The Falcons (3-2 overall, 1-0 PCL) starting backcourt

By David Carducci Record-Courier staff writer Published:

The Falcons (3-2 overall, 1-0 PCL) starting backcourt of Ashley Ball and Becky Shanafelt deserve much of the credit for the run.

After Crestwood had pulled to within six points, 42-36, on a pair of free throws by Erin Hennicke with 5:05 left in the game, Field started its run by turning two quick turnovers into a pair of breakaway layups by Ball.

Shanafelt followed by scoring four quick points on two free throws and another breakaway layup after a steal by center Andrea Bolton.

Ball and Shanafelt had just returned to the game after a long rest on the bench in which the Falcons second unit managed to maintain a lead of at least six points.

"A lot of that run had to do with the play of our second unit," said Field coach Jerry Clemens. "They kept the ship afloat for much of (the third and fourth quarters) and that allowed the starters to get 10 or 15 minutes rest. Then, when they came back in, they really picked us up a little bit."

Forward Holli Fulkerson finished the run, scoring on an offensive rebound and adding a foul shot to give Field its largest lead of the game, 53-36, with 3:12 to play.

Before the scoring spree, Crestwood looked like it was prepared to challenge the Falcons despite trailing dramatically in almost every statistical category.

The Red Devils were out-rebounded 53-34 in the game. They committed 25 turnovers to Field's 12. And they sent the Falcons to the foul line 27 times, compared to only 12 visits for themselves.

Yet an eight-point advantage Field held at the end of the third quarter, 41-33, was the largest advantage to that point.

And Crestwood opened the quarter as if it was prepared to cut back into that lead.

The Red Devils held the Falcons without a field goal for the first 3:25 of the final quarter, but, hurt by four consecutive missed free throws, they could only manage to cut two points off the lead.

Until the fourth quarter, Crestwood's freshman sensation Megan Urban did her best to keep the Red Devils close.

The 6-foot varsity rookie held her own against Field's strong inside game, scoring eight points in the first half, and then adding another eight in the third quarter alone.

For the game, Urban totaled a team-high 17 points.

"Megan has fit in very well to our varsity scheme," said Crestwood coach Loren Barkhurst. "She has fit in very well and very quickly. She plays with a lot of desire and always gives her best effort, whether she is posting up or playing defense. She really came through with a solid game. We're expecting her to continue to come through like she did."

She will have to do just that to help Crestwood continue to compete without starting point guard Jessa Byrnes-Ellenberger.

A knee injury suffered in a game Saturday kept last season's leading scorer out of Monday's game, and could keep her out even longer.

"She is going in for an MRI(today),"said Barkhurst. "She does have torn ligaments in the knee, but we are not sure of the extent ... I think our best hope is that she'll be out a minimum of two weeks."

With the Red Devils top ballhandler absent, Field focused its attention on trying to create pressure with a halfcourt trap.

"We used the trap in the first two games, but when we found out (Byrnes-Ellenberger) wasn't going to play, we knew we were going to do it," said Clemens. "That was definitely a big advantage for us, because she is such a tremendous player. You hate to see a player like that go down."

Field was led by Ball and Shanafelt, who scored 13 and 12 points, respectively.

Fulkerson and Bolton each added nine points and helped the Falcons dominate under the boards.

"We have girls who like to go after the ball,"said Clemens. "They take great pride in it. We stress defense and a big part of that is rebounding. They showed a lot of hustle ... and that made a big difference."

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