Essex Rebels Spook Durham Palatinates to Snatch Victory
The Essex Rebels women’s basketball team returned to the court this past weekend as they faced Durham Palatinates in a Championship clash. The game was the first of the season that saw an entire Rebels squad suited up and able to play, with a debut from American guard Daniela Turner. Fortunately, the Rebels were able to hold on despite a late surge from the visiting team and capture their first win of the season.
Both teams used the first few minutes of the game to get settled, but it was the Rebels, behind a quick 5 points from Claire Paxton, who made the first move. Consistent play on both ends of the floor allowed the Rebels to control the first quarter with an 18-11 lead. However, it was Durham who came out with a change of pace to start the second quarter, scoring 4 quick points and causing some disruptions for the Rebels on the offensive end. In response Sune Swart began to find her rhythm, while Ashleigh Munns dropped back-to-back threes, and Megan Haines contributed a tough and-1 finish, to help the Rebels go on an 11-point run and go up by 14 points. A quick 7 point response from Durham closed the gap, but continued sharp shooting from Ashleigh Munns helped the Rebels enter the half up by 12 points.
The Rebels started the second half with a Sune Swart shot, a strong finish at the rim by Tia Freeman, and another put back layup by Sune to give her a double-double already on the day. With a long three from Alex Naessens to put the Rebels up 20, the only answer from Durham seemed to come from Elle Hendershot, who had all 7 points for Durham in the first seven minutes of the quarter, followed by Goretti Hurtado Barbeito who scored four points from the foul line in the final three minutes of the quarter to combine for the 11 points scored by the visitors in the quarter. However, it was a much different fourth quarter compared to the rest of the game, with Durham scoring 16 points in the first five minutes and the Rebels struggling to put any points on the board. After their lead shrunk to just 9 points, Sune Swart came up with a massive offensive rebound and put back for the Rebels, and Tia Freeman added two important foul shots off a steal to provide some much needed breathing room and help the Rebels across the finish line with a final score of 75-63.
Head Coach Tom Sadler had this to say about his team’s performance, “I thought overall it was a great team win. Everyone who stepped on the floor contributed in some way and I hope it gives us more confidence on the individual and team level moving forward. We haven’t been in a situation where we had a decent lead and we definitely took our foot off the pedal in the fourth which is something we will discuss and address during film this week. But for now, I want us to focus on the positives and continue to build on those aspects.”
*Sune Swart – 16 points, 14 rebounds, 2 assists
*Alexa Naessens – 12 points, 4 rebounds
*Ashleigh Munns – 11 points, 2 assists
*Tia Freeman – 11 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds
*Megan Haines – 10 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists
*Jessica Wayne – 22 points, 11 rebounds, 3 steals
*Elle Hendershot – 18 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists
*Goretti Hurtado Barbeito – 13 points, 5 rebounds