MAYFIELD - The depth of the Galway roster and a 15-for-22 performance at the free-throw line proved to be undoing for the Mayfield girls basketball team.
The Golden Eagles' ability to keep fresh legs on the floor for an up-tempo press that wore on the Mayfield players as they dropped the Western Athletic Conference North contest 45-34 Wednesday night at Mayfield High School.
"That's the tempo we try to do, get up the floor, push and try to beat their press," Mayfield coach Brian Moore said. "Our difficulty was when they were setting their full court press up and we weren't getting the ball up court. When we were getting the ball up court, we were down 10 or 11 [seconds] on the shot clock so we weren't able to get into our offense and get the looks. They are deep with 14 girls on the roster and at times they were subbing four or five girls at a time so they could keep up that tempo and push."
Galway's Erica Chase (30) challenges Mayfield's Alex Sheldon (3) as she puts up a shot during Wednesday's Western Athletic Conference game at Mayfield High School. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)
Galway got into an early rhythm by aggressively bringing the ball up court and working it inside, often drawing a foul.
The first five points on the board by the Golden Eagles came from Abby Spagnola converting on 5-of-6 attempts at the free-throw line to open a 5-0 just over three minutes into the game.
Mayfield hit for the first field goals of the game, a pair of baskets by Jen Little to cut the Galway lead to 5-4
However, the Golden Eagles got baskets from Erica Chase, Felicia Snyder and Amanda Gould to close out the opening period with a 6-2 run and take an 11-6 lead.
The Lady Panthers quickly erased that lead with Kylie Manoogian hitting a 3-pointer and a basket to tie the game at 11 less than a minute into the second period.
Mayfield took its first lead of the game, 13-11, on free throws from Killian Horney and Alex Sheldon.
The lead was short-lived as Spagnola finished a three-point play to put the Golden Eagles back in front, 14-13.
Galway took the pace of the game to a sprint from one end of the floor to the other, triggering an 8-2 four-minute run to build a 22-15 halftime advantage.
"We thrive on bringing it down and pass to somebody underneath," Galway coach Deb Wilday said. "Just sometimes we go a little too fast. If we can pull it back a little and slow it down just a little bit sometimes it works best."
The teams exchanged baskets early in the third period before Galway used a basket and a free throw from Chase and a putback from Tegan Matthews to open a 33-21 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The Lady Panthers dug in and made a run early in the fourth quarter.
With Jen Little hitting for a pair of baskets to go with a field goal from Nicole Little and a 3-pointer by Cailey Meca, Mayfield cut the Golden Eagles' lead from 12 to 6, with 2:10 left to play.
However, after not hitting a field goal but going 4-for-9 from the free-throw line during that stretch, the Golden Eagles hit their first basket of the quarter, a layup to finish off a steal by Chase, for a 39-30 lead with 1:37 left on the clock. Paige Galloway Hammond added another quick basket for Galway off a turnover before Manoogian and Meca hit baskets to bring the lead back to seven, 41-34, with 30-seconds left.
However, as she did to start the game, Spagnola converted on four free throws in the final seconds to close out the 45-34 victory.
"We have a nice group of girls and all 11 got good playing time and experience today and did a good job with it," Wilday said. "Mayfield has certainly improved and were shooting the eyes out of the basket today. I give Brian a lot of credit; he has brought his girls a long way, we just had a little more firepower today."
Spagnola finished the game with 14 points including a 10-for-11 effort at the free-throw line. Chase added nine points and eight rebounds, while Williams pulled down five rebounds, four of which came on the offensive boards.
"They got to the line 22 times today and we got there six," Moore said. "They did a good job getting the ball inside and drawing the contact. We did our best to get the ball inside and get the contact but a lot of times we had a bad angle on the shot and didn't get it."
Manoogian led Mayfield with nine points, including a 3-pointer, while Jen Little had eight and Sheldon finished with seven points.
"Our girls fought and gave it all they had. They are a good team and earned all the respect to them," Moore said. "If a few shots had fallen a little bit differently for us we could have been right in there in the end. They [Galway] were getting a lot of looks every time. We are still working every single day on boxing out and the girls are improving every day and are fighting. It is going to come. We are still a young team in a lot of ways. This was a good test for us. We are moving in the right direction."
Mayfield (4-8 overall) will travel to face Canajoharie on Friday.
Galway 45, Mayfield 34
Galway11 11 11 12 - 45
Mayfield8 9 6 13 - 34
Galloway 1-1-3, Gould 3-1-7, Matthews 1-0-2, Spagnola 2-10-14, Ritter 2-0-4, Chase 3-3-9, Milton 1-0-2, Snyder 2-0-4. Totals: 15-15-45.
Meca 2-0-5, Sheldon 3-1-7, J. Little 4-0-8, N. Little 1-0-2, Manoogian 4-0-9, Horney 1-1-3. Totals: 15-2-34.
3-point goals: Galway none; Mayfield 2 (Meca, Manoogian).