Through the first three games of the season, the Titusville Rockets girls basketball team has shown that it can compete with other teams around the district. However, the Rockets have also found out the hard way how important it is to stay out of foul trouble.
After suffering a heartbreaking three-point loss to North East on Friday to begin the Region 3 schedule, Titusville sustained a 63-40 defeat by the hands of visiting Seneca at the Launch Pad, Monday.
Seneca’s Maydison Kent led all scorers with 17 points, most of which coming from inside the paint. Teammates Taylor Klink (12) and Lauren Schneider (11) also scored double figures to help the Bobcats (2-4 overall, 1-1 Region 3) snap a two-game skid.
Amber Scott and Emily Finley each finished with 12 points for the Rockets (0-3 overall, 0-2). Abby Patterson and Braelyn Eldred contributed eight points apiece to round out the Titusville scoring.
For the second straight game, the Rockets opened up with a lead at the end of the first quarter. Titusville jumped ahead 10-9 thanks to its full-court press that forced 10 Bobcat turnovers in the opening period that Rocket coach Liz Kolodziejczak called “awesome.”
But then the fouls came in large waves for Titusville in the second canto. Finley and Eldred quickly found themselves on the bench sitting with three fouls each, which allowed the Seneca defense to double team Rocket leading scorer Scott. Seneca used the 23-10 second quarter to take a 32-20 lead into the intermission — one that the Bobcats would not surrender the rest of the night.
“When our starting five get into foul trouble, it’s hard to play the game that I want to play,” Kolodziejczak said. “Our game plan is hustle and (get) transition lay-ups, but when that doesn’t work out and I have to put in younger players that don’t understand what I’m talking about, it makes things hard. They’re young and inexperienced, and they panic a little bit.”
Coming out from the break, Titusville showed sign of life when Finley nailed two straight 3-pointers and Scott added a jumper to get the Rockets back within six points, at 34-28, with a little over six minutes left in the third quarter. However, the Bobcat defense would only surrender one more bucket in the remainder of the period as Seneca worked for a 52-30 lead by the end of the frame.
Titusville tried to work the ball inside as a counter to the double team on Scott during the fourth quarter in order to open up the offense. Patterson scored two of her four buckets at the beginning of the period, while the Rocket defense held the Bobcats scoreless through the first 2 1/2 minutes. However, the success didn’t last long enough with some of the underclassmen unable to convert on their shot attempts, as Seneca outscored Titusville 11-10 in the fourth quarter.
“We talked about that at halftime,” Kolodziejczak said of working the ball inside. “My goal was to try to get it inside rather than Amber just taking it inside. They did well, but they just get so timid when the ball gets to them that they don’t know what to do with it.”
Titusville will look to get its first win of the campaign on Wednesday when the Rockets travel to Girard, at 7 p.m., for a Region 3 contest.
“We’re getting there and working very hard,” Kolodziejczak said. “We just need to keep working hard, and then they’ll be a force to be reckoned with.”