The youth infusion might have its peaks and valleys at Bartlett, but one thing Hawks' coach Denise Sarna isn't shy about is sending her rookies messages, even if it comes 1 minute and 19 seconds out of the gate in a 51-34 Upstate Eight crossover girls basketball win over Elgin at Chesbrough Fieldhouse Friday night.
A little miscommunication on defense and 3 turnovers forced Sarna to pull the plug on her starting five at the 6:41 mark in the first quarter.
"We've been talking about starting the game with good energy and good focus and quite honestly we were out of sync. We weren't communicating defensively; we didn't know what defense we were playing," Sarna said. "We talked about rebounding, I think we had a couple turnovers, a missed box out right from the start and we really need our starting five to come in and do a better job of preparing and being ready for the game."
When Sarna's first string returned early in the second quarter after the bench scored 7 of its 17 points total bridging 8 minutes between the first and second quarters to keep the lead intact, the Hawks' starters came out re-energized and blitzed the Maroons (3-3) with a full court trap, which helped guide a 12-2 run to get the lead to 15 before halftime.
"I think it really got through to our team that we need to get more energy," freshman Kelly Harris said, who scored 2 of her game-high 14 in that second quarter, while also recording 8 rebounds. "Once we get our defense going, it pushes the offense."
Of Elgin's 40 turnovers, 21 came on steals for Bartlett (3-4). Junior Ally Giampapa added 8 points and 5 steals, including 3 in the second that led to 6 of her points for the Hawks (3-4).
"It's defense that our team really thrives on," Giampapa said. "When we do well on defense, we're lights out."
Junior Brooke Kulbeda had 4 steals and three other Hawks' players garnered at least two each. After a Giampapa steal that led to a Kaitlin Brohan layup to make it 17-6 Hawks with nearly 3 minutes to go in the first half, Sarna asked her squad after an Elgin timeout why that energy wasn't there in the first quarter.
"All these kids are new to the varsity level. I can understand there might be a little nerves but sooner or later we have to get over that," Sarna said. "We're looking for that consistency."
Bartlett's trap in the third quarter forced 5 of the Maroons' 7 turnovers and the Hawks settled in near the basket where Harris scored 4 points and senior Alyssa Hernandez chipped in 4 of her 8 points. The closest Elgin was to Bartlett was 8-6 when Maroons' leading scorer Tamara Milosevic knocked in 2 of her team-high 14 points late in the first quarter. Milosevic added 7 rebounds as well while Maggie Powers and Destiny West chipped in 6 each on a night where Elgin shot 14 of 42 from the floor but obviously couldn't overcome all the turnovers.
"We seemed a bit frazzled on offense," Maroons' coach Dr. Nick Bumbales said. "We were just going a little bit too fast and that seemed to be the biggest issue. We need to take a big breath and get into a new flow."