Liverpool girls pull away for basketball victory over Rome

Published Dec 7, 2017 at 4:10pm

The Liverpool girls basketball team defeated host Rome Free Academy on Wednesday night, 73-44, with a combination of hustle, execution and outside shooting at.

In falling to 1-2 on the season, the Black Knights kept the score close, 18-12, in the first quarter but were outscored 21-8 in the second quarter and 22-10 in the third.

RFA is back in action on Friday night when the Black Knights travel to Sherburne-Earlville’s tournament to play Bainbridge-Guilford at 6 p.m. in the first round.

“We kept the game close, but during the second and third quarters we stopped executing,” RFA first-year varsity coach Al Bevilacqua said. “We are an up-tempo team, but tonight they kept getting ahead of us.”

Rome struggled to get anything going on offense as it shot 28 percent from the field and was 0-for-5 on three-point field goal attempts.

“We were trying to keep the score within 10 after the first quarter, but they just pulled ahead,” Bevilacqua said. “We also had some lapses on defense. We will work on our execution during practice this week.”

The Black Knights’ floor game was also a problem: They had 24 turnovers, 14 of which were steals by the Warriors. They were unable to get back in their man-to-man defense and allowed Liverpool to make seven three-pointers.

“We left them open for three-point shots, and we wanted to keep tabs on their guards, Jenna Wike and Kyra Grinshaw, but we couldn’t do that,” Bevilacqua said.

Senior forward Amanda Wilbert was a consistent force under the rim. She finished with nine points and 20 rebounds, with seven of them coming on the offensive boards. “Amanda is a tough girl, and she always plays hard no matter the score,” Bevilacqua said.

“She had 20 rebounds the last three games. She also has to finish, to be more assertive on the offensive end. She has the potential to be a 20-20 player, 20 points and 20 rebounds a game.”

Freshman point guard Jace Hunzinger led the team with 12 points, two rebounds and two steals. “Jace is a young player, but a motivated player,” Bevilacqua said.

Hunzinger often found herself trapped in the right corner against Liverpool’s 2-3 zone defense.

“Jace can get caught up in the moment. She will attack the basket, but she also will let the defense dictate where she goes with the ball. We’ve been working with her to change that,” Bevilacqua said.

Sophomore guard Ishmarai Hamid finished with eight points, three rebounds and a steal for the hosts. “Ishmarai has done a good job for an underclassman who comes in off the bench. Like the rest of our team she is learning how to finish her shots,” Bevilacqua said.

The season is new, and Bevilacqua is optimistic the team will continue to improve with hard work.

“We are a motivated team, and we will keep fighting,” he said.