Reigle recovers, boosts Dodgers
- Written by Sandy Seegers
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MADISON _ Alex Reigle went to her usual spot in the Madison locker room at halftime and leaned against the wall, just like she does for every home game.
This time, though, Reigle, annoyed with herself for, in her words, "missing easy layups right under the basket," closed her eyes and took deep breaths for five minutes before returning to the gym. She was determined to get a subpar first-haf showing, in which she scored three points, out of her head. If Madison was to emerge victorious from the North Jersey Section 2, Group II semifinal and get the opportunity to defend their sectional title, Reigle, a senior forward-center, had to calm herself and step up her game.
Reigle succeeded in remedying the latter concerns, scoring 13 of her 16 points in the second half to propel Madison to a 51-39 victory over the familiar Hornets on Saturday, Feb. 27. The Dodgers will travel to Secaucus on Monday, Feb. 27 for the sectional championship.
"I'm a senior so I'm super excited to be in the final," Reigle said. "I'm glad our season didn't end today. I'm super pumped for Monday."
Frustrated by her errant attempts, Reigle dropped in layup after layup before the second half commenced. She focused on hitting the backboard in the right spot.
"This doesn't happen very often," said Reigle of her uncharacteristic misses. "I was really upset. I just had to forget the first half."
Reigle certainly erased it from her mind and recorded all six of Madison's points in the third quarter. She was back on track but Hanover Park also was surging. Behind by double figures at one point, the Hornets, a familiar NJAC-Liberty Division squad, knotted the score, 28-28, with six seconds remaining in the third period.
The comeback made the game tense yet the Dodgers amassed 23 points in the fourth quarter to ensure the win. Arianna Allonardo spun her way to the basket seven seconds into the closing period to put Hanover Park up, 30-28. Reigle made it 30-30 from close range 23 seconds later before Charlotte Tuhy (22 points, 14 rebounds) netted a pair of free throws for Madison. Samantha Cicerone's 3-pointer gave the Hornets the edge, 33-32.
There were three more lead changes before Madison pulled away with a seven-point run. Prominent in the burst was Erin Kleiven's 3-pointer that put the Dodgers in front, 42-35. Prior to the trey, Madison had multiple misses and a key rebound by Reigle. Tuhy, a sophomore, had nine in the fourth quarter while Reigle had seven.
After two losses to Madison this winter, Hornets coach Doug Wear knew what it'd take to contend with the Dodgers, specifically Tuhy.
"We shuffled a few things around and put more help on Tuhy," Wear said. "We had to make them beat us. Charlotte did what she did and the others stepped up. In the end, it was Madison that made the big shots. We came out of what we were doing. We left our game plan."
Wear, who returned to the bench this season, liked what he saw in his team, which features many highly skilled soccer players.
"Nobody gave us a shot," he said. "The girls are getting the attention they deserve and I'm glad to be a part of it. I'm proud of them."
Madison raced out to an 11-0 lead behind four points each by Tuhy and Gabby Mariani. That was short lived, however, as the Hornets got back into the game.
"We had a good start but then our shots weren't falling the way we wanted," said Reigle, headed to Richmond to play soccer. "The lead we had wasn't a giant one. Our momentum went away. Hanover Park got super aggressive and we got flustered and began fouling in the second quarter (Hanover Park converted 7-of-11 foul shots)."
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