AMHERST - It wasn`t smooth. It wasn`t polished. And that wasn`t a surprise. Amherst-Magnificat basketball match-ups are typically of the rough-and-tumble order.Â
Junior guard Olivia Sliman and senior forward Courtney Jarvis made sure the Comets maintained the upper hand throughout, leading their team in scoring and rebounding en route to a season-openingÂ 51-40 win.
Sliman led Amherst with 14 points and Jarvis tossed in 13. Jarvis keyed Amherst`s 40-32 rebounding advantage with 15 boards. Blue Streak junior guard Meredith McConville of Bay Village led Magnificat with 11 points.
"When we start hitting a few snags, we simply need to remind ourselves to relax and refocus," said Jarvis. "When we start flying around on the floor is when we start to struggle. Once we relaxed and got our first-game jitters out, that`s when we started making our shots."
For most of the game, it was a pretty bumpy ride.
Amherst shot only 13 percent (1 of 8) from the floor in the second quarter as Magnificat rallied from 12-point deficit late in the first quarter to trail by only six at halftime, 24-18.
"The big thing for us is that we have to pace ourselves. We need to stay out of foul trouble and not go kamikaze like we tend to do," said Sliman.
Jarvis scored three of Amherst`s five third quarter baskets as the Comets pushed their lead back to 12 (33-21) with 2:48 left in the third stanza. Magnificat refused to go away.
The Blue Streaks answered with a 10-2 scoring run to make the hometown faithful sweat. Senior guard Kristen DuBroy`s 3-pointer with 5:05 left in the game cut the deficit to four, 35-31.
Amherst came roaring back with an 11-0 run over the next three minutes to pull away,
"We owed them one from volleyball season," said Jarvis. "They beat us in the regional finals for volleyball, plus the season opener for volleyball. We owed them."
Senior Brittany Cruz had a pair of 3-pointers for Amherst during the fourth quarter run. Jarvis had a key three-point play with 3:47 left for a 41-31 Amherst lead.
"We got into foul trouble early and had to weather the storm in the second quarter," said Amherst coach John Rositano. "We took care of the ball for the most part, and we defended fairly well. We held their best player, Kristen DuBroy, to only six points.
"If you defend a team`s best player like that, you`re going to give your team a chance to win. It was a good first game."
It`s the third year in a row the two teams opened the season against each other. Magnificat won a two-point verdict last year after Amherst won at home in the 2005-06 opener. The Blue Streaks finished 11-10 last year and the Comets 16-7.
"I thought their quickness hurt us at times but when you rebound like we did, you`re going to win a lot of games," said Rositano. "Any time you beat Mags, it`s a good win. We`re happy. We were two weeks late getting started because of volleyball season running later. The girls are winners. They don`t get flustered down the stretch."
Neither team shot very well, but Amherst improved the second half, shooting 39 percent after intermission (11 of 28. They connected on only 6 of 22 (27 percent) in the first half.
"We didn`t do a good job taking care of the basketball, especially in the end," said Magnificat`s third-year coach Meghann Hubach. "Amherst came out with some hard defensive pressure. That took us out of our sets and forced us to hurry up our offense and do things with the basketball that we didn`t want to do."
Amherst 51, Magnificat 40
MAGNIFICAT (40): Meghan Curran 1-2-4, Kristen DuBroy 1-3-6, Devon Hall 1-1-3, Mary Hyland 1-0-2, Kerri Kramer 1-4-6, Lauren Marvinney 2-2-6, Meredith McConville 4-0-11, Kristen Schafer 1-0-2. Totals 12-12-40.
AMHERST (51): Ashley Aponte 2-2-7, Brittany Cruz 2-1-7, Bridgette Cruz 0-1-1, Olivia Sliman 4-6-14, Miranda Szucs 2-1-5, Courtney Jarvis 5-3-13, Bridget Beury 2-0-4, Lizzie Soto 0-0-0. Totals 17-14-51.
MagnificatÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 8Â Â Â 10Â Â Â 8Â 14Â Â - Â 40
AmherstÂ 17Â 7Â 9Â 18Â - Â 51
Three-point goals: Magnificat 4 of 13 (McConville 3, DuBroy); Amherst 3 of 10 (Brittany Cruz 2, Aponte). Field goals: Magnificat 12 of 38 (32 percent); Amherst 17 of 50 ( ey 8); Amherst 40 (Jarvis 15). Turnovers: Magnificat 20; Amherst 17. Total fouls: Magnificat 24; Amherst 22. Fouled out: Magnificat (DuBroy).
Junior varsity: Magnificat, 44-14.
Contact Paul Heyse at 329-7137 or email@example.com.