Amherst girls basketball beats Ludlow for seventh straight win

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  • Petua Mukimba, top, of Amherst Regional, begins a pass against Sara Costa, of Ludlow, Monday, Jan. 13, 2020 at Amherst Regional High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Esme Siegel, of Amherst Regional, shoots against Ludlow, Monday, Jan. 13, 2020 at Amherst Regional High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Mayouri Yath, left, of Amherst Regional, moves the ball past Sara Costa, of Ludlow, Monday, Jan. 13, 2020 at Amherst Regional High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Delaney MacPhetres, right, of Amherst Regional, draws a foul from Elizabeth Kopec, of Ludlow, Monday, Jan. 13, 2020 at Amherst Regional High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Dealney MacPhetres, center, of Amherst Regional, shoots against Kali Grimes, of Ludlow, Monday, Jan. 13, 2020 at Amherst Regional High School.

  • Erin Klaes, right, of Amherst Regional, shoots against Alivia Hamel, of Ludlow, Monday, Jan. 13, 2020 at Amherst Regional High School.

  • Mayouri Yath, left, of Amherst Regional, drives to the basket against Catarina Pires, of Ludlow, Monday, Jan. 13, 2020 at Amherst Regional High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Tessa Kawal, right, of Amherst Regional, begins a pass against Catarina Pires, of Ludlow, Monday, Jan. 13, 2020 at Amherst Regional High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Audrey Bowen, left, of Amherst Regional, passes against Elizabeth Kopec, of Ludlow, Monday, Jan. 13, 2020 at Amherst Regional High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

Staff Writer
Published: 1/13/2020 11:19:44 PM
Modified: 1/13/2020 11:18:57 PM

AMHERST — Ralph Loos hasn’t had much to complain about in his first year as girls basketball coach at Amherst Regional.

The Hurricanes came into Monday night’s game against Ludlow on a six-game win streak, but if there’s one thing that he thinks his group can improve on, it’s finding ways to “put four quarters together.”

Amherst didn’t quite do that against Ludlow, but despite shaky second and third quarters, the Hurricanes defeated the Lions, 59-35.

Delaney MacPhetres scored a game-high 16 points for the Hurricanes (7-1, 1-0 Central). Erin Klaes scored 14 points and made a team-high three 3-pointers.

Ludlow (3-6, 0-1 Central) tried to swarm the Hurricanes with a full-court press and by double teaming ballcarriers at mid-court to start the game.

Amherst beat the Lions’ press with quick passes and by carrying the ball up the sideline past incoming double teams for easy buckets down low.

The Hurricanes used their speed and ball movement to open the game on a 13-2 run. A left-handed layup off a spin move in the paint from Klaes with three minutes to go in the opening quarter forced Ludlow to take its first timeout and regroup.

The Lions started to settle in defensively after the timeout. In the second quarter, Amherst started to force passes through double teams, gave up offensive rebounds and missed free throws.

“That’s a theme,” Loos said. “When we fall a part a little bit, that’s when it happens. We miss free throws and that seems to get in our heads on the other end of the floor.”

Kali Grimes scored a 3-pointer for the Lions with less than a minute left in the half to close the gap to 22-15.

Amherst started to settle back into the game in the third quarter.

Petua Mukimba played solid interior defense in the first half, but made her presence felt with six points in the third quarter. Esme Siegel also scored six points in the frame to help give the Hurricanes a cushion moving into the final period.

The Lions continued to play a full-court press in the fourth quarter. Ludlow had high energy on the defensive end and kept fresh legs on the court by subbing in five players at a time every few minutes.

“(Ludlow) are going to make you play ugly with that style,” Loos said. “They want to play that five in, five out, trap you everywhere you go. We knew it was going to be ugly.”

The strategy worked in the second and third quarters, but the Lions started to commit fouls and gave the Hurricanes’ trips to the free-throw line.

MacPhetres went 6-for-6 at the line and Klaes made two 3-pointers in the final frame to seal the Amherst victory.

“It’s complimentary,” Loos said about MacPhetres and Klaes’ offensive ability. “When Delaney (MacPhetres) and Petua (Mukimba) are playing well inside, Erin (Klaes) will get more shots outside. ... This year we want to have three or four things teams will have to worry about. If they only have to worry about Erin, it’s pretty easy to defend at times.”

The Hurricanes finished last season at 9-11 and missed the postseason. Loos wants his players to set a high bar for themselves and the program.

“It’s been too long since they’ve won here. That’s the reason I took this job,” Loos said. “You’ve got to win. That’s why we’re here. ... We always want to push it and be better.”

The team has had to battle with growing pains through its winning streak. With five freshmen on the roster, some new players have been asked to do a lot, but as the wins have continued to pile up, the group has grown more confident.

“We have the mentality that we want to win. We play hard,” MacPhetres said.




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