The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

February 3, 2013

Falcons fly past Spartans

Defense, dominant first quarter lead Jefferson past Conneaut

CONNEAUT —  

Jefferson girls basketball coach Rod Holmes understands his team’s limitations. He also understands what the Falcons need to do in order to overcome those limitations.

And what Jefferson had to do to beat Conneaut on Saturday at Garcia Gymnasium was play defense. That’s exactly what the Falcons did in dropping the Spartans, 49-22.

“We wanted to come out and play good D,” Jefferson coach Rod Holmes said. “That’s what we have to do. We don’t score a lot, so we have to play real good defense.”

Jefferson (8-11, 2-6 in All-American Conference) forced Conneaut to turn the ball over on seven of its first eight possessions and did not give up a field goal until Natalie Bertolasio scored with 52 seconds remaining in the first period.

“I’m very happy with the defense,” Holmes said. “The girls moved the ball well and we also rebounded really well. There weren’t too many second chances for (Conneaut).”

The Spartans (7-12), playing without starting post Angie Zappitelli (knee) were 1 of 7 (14.3 percent) from the field in the first eight minutes and turned the ball over eight times in falling behind, 17-2.

In the two games between the teams this season, Conneaut has been outscored, 37-3, in the first quarter.

“We know and understand we’re going to be inconsistent on offense,” Conneaut coach Tony Pasanen said. “What bothers us is sometimes we go out and we’re aggressive and play really well, then other times, we’re timid and we are not very good.

“Tonight we were timid. I can’t explain it.”

Jefferson turned the ball over just once in the first and was 6 of 14 (42.9 percent) from the field.

“We got stops,” Jefferson point guard Jessica Becker said. “Defense boosts our confidence and we play smarter, too, when we get stops on defense.”

Becker spearheaded that attack with eight points.

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