JOHNSTOWN - The Johnstown Lady Bills dug deep but they couldn't overcome a lackluster start in a 54-40 loss to the Queensbury Lady Spartans at Johnstown High School Friday.
The Lady Bills (6-3 overall, 4-2 Foothills) turned the ball over 13 times in the first half, many of which came in a first quarter that saw them outscored 20-6.
"We just got beat at every point both offensively and defensively," said Johnstown head coach Tim Derwin. "It's not that my girls didn't come out to play fast, it's just that Queensbury played faster and they executed."
Johnstown’s Kelsi Barnholt, left, dribbles past Kristen O’Connor (5) during Friday’s Foothills Council game at Johnstown High School. (The Leader-Herald/Shaun Anich)
Led by senior guard Nikari Carota, the Lady Spartans put space between themselves and the Lady Bills in a hurry. After Johnstown's Annie Stock flipped in a layup to kick off the scoring, Queensbury co-captain Katie Shevlin drained a three that spurred a 17-2 run for the Lady Spartans. Carota poured in seven points in the quarter, while Kelly McLaughlin rattled home two jumpers.
Jill Davis scored four points in the first quarter for Queensbury before going on to finish with a team-high 11. Stock was given the task of guarding Davis, last season's Foothills MVP. While Stock limited the 6-foot forward's effectiveness, the Lady Spartans found other ways to put the ball in the basket.
"The game plan whenever she [Davis] got it low was to dip down and get low on her," said Derwin. "Their guards really knocked it down; they made us pay for focusing so much on her."
Johnstown came out in the second quarter with a noticeable sense of urgency on the defensive end.
While Johnstown limited the Lady Spartans to just 12 points in the frame, their offense continued to remain stagnant.
Ten of Queensbury's 12 points came as part of a 10-1 scoring burst near the start of the quarter.
Johnstown's leading scorer, Hope Cerasuolo, was feeling it in the third quarter and helped to cut into the deficit. Cerasuolo hit a 3-pointer off of a steal midway through the quarter and finished with eight points in the frame. She led Johnstown with 17 overall.
The Sir Bills cut down on their turnovers significantly in the second half after struggling mightily in the early going.
They gave the ball away just four times while outscoring the Lady Spartans 25-22 in the final 16 minutes.
The Lady Bills came briefly within 10 points of Queensbury near the start of the fourth quarter after Brianna O'Rourke sank two free throws. Queensbury promptly scored seven straight, including threes by Maddie Nelson and Kristen O'Connor, to push their lead back to 17.
With the win, Queensbury remains undefeated (6-0 Foothills) in league play.
"My hat's off to Queensbury," said Derwin. "They're a great team."
Johnstown will look to rebound when they travel to Glens Falls Tuesday to take on the Lady Indians for the first time this season.
Queensbury 54, Johnstown 40
Queensbury20 12 8 14 - 54
Johnstown6 9 13 12 - 40
Davis 5-1-11, Carota 4-1-9, McLaughlin 3-1-8, Rodriguez 4-0-8, Shevlin 2-2-7, O'Connor 2-1-6, Nelson 1-0-3, Hurley 0-2-2. Totals 21-8-54.
Cerasuolo 3-10-17, Stock 3-0-6, O'Rourke 1-3-5, Anagnostopulos 1-1-4, Barnholt 1-1-4, McCoy 1-0-2, Nellis 1-0-2. Totals 11-15-40.
3 point- goals: Queensbury 4 (Shevlin, McLaughlin, Nelson, O'Connor); Johnstown 3 (Cerasuolo, Barnholt, Anagnostopulos).