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By Rob Jonas

-Tamarac 62 -Mohonasen 38


Tamarac Girls

(Tamarac Girls)


ROTTERDAM – It took some time for the Tamarac girls basketball team to get into a rhythm on offense. Once they did, the Bengals never looked back.


Tamarac went on a 23-7 run in the second quarter and steadily pulled away for a 62-38 victory over Mohonasen Thursday, Nov. 30, in a non-league game.


Every Tamarac starter played a role in the victory. Junior guard Emily Erickson scored seven of her team-high 13 points in the first quarter. Junior forward Renna Poulin and senior guard Kayla Doody combined for 13 points during the Bengals' second quarter burst. Junior guard Liz Machnick and senior forward Tina Ray netted 13 of Tamarac's 16 points in the third quarter.


“We definitely have a good overall team,” said Erickson. “We get everyone involved.”


“I tell them every game you can't just have two scorers. You need all five players to be involved,” said Tamarac coach Curt Bailey. “We like our kids to take the open shots when they have them.”


Mohonasen (0-1) played the physical, aggressive defense that is the hallmark of Suburban Council teams, but its offense lagged behind – a by-product of the team's inexperience. The Mighty Warriors hurried their shots, and as Tamarac's lead grew, they started passing the ball wildly, which led to several turnovers.


“We got into that mentality of trying to make it all up with one shot, and you can't do that,” said Mohonasen coach Doug Holden, who started two sophomores, two juniors and a freshman in the opener. “You have to get defensive stops.”


“We always expect them to be more aggressive because they play bigger schools than we do,” said Erickson. “But, we don't get too nervous because we have that experience. We just play our game.”


Tamarac's defense had a lot to do with Mohonasen's offensive struggles, as well. The Bengals stuck to their assignments and made the Mighty Warriors fight for nearly every shot.


“That's really been our forte,” said Bailey. “I tell them every single game, the only thing you can rely on is your defense. They had some nice shooters, and we did a nice job of closing in on them.”


Mohonasen started the game strong, scoring the first five points and not allowing a Tamarac field goal until shortly after the midway point of the first quarter. Erickson single-handedly changed the momentum with a personal 7-1 run – capped with an open three-pointer – to give the Bengals an 8-6 advantage, but the Mighty Warriors ended the opening stanza on a 5-1 spurt to regain a two-point advantage.


Mohonasen stayed with Tamarac through the first three minutes of the second quarter, tying the score at 16-16 on Ava Fasolino's three-pointer. A short jump shot off the glass from Poulin and Erickson's second three-pointer of the night proved to be the beginning of the end, though. By the time the halftime buzzer sounded, the Bengals were ahead 32-18.


“They work really well together,” Holden said of Tamarac (2-0), which defeated Fonda-Fultonville in its season opener. “Curt (Bailey) is a very good coach. His teams always play well.”


Junior guard Jordyn Caldwell and sophomore forward Bre Lott each scored seven points to lead Mohonasen's offense. Caldwell also directed traffic and was one of Mohonasen's most active defenders, but foul trouble limited her playing time.


“She makes people uncomfortable and forces them to make mistakes,” Holden said of Caldwell, who fouled out midway through the fourth quarter. “She's very good off the ball.”


Tamarac is off until Friday, Dec. 8 when it travels to Berlin for the last of its three non-league road games to start the season.


“I'd like for us to get out of the gate (quickly),” said Bailey. “That's why we're starting with three away games. I want to see how they react to hostile environments.”


Mohonasen begins its Suburban Council schedule Tuesday, Dec. 5, against Bethlehem in Rotterdam.


(Mohonasen Girls) 



 (Tamarac's Emily Erickson)



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