Friday, January 26, 2024

Windham varsity girls’ basketball starts strong, but falls to Oxford Hills

By Matt Pascarella

Coming off an away win against Edward Little the night before, Windham took the court at home on Saturday, Jan. 20 against Oxford Hills where Windham started strong, but lost some of their strength and were quickly overtaken by the Vikings. The game was a real back and forth early on, until Oxford Hills pulled away in the second half and got a 41-23 win.

Windham senior Mallory Muse takes a shot from just outside 
the three-point line against Oxford Hills at Windham High
School on Saturday, Jan. 20.
Windham began the game with a three-pointer from sophomore Marley Jarvais. They rebounded well and held onto the lead in the first quarter.

Oxford Hills snagged several turnovers and closed the gap. The game was tied at 10. Windham hustled hard after the ball. It remained close for much of the first half.

“When we were communicating ... working together and slowing things down that really helped us,” said Windham senior Mallory Muse. We were all kind of tired and ... they’re a really good team but I do think when we see them again, we’ll do better. Having more time to prepare [would have turned this game around] and put our heads more into the game. When we came out in the third quarter it wasn’t our best performance, we were rushing a little bit.”

Oxford Hills pulled ahead. Windham defense kept them from advancing too much. At the half, Oxford Hills led, 20-13.

“It was a battle because we played a game yesterday,” said Windham junior Stella Jarvais. “We got back late and had a lot of mental mistakes with passing and being sure of what we were doing, being organized and that didn’t help. When we were organized and communicated, we had a lot of good looks at the basket. When we shot, we had a lot of good rebounds, when we just slow down we tend to do better. We weren’t at our best, but if we communicated and slowed things down, we would have been able to keep that lead and if we made adjustments earlier [on Oxford Hills] we would have been closer into this game than we were.”

In the second half, Windham shots weren’t falling as much, and Oxford Hills held onto the lead. Windham had good defense, but it wasn’t enough to flip the score. Windham sophomore Brianna Duarte hit a three-pointer. Windham worked to get closer to Oxford Hills’ lead.

“As a team I think we need to improve on communicating and keeping our heads up,” said Duarte. “When we make a mental mistake, it’s very hard to get back into the game and fix what we need to do. Nearing the end, I think our heads dropped a little bit because we saw that they kept scoring and we kept giving up rebounds ...and the ball. We tried staying into it, but it was very hard.

We could have made adjustments to our defense where we stopped them a little bit more because they weren’t hitting their shots in the first half.”

Windham moved the ball well in the fourth quarter, but Oxford Hills had a significant lead. Windham kept fighting. Windham sophomore Kendra Eubanks got a layup in the final seconds to close the gap a tiny bit more.

We had a good start,” said Windham varsity girls’ basketball coach Brody Artes. “We came out and had some energy in the first quarter. We defended well, rebounded well, and scored some baskets early. We got tired quick as a result of playing back-to-back for sure and Oxford Hills has a good player that took over the game midway through that second quarter. I was happy with [Windham’s] effort early on; I know the kids are tired – we just got to keep working hard to get better every day. We got to handle pressure a little bit better ... we threw the ball away quite a bit and had a lot of turnovers, we got to to value the ball a little bit more and take care of it a little bit more and it’ll put us in much better spots.” <

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