Falcons Race Ahead, Win Big Over Albright On "140 Point Night"
By Bryn Swartz, GoMessiah.com reporter
To the delight of the home fans in Brubaker, the Falcons dream big.
The women's team collected the program's largest margin of victory in two years as they defeated Albright College by the score of 80-36. The last time the Falcons delivered a larger margin of victory was January 7, 2010, when they rolled over Baptist Bible College 88-24.
The 80 points scored by the Falcons also set the stage for the women's and men's teams to combine for 140 points on the night (the men defeated Albright 60-57). The result on the "140 Point Night" was a free Chick-Fil-A chicken sandwich for all fans in attendance!
"I'm very pleased with our execution of our goals," said Messiah Falcons' head coach Mike Miller. "Defensively, we wanted to hold them to 19 a half or 38 for the game. (Albright) also does not force many turnovers so it was an emphasis for us to take care of the ball. We did a great job of protecting the basketball."
The Falcons jumped out to an early 15-2 lead behind an absolutely dominant defensive performance. They recorded seven steals in the first six minutes of the game. Junior Kira Maier had two of the steals, including a highlight reel grab of an inbounds pass that she turned into a layup just two seconds later.
The Falcons increased their lead to 36-15, and headed into halftime with a dominant 44-21 lead.
Yet as good as the first half, the second half was even better. Although Miller used a wide variety of substitutions in the second half, the Falcons performed even better on defense, surrendering just 15 points, and holding Albright to 5 of 24 shooting on field goals (20.8 percent). They cruised to an 80-36 victory, setting personal bests for points this season on both offense and defense.
"We played really well and passed the ball really well," Miller said. "We got a little greedy defensively in the first half, which gave Albright opportunities that we don't want to allow. The second half was really good as we did a better job playing sound defense in the half court."
Junior Dori Gyori topped the squad with 20 points (9 of 14 shooting) in just 21 minutes of play. She added six rebounds, four assists, and a pair of steals. Maier finished with 14 points, plus four boards, three assists, and three steals.
Classmate Katlyn Vanderhoff scored 11 in just 15 minutes of action, while guards Taylor Miller (seven) and Nicky Hess (five) combined for 12 points. Every player on the team played at least five minutes in the game, with Gyori and Miller topping the team at 23.
"Our offense was getting pretty efficient, and if you look at our three point attempts, I think we only had 10," Miller said.
"If teams are packing it in, then we'll shoot them, and if teams are playing it straight up, we won't. We want to get it inside. The guards are just doing a great job, especially Chelsea, Nicky, and Taylor, of instinctively getting the ball inside."
Perhaps most importantly, the Falcons turned the ball over just five times in the entire game, easily a seasons-best. In doing so, they won an agreement with their coach.
"At some point, I'm going to get my head shaved because of single-digit turnovers," Miller said. ''I told them if we had single-digit turnovers anytime, I'd shave my head."
The Falcons improved to 11-3, on the heels of a six-game winning streak. They will host Widener University on Saturday, January 14th at 5:00 p.m.
Fans are reminded that Saturday's game will feature the "Downtown Deal of the Night" for Al's Pizza. For every three-pointer the Falcons hit, one fan will win a free pizza from Al's Pizza in Dillsburg! Fans are encouraged to arrive early to enter their name for a chance to win!