Mallards Fall to Eagles, 43-31

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BERLIN- Despite a couple of rallies to cut their deficit on Tuesday, Worcester Prep’s girls’ varsity basketball team fell to Seaford Christian, 43-31, to drop their fifth straight game to start the season.

The Mallards hung with the Eagles for the most part on Tuesday, matching them point for point during several stretches of the game, but a couple of prolonged scoring droughts proved the be their undoing. So far this season, Worcester has shown the ability to score in transition when the defense forces turnovers and fast break opportunities, but the shooters haven’t found the ability to consistently score in the set offense, which has led to an 0-5 start.

The same formula unfolded on Tuesday when the Mallards hosted Seaford Christian. Both teams swapped baskets in the early going with neither team getting any real separation. Seaford led 16-13 with just over four minutes remaining in the second quarter, but went on a mini-run to close out the first half with a 20-13 lead.

Worcester scored the first two baskets of the third quarter including a nice steal and lay-up by Michelle Wangel to cut the lead to 20-17 and it appeared the Mallards were preparing to make a big run on the Eagles. After a pair of free throws by Seaford Christian expanded the lead to 22-17, Worcester responded again thanks in large part to freshman Kelly Chandler. Chandler got a steal and pulled up for a jumper with five minutes left in the third to cut the Eagles’ lead to 22-19.

Just twenty seconds later, Chandler again stole the ball from Seaford Christian, but missed the lay-up at the other end. However, she was fouled on the play and converted both free throws to cut the lead to just one point at 22-21 with 4:40 remaining in the third. Unfortunately, that was the end of the scoring flurry for the Mallards who went the rest of the third quarter and much of the fourth without getting on the scoreboard again.

Seaford came right back with a steal and a lay-up to make it 24-21, then went on a long stretch during which its only points came from the free throw line. The Eagles went to the line on four straight possessions late in the third quarter and scored on seven free throws to start to pull away from Worcester. The sequence was punctuated with a fast-break lay-up at the end of the third to complete the 10-0 run and end the period with a 32-21 lead.

The Mallards had not scored since Chandler’s mini-run at the 4:40 mark in the third, but the offensive woes would continue. Worcester did not score in the fourth quarter until the 4:08 mark on a jumper by Chandler, meaning they had gone about eight minutes, or the equivalent of an entire quarter without putting the ball in the basket.

Meanwhile, Seaford continued to do just enough to extend its lead. The Eagles made scored on two straight possessions early in the fourth to extend the lead to 36-21 before the Mallards started to find their stroke and make some inroads into the deficit. However, the clock was now as much of an opponent for the Mallards as the Eagles were.

Worcester’s Sophie Townsend scored on an inbounds pass in the offensive end with 2:30 remaining to make it 36-26. After a pair of Seaford free throws made it 38-26, Worcester’s Meegan Jayne Smith launched a three-pointer to cut the lead to 38-29 with two minutes remaining. However, with the clock winding down, Worcester had no choice but to continue to foul Seaford down the stretch and the Eagles made their shots to pull away with the 43-31 win. Smith made a lay-up at the buzzer, but it was too little, too late for the Mallards, who fell to 0-5 on the young season.

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