by Jake DeLuca
The Armstrong River Hawks (7-3) girls varsity basketball team hosted the Hampton Talbots (8-1), the #1 seeded WPIAL team in a game that went down to the wire and came down to a few free throws at the end of the fourth quarter.
The game started a bit shaky for the River Hawks as Hampton started the game with a 7-0 run before Armstrong scored their first points. Hampton would ride that 7 point lead out of the first quarter leading 18-11.
Since the first quarter started with a surge from the Talbots, Armstrong only felt it to be right to get off to a hot start in the second quarter. The River Hawks opened the quarter with a 5-0 run forcing a Hampton timeout with Armstrong down 18-16 with around 5:00 remaining in the first half.
Hampton would however ignite their offense and take a 6-point lead into half time up 35-29.
The second half of the game was where things started to get more interesting. At the end of the third quarter Armstrong found themselves down only three points, 47-44.
River Hawks Head Coach spoke after the game on the adjustments he made during the game.
“We came out and ran some man (defense) and nobody has ran man against (Hampton) all year and we thought we could get after them with our man a little bit. They got to the basket some early and once we made that adjustment to zone I think we frustrated them a little bit and they stopped shooting the ball as well . Even in our man they were shooting 65%, so we made that adjustment, talked about getting to the shooters and it kept us in the game,” Lorigan said.
The River Hawks held a 49-48 lead for a short time in the fourth before the Talbots reclaimed their lead and finished the game at the free throw line for the 59-55 win.
The difference in the game according to Lorigan was the free throw shooting.
“We were a little disappointed, we have been working at that (free throw shooting) it’s been a weakness throughout the two years here and we have done a lot of different things to adjust what we’re doing in practice and adjusting things to get mentally stronger. I have seen some gains, but it certainly was a weakness tonight and I think the difference in the game,” Lorigan said.
Armstrong will look to get back into the win column after dropping back-to-back games when they host Kiski on Thursday.