‘Bumps’ or No, Windsor Basketball in Control
Windsor’s Nikki Kibling lunges for the ball on the rebound during the Yellowjackets’ win over Sharon last night. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap) Purchase photo reprints »
Sharon’s Brooke Kennedy (2) passes the ball to a teammate during the Phoenix’s season-opening girls basketball game with Windsor last night. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap) Purchase photo reprints »
Sharon Academy's Suzie Moses defends as Windsor's Maryam Orogi eyes the hoop during the first quarter of last night's game at Windsor. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap) Purchase photo reprints »
Windsor — When first-year coach Brian Allard of The Sharon Academy girls basketball team first got a look at his schedule, he raised his eyebrows when he saw who game No. 1 was with. While Allard last coached in Newport, he was close enough to Windsor to know that playing the Yellowjackets is just a little bit different than playing anybody else.
“Oh well, we have to start somewhere,” Allard said at the time.
That start came last night and it was a 43-19 win for Windsor, a team that has been in the final four of Vermont Division III each of the last six seasons with three championships under coach Bruce Mackay.
While both teams play in the same division, there is a large difference between the two schools. The Phoenix has no junior varsity team and just eight varsity players.
“We were a little short on the bench, and that hurts as the game goes along,” said Allard.
While it was a comfortable win for Windsor, it was not a satisfying victory for Mackay, who has a six year record of 96-25. “There were a lot of bumps tonight,” said Mackay
The veteran coach said that when the team practices today the first thing they will work on “is taking care of the ball.
“We have to learn to play to space. We have too many people in the same place.”
One thing Allard must have been happy about is that Windsor started the game in a matchup zone. The Jacks have a long history of all-court pressure and no shot taken without a hand in the way.
Sharon also played a zone and, surprisingly, Mackay said that zones have bothered his teams in the past and bothered them last night. “I don’t know why, we just have trouble with zones,” said Mackay. “I bet we see a lot of zones this year.”
The result was never in doubt as Windsor led 16-3 after one and 24-3 at the break. It was a game that allowed Windsor to liberally go to the bench.
“That was good that we could do that,” said Mackay, “but it also disturbs the flow of the game. I told the players we’re not going to be able to do that every night.”
Despite the final outcome, there were a couple of bright spots for the Phoenix. Allard thought the overall defense was good, and he was happy that the team came out of the halftime and played pretty well in the second half.
“We talked about that at halftime, and I was glad we came out and didn’t quit,” said Allard. “We played well.”
Windsor got 12 players into the game with eight scoring, paced by a 10-point night from Ashlee Dimick. Haley Wood, Nikki Kibling and Annie Nelson added six each. Dimick had a pair of three-pointers.
Samantha Abrams dropped in nine for the Phoenix, including a three-pointer. Allard said that Abrams was dealing with flu symptoms.
Neither team shot particularly well, and Mackay said with a smile, “We didn’t hesitate to put it up. We’ll certainly have to work on taking better shots.”
Windsor also could have shot better from the free throw line when they missed eight of 12.
To see more photographs from the game, go to the Photo Gallery.