Comeback kids make it work

It hasn’t been smooth sailing for Rhinebeck’s Lady Hawks this year. But they broke the mold in a fierce match against Pine Plains last week, and now appear guaranteed a spot in the Section IX Class D playoffs.

The Hawks had lost six of eight games going into the Jan. 25 match against the Bombers in Rhinebeck.

The mold certainly didn’t seem like it was going to be broken in the first quarter of the game. Pine Plains 6’1” freshman Ashley Starzyk hung five points on the Hawks in the period, on two field goals in the paint and one foul shot. Rhinebeck had trouble containing Starzyk and finding the hoop – literally. The Hawks totaled four air-balls in the quarter. Rhinebeck came out of the quarter without a single sunk bucket, and losing 9-0.

Rhinebeck’s Samantha Cassata scored the team’s first basket of the game on a runner at 7:35, which was answered quickly by a short-range, off-the-glass field goal from Starzyk. Cassata was later swatted by Starzyk but managed a field goal by grabbing the deflection and putting it off the backboard in the paint. The Hawks began to find a rhythm by the middle of the second quarter, moving nicely off picks and coming to within four points of Pine Plains by the end of the period, 17-13.

And then the floodgates opened.

Purple’s Rachel Tigges scored a layup on an assist from Sydney Spencer to open the quarter. Pine Plains called a timeout after Rhinebeck’s Rebecca Gausephol fell on an attempted block and knocked her head on the ground. Cassata drilled a three-pointer in transition to give Rhinebeck a 22-21 lead, their first of the game. Rhinebeck decided that they wouldn’t give it back and began to put heavy, full-court pressure on the Bombers, forcing several turnovers. Cassata scored nine points on the quarter, and Rhinebeck’s Meredith Mimoso scored five to help send the team into the fourth quarter leading 33-23.

Pine Plains made no serious advance on the lead in the last quarter. Rhinebeck’s Spencer put down two field goals, freshman Natalie Hutchins contributed one, and Pine Plains could only manage five points, three from Starzyk and two from Brooke Hapemen.

Rhinebeck took the game 39-28. Cassata led all scorers with 15 points; Starzyk led Pine Plains with 14.

According to Rhinebeck head coach Marc Burg, the win over Pine Plains guarantees a spot in the Section IX Class D playoffs; Coleman Catholic currently leads the division with an 8-0 in-division record.

“Coming back from nine down, that was great. And we have a great rivalry with Pine Plains,” Burg told The Observer after the game, “I think everybody played really well. Rachel Tigges played well on defense, Sam Cassata hit some big shots, and Meredith (Mimoso) controlled the game for us, so I thought that it was a great team win for everybody.”
Rhinebeck’s next game was at Germantown Jan. 29. Purple’s next game against a divisional opponent will be at home, hosting 9-3 Coleman Catholic at 5:45pm on Feb. 5.

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