by Thomas Spencer
The Victor Lady Pirates pulled out a 40-29 win over Darby on Tuesday night. Coming into this game the Pirates were 1-2, having lost to Charlo and St. Regis the previous weeks. However, this was the first district matchup of the season and an important game for this team.
Head coach Ryan Tolley commented on the significance of the win for the Lady Pirates. “It’s a confidence builder. We are going to play a lot of close games and having success early will help later in the season.”
The Pirates did come out strong in the first quarter of this game, besting the Tigers 15-4 in the first quarter, but the Tigers were tenacious and held the Pirates to one point in the 2nd quarter while adding 9 of their own going into the half separated by just 3 points.
The Tigers came out strong in the third quarter, cashing in on a couple of important baskets.
“Sometimes we try to force the ball to a player instead of just finding the open player,” said Tolley. “They want to run a play instead of just playing ball. This led to us struggling on our half-court offense.”
But, the Pirates rallied back and both teams accounted for 8 points each in the third quarter. Then, in the fourth, the Lady Pirates started to pull away, thanks in part to a clutch 3-pointer by junior Abby Kay and five made free throws from her teammate Nola Smorowski. Sophomore Haylie Tolley was a stand out. In addition to menacing the defensive end of the ball, she accounted for 14 Pirate points.
On top of some solid offensive play, the Pirates did a good job playing strong defense as well. “Other than a few minutes to start the third quarter, their defensive pressure was outstanding.” Coach Tolley said. “We also played the passing lanes well.”
For Tolley, who has been with the Lady Pirate program for six years in various capacities, the success is earned. “I know we have the potential to be very successful this season. Seeing the hustle and grit from the girls tonight confirms that potential in my mind.”
On Wednesday, December 22nd, the Victor girls faced a solid Seeley-Swan team and lost 27-72. The Victor boys also played Seeley-Swan, losing 34-51.