MAYVILLE - Though a thick fog had rolled in over the hills and enveloped Chautauqua Lake Central School, making visibility outside dicey at best, inside the friendly confines of the school's gymnasium the view was anything but murky.
The vista, however, was far from pretty - not for the visiting Franklinville Lady Panthers, that is.
Like the heavy fog outside, Chautauqua Lake's full-court pressure defense descended on Franklinville with terrible inevitability, creating, during the first quarter alone, 14 turnovers (in the first 17 attempted Franklinville offensive trips) and delivering the figurative knockout punch just eight minutes into the contest.
Chautauqua Lake’s Tara Hunt, left, and Jessica Herrington apply the pressure to Franklinville’s Linnea Pollock during Friday night’s Division 2 game. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photo by Rob Tucker
"We made some adjustments after our last game and early on I really liked what I saw tonight," Chautauqua Lake coach Eric Schuster said of the press that held Franklinville scoreless for the first two minutes of play. "We just have to keep working on it because it is the biggest part of our game. It's what generates our offense."
With the steals and turnovers coming in bunches, Jenna Einink scored six of her team's first 10 points during an early 10-2 run to start the game and netted 11 of 20 in the first quarter as the Lady Thunderbirds rolled to a 54-25 Division 3 victory over the Lady Panthers on Friday evening.
Einink, who like most of the other starters sat the final 10 minutes of the contest, would finished with 19 points, nine rebounds and five steals in the victory while teammate Lauren Cummings delivered her first double-double of the season thanks to a season-high 12 points and 10 rebounds and Ashton Albanesius chipped in with nine points and 10 boards.
The victory was the eighth in as many tries for the Lady Thunderbirds this season, and it improved their Division-3 mark to a perfect 4-0.
In its eight wins this season, Chautauqua Lake has won by an average margin of 21 points. The decision in this one was similarly decisive, thanks largely to a minor alteration in the press made by Schuster prior to tipoff.
"We decided to move Jenna up (in the press)," he explained, "because she finishes for us. She had been playing back (behind the halfcourt line), but we pushed her up tonight and I thought she did very well with it."
Einink hit a pair of free throws after being fouled on a fast break 30 seconds into play, then connected on four quick points from the paint that, along with a Courtney Hewes (five points) steal and layup and a Tara Hunt offensive putback, gave Chautauqua Lake a 10-2 lead midway through the frame.
After a free throw by Franklinville's Anna O'Neal, who finished with a team-high 10 points, that advantage would balloon to 16 points as the Lady Thunderbirds put together a 7-0 spree to end the quarter with a commanding 20-5 cushion.
The press off in the second, Chautauqua Lake's offense slowed somewhat and managed just nine points. But while the offense may not have been as high powered, the now half-court defense remained stifling, holding Franklinville to a mere three points (Shelby Reynolds found the bottom of the net off an offensive rebound 27 seconds into the period and O'Neal hit a free throw four minutes later) to lead by 21 at the break, 29-8.
One more decisive quarter - the Lady Thunderbirds outscored Franklinville, 17-4, and were led this time led by Ashton Albanesius, who hit five free throws in her six trips to the line - and the contest was essentially over.
It was yet another solid performance for the state's third-ranked squad for Class C; though, Schuster cautions, there remains work to be done.
"I don't know if we're the third or 30th (best team in the state)," he said. "We don't focus on it at all. What we do know is that as a team we have to keep improving every day because the ranking means nothing until the end of the year."
Chautauqua Lake will be looking to make it nine in a row on Tuesday when it hosts Pine Valley at 7:30 p.m.
O'Neal 3 4 10, Reynolds 1 0 2, Blum 0 3 3, Pfeiffer 3 0 8, Leederman 1 0 2. Totals 8 7 25.
CHAUTAUQUA LAKE (54)
Einink 8 3 19, Hewes 2 1 5, Hunt 1 1 3, Albanesius 2 5 9, Moulton 3 0 6, Cummings 6 0 12, Doyle 0 0 0, Sowinski 0 0 0, Milliman 0 0 0, Herrington 0 0 0. Totals 22 10 59.
3-point goals: Pfeiffer 2.
Franklinville5 3 4 13 - 25
Chautauqua Lake20 9 17 8 - 54
Jayvees: Franklinville won.