Plagued by injuries all season, the Lady Comets have had a tremendous response from the bench.
Saturday’s game with the Lakewood Rangers made clear just how well Amherst can play even in a losing effort. The 52-43 final is a credit to the Rangers’ offensive and defensive skills. Lakewood lost to the Comets 57-47 earlier this season.
The first quarter set Amherst behind 17-5, a deficit too large to overcome against a team of Lakewood’s caliber.
Ashley Hamrick scored first for Amherst after a pair of treys from Ranger Ryann Greenfield. Kamryn Dziak had the other Comets goal as the Rangers’ Christin Donahoe and Mallory Shaw went on to score two more three-pointers while Christina Kamkutis scored the first of her 13 points.
Amherst came roaring back in the second period, with Jayla Hall and Tori Small dominating the board and each sinking a pair of baskets. Hall added two foul shots and Kate Iliff made a hoop to narrow the gap to six points.
The largest stats were the rebounds in the first half. Hall pulled in eight, Small claimed four, Audrey Fayer three, with three other Comets grabbing one apiece to best the Rangers 19-15 on the boards.
“She’s a special kid,” Amherst coach Kevin Collins said of Hall. “She gets down on herself when she misses the easy ones, but she gets so many attempts, we told her you’re never going to make them all. She keeps battling. That’s what makes her special.”
The 25-19 halftime score relied on the shooting of Rangers Shaw and Kamkutis. Lakewood kept the lead after the third quarter, 34-28. Hall had three baskets and seven rebounds with Iliff hitting for another hoop. Four Rangers answered back, including a third trey by Greenfield.
The final period saw high scoring and lots of rebounding. Dziak made a three-pointer, Small sank a pair, and Hall and Roule each scored once. Hall and Small had three more rebounds each.
The Rangers’ Donahoe and Kamkutis led their team with two hoops apiece. Kamkutis also had four rebounds in the 52-43 final.
“We played hard. The last couple of weeks we’ve been going through some injuries. Today was Kamryn Dziak’s second game back. We’re going through the process of learning how to play together again,” said Collins after the game.
“We told the girls none of this matters anymore. We won 15 games this year. Now our goal is to win a division championship. We’re going to do everything we have to, to get to that point,” he said.
Scoring stats were Hall 6-4-16, Small 4-0-8, Roule 1-6-8, Dziak 2-0-5, Iliff 2-0-4, and Hamrick 1-0-2. Leading scorers for Lakewood were Greenfield 4-5-16, Kamkutis 6-1-13, and Donahoe 4-3-12.
Amherst ends the season 15-8, 11-7 in the Southwestern Conference. The girls get a buy before their first postseason game.
Carl Sullenberger | Amherst News-Times Rounding the defense of Ranger Christina Kamkutis is Sydney Roule in the second half of Saturday’s 52-43 loss to Lakewood. Roule has had a successful year, leading her team on the floor and contributing 269 points in the girls’ 15-8 season.