • Bow's Taylor Marston blocks a pass by Kearsarge's Sydney Byrk in the game between the schools on Thursday night, December 12, 2013 at Kearsarge Regional High School. Bow defeated Kearsarge. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Bow's Taylor Marston blocks a pass by Kearsarge's Sydney Byrk in the game between the schools on Thursday night, December 12, 2013 at Kearsarge Regional High School. Bow defeated Kearsarge.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Kearsarge's Claudia Carle, left, battles with Bow's Brooke Johnson for the ball in the game between the schools on Thursday night, December 12, 2013 at Kearsarge Regional High School. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Kearsarge's Claudia Carle, left, battles with Bow's Brooke Johnson for the ball in the game between the schools on Thursday night, December 12, 2013 at Kearsarge Regional High School.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Bow's Taylor Marston blocks a pass by Kearsarge's Sydney Byrk in the game between the schools on Thursday night, December 12, 2013 at Kearsarge Regional High School. Bow defeated Kearsarge. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Kearsarge's Claudia Carle, left, battles with Bow's Brooke Johnson for the ball in the game between the schools on Thursday night, December 12, 2013 at Kearsarge Regional High School. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

It came down to second-half adjustments in the early-season tilt between the Bow and Kearsarge girls’ basketball teams last night. After a first half in which the two squads traded buckets, Bow refocused coming out of the halftime break. The visiting Falcons (2-1) doubled down defensively on Kearsarge’s top offensive option and held the Cougars (1-2) to just seven points through the third and fourth quarters, leading to a 40-29 road win.

Kearsarge made it tough on Bow in the early going, and it was no surprise to see senior guard Anna Cahill in the middle of the action. Cahill scored 15 points in the first half, leading the Cougars to a 22-18 advantage at the half.

“(Cahill) is a legit player,” Bow Coach Bill Vermette said. “She can shoot well. We were looking for help on her (in the first half), but we didn’t get a lot of it.”

While the Falcons were able to stay within striking distance of Kearsarge through the opening two quarters, Bow wasn’t able to get its offense flowing.

“We weren’t getting the ball inside,” Vermette said, “and we forced a lot of things offensively.”

A strategic adjustment proved key going into the remainder of the game, as the Falcons switched to a 2-3 zone and started doubling Cahill every time she got the ball at the perimeter. The change of defensive attitude against Cahill started a snowball effect that led to improvement in other facets of Bow’s game.

“We were able to make other players shoot,” Vermette said. “We started to rebound better, got some transition points, then a couple people started hitting outside jumpers.”

The Falcons outscored Kearsarge 11-5 in the third quarter to take a 29-27 lead into the fourth. Bow’s newfound defensive dominance continued through the final period, with Bow outscoring the Cougars 11-2.

Kirsten Bresson and Amanda Murray paced the Falcons offensively, each scoring 10 points. Murray had eight boards to go with her scoring, and Bow also got nice all-around performances from senior forward Maddie Horner (seven points, 15 rebounds, four blocks) and senior guard Ashlie Tucker (six points, five assists, three steals).

From Kearsarge’s perspective, Cahill was up to her usual solid offensive play, finishing with 18 points and 10 rebounds, but the Cougars were surprised and couldn’t adjust to Bow’s zone defense in the second half.

“(Bow’s zone) flustered us,” Kearsarge Coach Kurt McCandless said. “We’re inexperienced in facing that, but we’ll get used to different looks as the season goes on.”

Kearsarge still had some positives to take out of the game and could have made things closer with a stronger fourth quarter.

“It was a good team effort,” McCandless said. “We moved the ball (in the first half) and showed good defensive effort. We really wore down mentally in the fourth quarter.”

Bow will look to keep on improving as the season gets going, with many seniors on the squad taking on more responsibility.

“We still have to prove ourselves,” Vermette said. “Even though we’ve got a number of seniors on the floor, now they have to step up and be the ones that play the major roles. They’re still getting used to that.”

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