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Bartlett 66, Neuqua Valley 61
By Neil Shalin | Daily Herald Correspondent
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Published: 1/19/2008 12:46 AM

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The visiting Bartlett girls basketball won a basketball game over Upstate Eight Conference rival Neuqua Valley Friday, and the Hawks seemed to have been victorious in a Rugby match as well.

In a contest that featured 51 fouls, which were almost evenly distributed between the two sides and numerous turnovers, the Hawks kept their poise, made their free throws and defeated the Wildcats 66-61.

"Our defensive intensity was the key tonight," said Bartlett coach Denise Sarna. "We hadn't played solid team defense like that for a whole game all season. We did a good job of forcing them to make turnovers."

For Neuqua Valley (10-11, 2-4) it was another disappointment in what has, thus far, been a season of ups and downs.

"It's like a roller coaster," said Neuqua Valley coach Mike Williams. "We've had a stretch of great games and then we do something like this. We missed a lot of opportunities on offense. We'd make a steal and miss and they score two. And then do it again and again. And that's a six-point swing. Bartlett was crashing the boards hard. They took advantage of our mistakes."

The Wildcats trailed by only 1 point at halftime, and even pulled ahead 37-36 with three minutes to go in the third quarter, but the Hawks (7-14, 3-4) bounced back and led 45-40 at the end of the period.

Bartlett would not let the Wildcats any closer as Sam Salinas scored 9 of her 10 points in the final period and freshman center Jacki Gulczynski scored 6 and continued to control the boards as she had throughout the game.

Gulczynski finished with 15 points and a game-high 15 rebounds.

"The greatest thing we did was break their press," said Gulczynski. "When we got past the front of the press, we attacked the basket. We got a bunch of three-on-two and two-on one opportunities, and we made them."

Alexa Tovella led the balanced Bartlett scoring attack with 16, while Katie Koster added 10 points. Christina Carlson did a great job off the bench, scoring 9 points.

"We shuffled in a few guards and they did a great job handling the Neuqua pressure," said Sarna. "And our free throw shooting was good. Our strategy was to deny their transition game and get them into a half-court game."

She cited guards Tovella, Koster, Salinas and Becca Cronin for keeping their composure in the tight, physical game.

Beth Goldberg led Neuqua with 17 points including three 3-pointers, and Danielle Davis scored 12. Jenna Marsalli was strong off the bench with 9 points.