WNY Athletics

Thunder Guts Out Win

It was far from pretty, but when it was all said and done the Thunder were able to gut out a ‘W.’

Meighan Murphy dropped a game-high 18 points as Mt.St.Mary topped Tapestry Charter School, 41-27, in girls’ non-league basketball action that was played inside the Thunderdome at Tapestry.

The season opener, both teams clearly struggled early on to find their rhythm.

Though the Mount (1-0) played strong defense, mainly focusing on trying to contain Thunder Hawks guard Nia Caver, offensively Mount had its share of difficulties.

As a team, they didn’t seem to see the floor well, communication was off and shots were rushed.

“I think we need to get the rust out. That’s our huge issue right now,” said Murphy, whose six consecutive points in the first quarter helped Mount open a 12-6 lead.

“We’ve brought up kids from JV, we have freshman, learning to play with them is going to be a whole ‘nother transition. They’re great kids. They play tough, they are attentive, they like to learn the game. It’s going to be rough getting there, but once we get there it’s gonna be great.”

Thunder head coach Mike McCarthy, now in his third year at the helm, was happy his team found a way to win, but at the same team did not hold anything back when he talked about how the execution was nowhere near what he believes the team is capable of doing.

“I think it’s nerves. I think that it’s lack of skill that as the season moves on the passes that look difficult now become easier. Dribble, pass, catch, shoot. It’s all the basics of basketball as our season moves on.”

The Thunderhawks (0-1) were led by Caver, who had 12 points, while sophomore guard Destiny Purdue added another 10.

Though they showed flashes of what they are capable of doing as a team, Tapestry for the most part did not seem focused or ready for an actual regular season game.

“I did,” Caver said, when asked if she sensed the same thing. “But at the end of the day we need to come together as a team. And even if we miss a layup, we miss a shot, we still need to hustle back on defense so that we can get back in the game.”

Tapestry spent most of the night trying to claw its way out of a 10 point deficit. But they seemed to gain some life after they were able to close the gap to 32-27 in the final minute of the third quarter. Caver completed a three-point play and junior Sarah Orcel sank her shot at the buzzer.

The Thunder are led by Murphy and her fellow seniors Kelly Burns, Katie Hart (seven points) and Molly Meegan, who were all sophomores when the team won the NYSCHSAA Class B title.

Returning three sophomores in Rayven Johnson, Grace O’Brien and Jillian Fittry as well as a group of varsity newcomers, Murphy said that she and her senior teammates know that they are no longer the supporting cast. They have to step up and be the leaders.

“When we were younger we had great senior role models to look up to,” Murphy said. “We strive to be like that every day. At the end of the day we just want to push each other to be the best and we want to give them the experience that we had when we were sophomores.”

Madison Badgley, another returning player, ended up with five points for the Mount, including a three that gave Mount a 15-9 lead at the end of the first.

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