Red Hawks Outrun Ramapo Roadrunners

By Chris Milholen, Contributing Writer

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Freshman Nikki Stevens (5) dribbles toward the basket as her team looks on.
Ben Caplan | The Montclarion

The 22-ranked Montclair State Red Hawks took on the Ramapo Roadrunners in an New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) matchup last Wednesday night at the Panzer Athletic Center. After a slow first quarter, the Red Hawks thrived on both ends of the floor. Senior guard Katie Sire was a huge leader on the offensive end of the floor and ended her game with 18 points shooting 8-10 from the field .800 and leading the Red Hawks to a great win over the Ramapo Roadrunners and extended their win streak to 15 games.

To go along with the win, Red Hawks’ senior guard Katie Tobie reached a career milestone and now is a part of elite company. Tobie became the third Red Hawks player to reach 500 career assists.

The Red Hawks started the first quarter with a sluggish start on the defensive end. Montclair State played a loose man-to-man defense on Ramapo, which lead to the Roadrunners attacking the three-point line early in the game. The Red Hawks mirrored the Roadrunners three-point shooting on the other end.

With five minutes to go, Ramapo started to attack down low. The Roadrunners had a small height advantage but the Red Hawks defended down low very well. The Red Hawks began to pick up the pace with three minutes to go in the quarter. Senior guard Katie Sire pushed the Red Hawks offense. Sire and the Red Hawks did a great job of passing the ball around the perimeter while cutting the lead to great three-point shot selections and drives. The Red Hawks tightened the defense, which led to Ramapo ending the quarter struggling to extend their lead. The Roadrunners lead the Red Hawks 14-12 at the end of the quarter, but that was soon to change.

The Red Hawks started the second quarter by attacking the rim and aggressively grabbing offensive rebounds. Sire continued to stay hot from the first quarter. She connected on a series of drives which started a huge scoring run. Sophomore forward Alex McKinnon started to heat up and helped add to the scoring run with her sharpshooting. The Roadrunners had trouble containing the Red Hawks’ offense throughout the quarter, which lead to early foul trouble.

Ramapo was successfully locked down by the Red Hawks’ defense. The Roadrunners faced high pressure man-to-man defense which prevented them from scoring. Ramapo had serious trouble driving and getting the ball past the three-point line, which forced them to shoot far shots with winding shot clocks throughout the quarter.

With 3:30 left in the half, the Roadrunners expressed frustration on both ends of the floor. The Red Hawks’ defense forced a handful of Ramapo turnovers. These turnovers led to transition drives and built the momentum for the Red Hawks.

The Red Hawks’ offense was consistent throughout the quarter but their defense was spectacular. The Red Hawks held the Roadrunners to only two points in the second quarter. At the end of the half, Montclair State led Ramapo by 20-36-16. At halftime, Sire led the Red Hawks in scoring with 13 points followed by McKinnon with eight points.

The Red Hawks started the second half with a sluggish defense. The Roadrunners aggressively attacked the paint with drives and connected to start a small scoring run. Due to the scoring run, the Red Hawks’ coach, Karen Harvey, called a timeout with 7:04 left in the third.

During the timeout, coach Harvey told her players, “Work on defense and rebounding.”

The Red Hawks immediately put Ramapo’s run to an end. The tight defense restricted Ramapo’s ball movement and forced a series of travel calls and Red Hawks steals. The Red Hawks executed scoring off the steals.

With a couple minutes left in the third, Ramapo restarted their attack down low. The Roadrunners forced two shooting fouls on the Red Hawks. Those two fouls did not mess up the Red Hawks’ defensive effort. Montclair State’s tight defense throughout the third quarter increased Ramapo’s frustration. The Roadrunners failed to get off a shot in the final minute of the third. At the end of the third, Montclair State led Ramapo by 20-44-24.

Coach Harvey told her Red Hawks to “focus on defense and rebounding,” before the final quarter began. Within 30 seconds, Ramapo started off the fourth quarter with a one drive to the basket, but failed to connect on the free throw. The Red Hawks continued to play their tight man-to-man defense.

Freshman guard Kim Calloway did a great job locking down on defense. The Red Hawks forced the Roadrunners to two straight turnovers. On the second turnover, Calloway stole the ball and finished on the other end of the floor to extend the Red Hawks’ lead to 19 with 7:55 remaining in the fourth. Ramapo called for a timeout after the finish by Calloway.

With 3:07 left in the game, the Red Hawks were over the limit in fouls. The Red Hawks ended the game strong on both ends of the floor. In the final two minutes of the game, Red Hawks’ guard Nikki Steven shot a three when the shot clock expired to erupt the Panzer Athletic Center crowd. The Red Hawks held the ball for the final seconds to secure the win over the Roadrunners.

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