The good news first: the New Paltz girls, behind 14 points from Mackenzie Quick, 13 from Adrian Hekking and 12 from Allison Ricci, bolted out to a nine-point halftime lead (27-18) and held it for the rest of the game, giving first-year varsity coach Pat Barberio his initial win in what hopes to be a long tenure at the helm of the girls’ basketball program. New Paltz has had three coaches in the last three years after the 20-plus seasons (with over 300 wins and two Section 9 championships) of the Jeff Ackert Era and it has hurt the once-successful program. The Huguenots, with the win, now stand at 1-8 overall and 1-7 in the MHAL, and travel to Webutuck this Friday, Jan. 28 for a 6 p.m. game. Division-4 (and State-ranked) Coleman, with Mackenzie Burud and the Twin Tower (6’1”) Curley Sisters are in on Tuesday, Feb. 1 at 6 p.m.
For the boys the Division 4-leading Bombers presented an immediate problem, and one that looks to become a real thorn in the Huguenots side -- New Paltz seems to have difficulties with quick-passing teams and are susceptible because of it to a couple of the oldest plays in the game: the “give-and-go” and the “backdoor” play. Against Pine Plains, it -- the backdoor play -- must have accounted for 12-14 points alone, not counting all the times the Bombers frontline got free along the baseline and missed layups. The Huguenots just couldn’t seem to defense it. And it was a similar situation in the Wallkill game (but more of the give-and-go variety), which was their last loss before the win-streak.
Pine Plains -- tall, skinny and quick -- also made 18-of-27 free throws (to the Huguenots’ 4-of-10), shooting an impressive 10-for-12 down the stretch. The Bombers went off at the end of the first quarter up 12-8 with a 9-2 run decisive (the only New Paltz basket over the final four minutes was a James Glassman steal and basket off an inbounds).
The second quarter was back-and-forth, as New Paltz took the lead 19-18 on a Glassman three-pointer and a putback by Jon Schmitt of a Brian Krebs miss. The Bombers’ Marquis Vandewater hit a side-jumper to give Pine Plains back the lead, but Zach Cone hit a jumper from the line and it was 21-20 New Paltz. Vandewater buried a long three, but Glassman hit a pretty driving scoop-shot in the lane and Cone a layup off Glassman’s subsequent steal of the inbounds and it was 25-23 New Paltz. The Bombers then coolly hit 5-of-6 free throws (by Justin Cooper and Robert Lamont) to retake the lead at 28-25. Krebs then buried a long three to tie, but Lamont -- who was the man recipient of all the backdoor plays -- hit a putback of his own missed drive along the baseline. Cone ended the half with a huge three just moments before the buzzer. It was 31-30 New Paltz at the half. Cone led the Huguenots with 15 points, with Glassman adding nine points. Lamont had 11 for Pine Plains.
The Bombers’ Zach Lydon and Krebs hit matching three’s to open the second-half, but after Lydon and Lamont hit back-to-back backdoor baskets, New Paltz ran off a 9-0 run to retake the lead and to seemingly take control of the game. It was Cone for three, then a pair of baskets by Mike Beck (putback of a Cone miss and a layup off a nice Glassman feed) and then another Cone three. It was 44-37 New Paltz. But Pine Plains just kept at it, going baseline to Lamont from Cooper, and the Bombers chipped away and at quarter’s end trailed just 47-46 on a Lamont traditional three-point play.
It was more of the same in the final quarter, as the Bombers played along the baseline and New Paltz’s big men (Schmitt and Erik Simonson) piled up the fouls. Pine Plains led 60-53 at the midway point, with Lamont and Cooper scoring all the points off layups and free throws. Glassman hit a free throw, but Vandewater answered with a free throw of his own. Beck hit a drive along the baseline and Simonson a basket off an inbounds pass from Cone, but Cooper buried four straight free throws to up the lead back to seven at 65-58. Cone hit a drive down the lane, and after a Vandewater free throw, Beck buried a huge three from the corner with just over 10 seconds to go. Lamont then continued his personal assault on the Huguenots, getting out on an inbounds pass and hitting a breakaway for the final 68-63 score.
It was a disheartening loss for New Paltz, especially scoring over 60 points but losing the game on basketball’s simplest play. Cone led New Paltz with 25 points, with Krebs scoring 11 and Glassman 10. Lamont led Pine Plains with 26 points, with Cooper adding 21.
The Huguenots, with the loss, fell to 7-3 overall and 6-2 in the MHAL (3-0 in Division 2). Pine Plains leads Division 4 with a 7-2 record in the MHAL. New Paltz hosts Webutuck this Friday, Jan. 28 at 6 p.m., then travels to Coleman on Tuesday, Feb. 1 for a 6 p.m. game.