The Lady Falcons were back in action on Monday night, as they were set to take on the Westwood Cardinals in the state sectional finals. The Falcons were the higher seed; however; in many predictions on the game, they were not given the upside due to the loss of their star center Amanda Nwanko. The loss hurt the Falcons badly and led to a 37-32 defeat against the Cardinals.
Mackenzie Rock lit up the score column, tallying 10 points in the loss. Rock was followed by Leah Demko who put together a nine-point performance, as well as Tricia Orlandoni, who gave the Falcons seven more.
The Falcons came out hot, as the star sophomore Ivana Tisma showed off her dribbling and ball handling abilities in the first, sending her defender to the floor three times in the quarter. The Falcons burst out to a 6-1 lead, looking as if they were going to take care of business at The Nest. However, Westwood had other plans.
Before the blink of an eye, the Cardinals were right back in the game. Westwood went on a run to close the quarter, taking the lead on the Falcons and ending the quarter with a one-point advantage.
The second quarter was exactly what to expect in a one seed versus two seed match-up. Jefferson and Westwood continued to go back and forth, trading bucket for bucket. However, the Falcons would come out to win the quarter by one, tying the game up at 16 heading into halftime.
Westwood opened up the second half on fire. The Cardinals went on a run, leaving the Falcons in the dust, and leading them by six. It was then when Rock would come in clutch like she has all season for the Falcons. Rock nailed a three-pointer, cutting the Westwood lead in half. Then, after a defensive stop by J-Town, Rock would nail another, knotting up the score at 24 with just one minute left in the third.
Heading into the fourth quarter, Jefferson would continue to fight, trading blow for blow with the Cardinals. Eventually, Westwood would gain an advantage and be leading by six with just one minute to go. Needing a pair of threes, the ball found the three-point specialist in Deanna Torsiello. Despite her top tier shooting, Torsiello drove into the lane and drew a foul for an and-one basket, getting three the old fashioned way.
After cutting the lead down to three points, the Falcons were forced to foul Westwood, who would nail the two free throws and ice the game for the state sectional title.
Despite the loss, the Falcons worked hard against a bigger Westwood squad. My player of the game goes to Leah Demko, who worked hard defensively and on the rebounds to hold her ground against the bigger Cardinals. With her hard play, she also put together a seven-point night to help the Falcons battle in the game.
Although this is the end of the road for J-Town in 2020, this is in no way the end of their hopes for a title. In a team brimming with talent, they only lose one of their girls to graduation this season. Although Orlandoni has been valuable to Jefferson and been key to their success as of late, the girls’ squad is confident they will figure out the keys to the rings next season.