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Maine East wasted no time imposing its will on both sides of the ball against visiting Leyden, forcing eight first-quarter turnovers and building an early double-digit lead en route to a 47-40 win Saturday.
“We did a good job running the ball on offense and playing good defense and we were making good plays,” Blue Demons coach Karol Hanusiak said.
The Blue Demons (8-11) picked apart the Eagles’ man-to-man defense early and often, creating easy baskets for junior forwards Shaylee Sloan and Maria Protic in the first half. The Blue Demons led by as much as 16 early in the third.
The Eagles recovered from their dismal first quarter and whittled down the deficit to 45-40 with less than 30 seconds remaining in the game. Maine East guard Janelle Alba Garner iced the game with a pair of free throws. She shot 5-for-7 from the free-throw line in the fourth.
“We’ve been improving from the line all season and luckily for us they put our best free throw shooter at the line when it counted,” Hanusiak said.
Protic and Sloan paced the Blue Devils with 10 points apiece, while Garner finished with nine.
Senior forward Justyna Chojnowski led the Eagles (4-15) with 11 points and eight rebounds.
“Our intensity picked up as the game went on,” Eagles coach Drewann Pancratz said. “And we made some very good plays, but we also made too many mental mistakes.’’