Marlboro’s girls’ basketball team reached the state Class B Final four, two years ago, and one starter from that team, Talaya Lewis, is currently playing for the Dukes.
The Dukes opened the season in a big way last week during the 18th annual Corinne Feller Memorial Tip-Off Tournament in Montgomery. In the tournament opener against Class A Wallkill Wednesday, Nov. 30, the Dukes came away with a 53-39 victory.
In the final Friday, Marlboro lead Valley Central by five points after the first quarter before pulling away in the second to lead 46-32 at the half. The Vikings did not help themselves in the second with too many turnovers and could not recover as the Dukes won the final 72-58.
“The first half,” said Lewis, against Valley Central, “we just wanted to come out strong.”
Lewis was named the tournament MVP, and she had scored 10 points, all in the first half, against Valley Central. Against Wallkill, Lewis scored 11 points.
Jetta Stephens lead Marlboro with 20 points against Valley Central, landing four threes, three in the decisive second quarter. Elizabeth Lofaro, with 16 points, and Joyce Ryder, with 10 points, also helped in the final.
But that explosive offense, said Marion Casey, Marlboro’s coach, was made possible by a defense that kept the Lady Vikings from establishing an offensive game plan.
“We had a nice, strong second quarter,” said Casey. “It was our defense that really did it in that quarter.”
Erin Cooney lead Valley Central against the Duke’s tough defense with 14 points, going eight for eight from the foul line. The Dukes beat Burke in the opener 54-23 to reach the final with Marlboro.
“Wednesday night we played very well. We got into foul trouble early tonight, and it threw us off kilter,” said Randy Axtell, Valley Central’s coach. “They put us into a panic. Marlboro is a solid team. They have a lot of good shooters. They were a better team, no doubt about it.”
By Bond Brungard