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Fourth Quarter Woes Sink Falcons in 54-40 Loss Against CVU

February 22, 2012

Noelle Pinard once again led the Falcons in scoring, dropping in 15 points against the Redhawks on Tuesday. (Photo Mike Olmstead)

NEWPORT–Ten seconds.
That is all it took, just ten ticks of the clock for the face the North Country-Champlain Valley Union girls basketball game to go from one direction to another.
The Falcons went from being down 37-35 with 5:30 left in the game to being down 46-35 with 5:20 left to play, thanks to the Redhawks' Sofia Lozon.
Lozon knocked down a three, the first points of the quarter, got fouled, nailed two from the line, hit for two off of a steal, got fouled again, and again made both of her shots. North Country never recovered, eventually losing the contest 54-40.
"I thought she did a great job of getting herself in the right place at the right time," said CVU coach Ute Otley of Lozon's heroics, "She capitalized on hitting her outside shots, she was great from the foul line, and I think what really turned it for us was Emily Kinneston's defense up front which got her (Lozon) those looks."
"It was definitely a blow, especially when the girls work so hard for three quarter, and you are not able to keep that composure or confidence to win" said Falcon coach Christiane Brown
As the game got underway, it looked like the eventual outcome was a foregone conclusion.
After Anna Bingham opened the contest with a three, Kinneston came back her own three, sending the Redhawks on a nine point run.
Noelle Pinard made it nine to five with two from the stripe, but after Emma Joslin missed a pair from the line, Champlain Valley pumped in another six points before a Pinard two closed the first eight minutes of action.
With the score at 14-7, injury was added to insult as Anna Bingham had left the game late in the first, and it was determined that she would not be returning to action.
"It was tough losing Anna, she is a big part of our team," said junior Desiree Coffin.
Ok, North Country was without one of it's best players, down seven, and still has three quarters to play against the top team in the state.
Quit time?
Nope.
Go time.
Joslin, like any good captain, took things upon her self to get the ball rolling for the Falcons in the second.
She drained a three for the first scoring play of the quarter. Coffin made the most of her trip to the line, making both freebies. She followed that up by getting the put-back off of a Tiffany Morin shot and it was all tied up at fourteen.
Fresh into the game, Britni Jewer made her presence felt, taking the rock from Joslin and banging home a mid-range jumper. She hit again, this time from up close, and North Country was jiving, up 18-14.
The press that had frustrated North Country in the first seemed less effective in the second, as they were able to find ways to get the ball around the red-shirted defenders, eventually forcing them to back off.
CVU scored their first points of the quarter on a Kinneston lay-up and a Kathleen Leach foul shot with less than three minutes to play in the second.
Pinard guided the Falcons the rest of the way, as she scored five points to CVU's two, and at the break it was North Country ahead of the number one seeded Redhawks 23-19.
The third quarter was close, but it seemed like CVU was just a step better than the Falcons through minutes seventeen to twenty-four.
Desiree Coffin drove through the lane for the lay-up as play got underway in the second half. Caroline Limanek and Elana Bayer-Pacht responded for the Redhawks, but Coffin would be back.
After missing two from the line, she would get the ball back and drop in to put the lead at 27-23.
A Limanek two and a pair of Kinneston free throws later the games was tied.
Pinard's long two pushed the lead back into the home team's favor at 29-27, and it was back and forth ball for the rest of the quarter.
The press that had abandoned the Redhawks in the second, made itself known again it the later stages of the third, forcing several North Country inbound passes to be converted into CVU points.
Said press was a game changer in quarter, and it allowed the visitors to take a 37-35 lead into the fourth.
Otley said simply of the press, "I though it was the difference."
As stated before, it was the Sofia Lozon show in the final quarter. The 5'2" tri-captain scored thirteen of the Redhawks' seventeen points, and she scored them all ways. She went deep, she hit close, and it was no use fouling her as she was a perfect 8/8 from the line.
North Country managed just five points the rest of the way, getting two from Coffin and a three from Jaime Kramer.
While they did lose the game, let's look at a few facts; Against the best team in Division One, North Country was A. without a top three player for seventy-six percent of the game, B. came back from a seven point deficit in the first to lead at the break, C. were down just two after three, and D. minus a very small mental lapse in the fourth, had a chance to win the contest.
Not bad. Not bad at all.
"CVU is a great team, and it is a great lesson to be learned that we can play with the greats, but we need to put in thirty-two minutes," said Brown.
Noelle Pinard led the Falcons with fifteen points, followed by Desiree Coffin with ten.
Sofia Lozon had a game high nineteen.
Now standing at 4-12, the Falcons will host BFA St. Albans on Friday for Senior Night, before closing out the regular season next Tuesday at Burlington.

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