By: Dylan O'Loughlin
Brockport NY — A dominant fourth quarter by Zairea Hannah helped Brockport stop the Blue Devils late run and give Brockport a 78-71 win. A great bounce-back offensive performance after putting up their lowest-scoring game of the season this past Saturday against Potsdam.
Zairea Hannah (#30) making her move in the post (Photo Credits: Brockport Athletics)
After the underwhelming performance against Potsdam, Brockport head coach Corrine Jones decided to go with a starting lineup of Mandy Brink, Kelsey Morgans, Anna Lee, Hali Lucia, and Zoe Zutes. A lineup without the key factors of Stephanie Jean-Baptiste and Hannah. It got off to a great start thanks to the scoring of the freshman Brink. Brink was able to start her scoring strong with some tough finishes and also knocked down a couple of threes to have 11 points at halftime.
"She's not a freshman," Hannah said. "It's like she's been here, she knows the game, she knows how to play, she can adapt quickly, and I'm really proud of her."
Freshman Mandy Brink (#3) being guarded by freshman Grace Alexander (#23)
It was a battle of the freshman in the first half though as Fredonia freshman Grace Alexander kept up her scoring production on the season. She was able to put up 11 points in the first half as well. Freshman Payton Gilbert also led in scoring in the first half as she had eight points. Along with her scoring, Gilbert played great defense on the bigs Zoe Zutes and Hannah, holding them to six points and two points, respectively. Fredonia earned multiple second-chance opportunities with 10 offensive rebounds, but found themselves down seven at the half, 41-34.
"We need a little more effort, a little more grit," Jones said. "Sometimes we are out there without Zoe and Z (Zairea) at the same time, so we got to have our smaller players use bigger heart."
The Golden Eagles have been struggling in the second half in recent games, and it was more of the same today. In the third, Brockport could not get any shots to fall, only hitting four of 14 shots in the quarter. For Fredonia, it was the opposite, Allie Wandell was able to put up seven points in the quarter then Caitlin Snyder and Kyla Smith got a couple of buckets too. Fredonia was able to win the quarter 16-10 and cut the lead to one, 51-50 heading into the fourth.
After the run Fredonia went on, Hannah took over the game. The Golden Eagles started the fourth with an 8-0 run all coming from the hands of Hannah. Brink also knocked down a couple of shots along with a three by Lee that gave Brockport a 15-point lead in the fourth with 4:23 remaining.
Feeling confident, Jones decided to put in the bench squad as it was close to over, but a full-court press brought by the starters of the Blue Devils changed the trajectory. Thanks to a few turnovers and a few fouls they were able to cut the lead. Then after a couple of threes from Alexander, which gave her 19 points in the game, and Wandell making her moves towards the basket that gave her 20 on the day, Fredonia cut the lead to single digits.
After the final push by Fredonia, Jones put the starters back in and they went to work. Lee was able to hit a clutch three to start the scoring then Hannah went to work again as Brockport was able to break the press and hit Hannah in the paint for a few more layups giving her 16 points on the day. 14 of them came in the fourth along with hauling in 14 rebounds that gave her a double-double. Brink got a career high of 16 points and Lee finished with 12 despite recent scoring struggles, they gave Brockport the win. Hannah hopes the team can keep playing like this down the stretch heading to playoffs.
Anna Lee (#24) getting ready to shoot her free throws (Photo Credits: Brockport Athletics)
“Honestly just keeping up with the same things we are doing,” Hannah said. “Moving the ball, just being the team that pushes each other through when playing higher teams. I think we just have to do the same thing, but at a higher level.”
Brockport now improves to 8-7 on the season and back to .500 in SUNYAC play at 4-4 while the Blue Devils fall to 7-6, 2-4 in the conference, and are now on a three-game losing streak. The Golden Eagles hope to carry this momentum as they make the short road trip to Geneseo this Saturday at 2 p.m.