Lady Spartans win Bellows Falls tournament

It took a holiday trip to Vermont for the Amity girls basketball team to finally notch its first win of the season.

After getting off to an 0-5 start, the Lady Spartans finally tasted success in the first round of the Bellows Falls High Holiday Tournament.

Amity broke its losing streak with a 51-19 win over the host Terriers last Tuesday.

The following night, Amity came back to also defeat Arlington-Vt. 37-31 in the championship game.

Against Bellow Falls, Amity coach Doug Fortune chose to come out with heavy full-court pressure, hoping to confuse the Terriers (0-6), force turnovers and create scoring opportunities in transition.

That plan worked to perfection as the Lady Spartans took advantage of several Bellows Falls turnovers to jump out to a 13-2 lead. By the end of the first half, Amity extended its advantage to 28-6.

“Once we had the big lead, we took the press off in the second half and went to a half-court game,” Fortune said. “We still kept things rolling and ran our offense very crisply during the second half.”

Sophomore guard Alyssa Mirmina led Amity with a game-high 12 points. Nkenge Blue added 11, while Jenn Post had nine points and 16 rebounds.

Facing stiffer competition from Arlington (which came in with a 2-1 record and averaged 55 points a game) in the finals, Amity once again focused its efforts on playing aggressive, pressure defense.

The Eagles jumped ahead 9-6 in the first quarter but Amity bounced back with a 13-6 second quarter to grab a 19-15 halftime lead.

“Their man-to-man defense frustrated us early in the game,” Fortune said. “We couldn’t get proper spacing. Fortunately, our offensive play improved in the second quarter and our defensive pressure began to pay off with turnovers that we converted into baskets that put us ahead.

“We saw that Arlington had a small bench so we kept up our defensive pressure, hoping to wear them down. That’s exactly what happened. They ran out of gas while we had more gas left in our tank.”

Post scored five points in the third quarter to keep Amity ahead 27-22.

The Eagles stayed with Amity and trailed by only a point (31-30) but Mirmina hit a key 3-pointer that gave the Lady Spartans some breathing room with a 34-30 lead.

Amity (2-5) also converted five foul shots down the stretch.

Blue added 11 points while Post scored seven points and grabbed 11 rebounds.