by Jake DeLuca
The Armstrong River Hawks (8-4, 1-2) girls varsity basketball team hosted the Mars Fighting Planets (8-5, 3-0) and though the River Hawks lead 28-27 heading into half-time the River Hawks offense went cold in the third quarter giving Mars a 52-45 victory over Armstrong.
Mars and Armstrong swapped leads multiple times through the first half, with no team seeming to hold an edge over the other. That however would change in third quarter.
Mars owned the third quarter, going on an 18-3 run in the quarter to extend their lead to 45-31 heading into the fourth quarter.
River Hawks Head Coach Kirk Lorigan explained after the game the emphasis he and his team put on winning the third quarter and the bad things that happen when you do not come out of the half strong.
“We talked earlier in the year about how the third quarter is our quarter and tonight we just got outscored 18-3. If you look at a lot of scores, the team who wins that third quarter wins the basketball game. We really like to focus on that and tonight wasn’t our night and certainly wasn’t our third quarter,” Lorigan said.
Armstrong was not ready to roll over in the fourth. The River Hawks would make things interesting in the final 3:00 of the game as they brought the score to single digits. Unfortunately for Armstrong the Fightin’ Planets were able to hold on to their lead and secure the 52-45 victory.
After the game Lorigan explained his teams collapse.
“We had a twelve minute collapse. From the start of the second half we had a cut to the basket and a foul, made a free-throw which increased our lead in the first six seconds of the half and then after that we fell apart for about twelve minutes. We gave extra possessions to Mars with turnovers and we couldn’t pass or catch for ten minutes. That’s really the big thing,” Lorigan said.
The River Hawks will not be home until January 23 against Franklin Regional. In the mean time Armstrong will play three road games in a row with the first coming against Plum on Friday.