Girls basketball: Competition heats up for Barlow

After two relatively easy non-league games in the first week of the season, the Joel Barlow High girls varsity basketball team got a test of the real competition when it faced a pair of fellow South-West Conference opponents.

The Falcons had their hands full right from the start when they took on Brookfield on Tuesday, Dec. 18. Things did not get easier as the night continued in a 44-29 loss at home.

Barlow struggled offensively for most of the night. Trailing 14-8 after one quarter, it was looking at an 11-point deficit at halftime.

“We had trouble finishing play,” said Barlow head coach Joe Carollo. “We need to turn it around.”

The Falcons fared a little better at the start of the second half and were still within striking distance after three frames (33-25) but missed shots and turnovers hurt their chances of making a comeback.

Drew Bartro was the only Barlow players to score in double digits, netting 12 points. Victoria Shea sank seven and Emma Gallagher scored five. Katie Willgies and Sarah McAniff scored three and two respectively.

Traveling to Fairfield three days later, the Falcons were hoping for better things when they faced Notre Dame. Although things went their way for three of the four quarters all it took was one period gone wrong to spoil their chances as they lost 54-36.

“We just made some mental and physical mistakes,” said Carollo. “I still can’t put my finger on one definitive problem.”

Barlow got off to a seemingly good start, holding a slim 8-6 lead after one frame. It was the second that proved to be their undoing.

Between missed lay-ups and turnovers the Falcons struggled offensively. A field goal and a free throw by Shea accounted for their only points during the quarter.

On the other end the Lancers were paced by a 27-point effort, including 11 by Amber James as the hosts went up 33-11 at halftime.

Barlow changed its defense in the second half, which helped to some extent but the Lancers still led 48-22 at the end of three quarters. The visitors had their best offensive effort in the fourth but not enough to climb out of the hole.

Bartro and McAniff (one three-pointer) each scored nine points for Barlow. Williges had seven and Shea sank five.

Gillian Blackwell, Kelly Kahoney and Kelly Gilbert all netted two apiece.

The Falcons, now 2-2 overall, host Platt Tech on Saturday at 2 p.m. and are home to Masuk on Wednesday at 7.

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