By John Anderson
With three loses in a row during the past two weeks, the Rockets were looking for a win. They found it on Saturday when Pittsfield came to town. The Generals had to board the bus with a 61-49 loss behind them, and the Rockets can move forward.
Auburn’s 58-50 loss to Shepherd Hill on the 10th and 53-46 loss to Quaboag on the 16th were both competitive games. It was the runaway game last Thursday that nearly broke the girls’ spirit. Nashoba won 83-54 after grabbing a quick lead and never looking back.
Less then four minutes into the game, the Chieftains had a 13-2 lead which grew to 25-8 by the end of the first period. Nashoba’s aggressive defense included numerous steals and forced turnovers. The visitors had a 53-22 lead at the half.
The Chieftain defense came at a cost since a third of Auburn’s points were made from the foul line, but it doesn’t matter when you’re scoring 30 points in 3-point shots.
Erin Burke lead Auburn with 11 points and 10 rebounds while Lyndsey Gabrielian shot 10 points including one three.
Without 3-pointers, Pittsfield would not have been in Saturday’s game at all. 21 of the Generals’ 49 points came from downtown, and one of their coaches said “their game” is a 3-point game.
Freshman Peyton Steinman logged 30 points during the contest including four of the 3’s. Pittsfield’s only other significant scorer was Trinity Cookis who had 11 points including the other three 3’s.
Per usual, Auburn had a nice distribution of points with Amber Abderrazzaq in the lead at 14. Lyndsey Gabriellian had 11 with one 3; Emily Sarkissian had 9 with one 3, and Erin Burke had 8.
Defensively, Gabriellian and Burke each had 9 rebounds which really kept the Generals in check. At the end of the first half, the Rockets were up 27-13. Pittsfield made a push in the second have, and Auburn collected 9 fouls in the process.
The Generals often showed their frustration through overaggressive play and ended the game with 13 fouls. The Rockets got over a quarter of their points in free throws.
Jackie Matthews missed this game due to an academic conflict, and Coach Ellen Kaschuluk had some JV players on the bench to help out. Jess Clifford, Shannon Hynes, and Colleen Cutting all got time, and these minutes build their skills for the next game.
Kaschuluk said, “We needed this win. It was refreshing to play a team we’ve never played and know nothing about.” She added, “This was a nice new start for us.”
The Rockets are 9-4 and need one more win to be playoff eligible. That will hopefully happen tonight when they face Bartlett in Webster.