Girls’ basketball: John Stark’s composure carries the Generals to massive win over Bow

John Stark center Eleanor Girardet scores and gets fouled as she is surrounded by Bow players during the second half on Thursday night.

John Stark center Eleanor Girardet scores and gets fouled as she is surrounded by Bow players during the second half on Thursday night. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

John Stark guard Abby Duclos (center) battles with Bow guard Juliette Tarsa on the floor during the first half on Thursday, January 25, 2024.

John Stark guard Abby Duclos (center) battles with Bow guard Juliette Tarsa on the floor during the first half on Thursday, January 25, 2024. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

John Stark forward Lexi Korbet battles Bow guard Ella Trefethen (right) for a loose ball during the first half on Thursday, January 25, 2024.

John Stark forward Lexi Korbet battles Bow guard Ella Trefethen (right) for a loose ball during the first half on Thursday, January 25, 2024. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

John Stark center Eleanor Girardet goes up for a rebound during the second half on Thursday night, January 25, 2024.

John Stark center Eleanor Girardet goes up for a rebound during the second half on Thursday night, January 25, 2024. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

By ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL

Monitor staff

Published: 01-25-2024 11:56 PM

Modified: 01-26-2024 10:25 AM


WEARE – It was just the type of game John Stark struggled to close out last year: high intensity, back and forth, neither team building much separation. But on Thursday night, the Generals (8-3) showed how much they’ve grown since then, closing out a 50-44 win at home over Bow (7-3).

John Stark has now won four games in a row; the Falcons, meanwhile, saw their five-game winning streak come to an end.

“The one thing that’s been clicking for us is our defense,” John Stark head coach Tiffany Lewis said. “This is the fourth game that the defense looked great, and we’re playing good basketball. We’re starting to be more fundamentally sound with everything.”

These two teams matched up in the first game of the season. The Falcons won handily, 51-38. This time around, it was the Eleanor Girardet show.

The Generals’ senior forward led all scorers in the game with 19 points, while corralling 12 rebounds and blocking two shots. Fellow seniors Abby Duclos and Avery Geaumont also turned in big nights; Duclos scored 15 points, dished out five assists and picked up two steals, while Geaumont had 11 points –  including two big 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter – eight rebounds and three assists.

“They were hitting big shots. All three, they all played so well,” Lewis said. “Eleanor was knocking down in the post, she was hitting some shots, we were making our free throws. Avery and Abby both hit from the perimeter. They just did a great job knocking shots down tonight. We shot well, and they played well as a whole team.”

Over the recent win streak, the Generals’ defense in particular has come around. Lewis said they’ve switched to playing man-to-man after flirting with a zone earlier in the season. The players have started to get more comfortable, knowing where to be on the floor at the right moments.

That improvement, coupled with an experienced lineup that features five seniors, laid the foundation for the big win.

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After John Stark led for the entire game, the Falcons took a 34-33 lead with 6:47 left in the fourth quarter, but Girardet immediately drove the ball back the other way for an and-one to put the Generals back on top. It was one of several instances of John Stark fighting back as momentum seemed to tilt the other way.

“Last year, we had close games in that middle chunk of the season, (and) we were never able to close them out,” Lewis said. “This year, we’re closing the games out, and just having those older girls, we’re able to keep our composure. That was our point of emphasis: composure.”

On the other side, Bow senior Juliette Tarsa led the Falcons with 14 points, but their offense could never find much of a rhythm. And while their defensive effort wasn’t anything terrible, the Generals simply found a way to knock down key shots.

“We knew tonight we were going to have to take care of business, and we had a couple defensive letups, and I think that that’s what hurt us,” said Falcons head coach Cassidy Emerson. “(John Stark) played well, though. You tip your hat. I don’t think we played well. Once in awhile you tip your hat. They hit the shots that we didn’t, and we’ll go to practice tomorrow and fix a couple things and move on. Learn from it.”

Emerson noted a couple areas for future improvement: defensive stamina and setting screens on offense. Defensively, she said, she thought her team looked a little tired, which led to some of the uncharacteristic open shots allowed. On offense, she emphasized how setting screens could’ve allowed for easier 3-point attempts.

“Simple fixes, but we gotta learn from it,” she said. “That’s, I think, what we’re going to take away from this game.”