By John Anderson
Auburn girls basketball began the season with a decisive 48-29 victory over Grafton last Thursday. Season openers can be very unpredictable, especially when the team had just over a week to practice together. The Rockets, however, made a quick impression that they are in it to win.
Junior Captain Emily Sarkisian put up the first basket about 40 seconds in, and Auburn led 14-8 at the end of the first quarter. In the second, the Indians were held to a single point as the home team racked up 21 more. The 35-9 halftime score made it look like a total blowout was in the making, but Ellen Kaschuluk is not that type of head coach.
Kaschuluk substitutes players regularly in any game, but with a comfortable lead, she let her bench on the court. She wants a balanced team, not one with a couple of stars, and the only way to get that is with experience. Auburn’s 13 second half points may have paled compared to 35 in the first, but experience has a price.
Grafton managed 20 points in the second with a younger defense in front of them. You do not become good at a sport by watching it from the bench. Kaschuluk said, “We need to work on composure, and that will come with experience.”
The Coach also complimented a Grafton defense which forced 21 turnovers. “We need more full court gym time at a game pace” Kaschuluk added.
The most experienced players led in points: Emily Sarkisian, 13; Erin Burke, 11; Colleen Cutting, 11; and Jess Clifford, 6. This is the type of balance Kaschuluk is looking for, and it was a nice start.
The girls face Millbury this Thursday at home.