Stadium was hoping a strong start defensively would translate into a nice non-league victory over Fife. But after leading the Trojans for nearly the first six minutes, the roles were reversed, and Fife scored 19 unanswered points on the way to a 45-25 victory over the Tigers on Dec. 10.
“We had trouble with their zone all night,” said Stadium head coach Mark Stewart. “We tried to work on spacing and good ball movement, and when we got our chances we just didn’t score.”
Despite shooting just 1-for-8 from the field in the early going, the Tigers forced six turnovers in the first five minutes and held a 3-2 lead after a free throw from Shawndriea Brown. But the Trojans’ Karli Knudson gave her squad the lead for good with two free throws with 2:18 left in the period. That started a 19-0 run that spanned until the 2:36 mark in the second quarter, when Tigers freshman Vanessa Higgins scored on a layup to cut Fife’s lead to 21-5. Higgins was the lone bright spot offensively for Stadium, continuing a strong start to the season by finishing with a team-high nine points and nine rebounds.
“She’s been our main factor offensively,” Stewart said. “But we needed more out of her when she got opportunities.”
Fife’s Breanna Richardson – who also tallied nine points and nine rebounds – fed Knudson and Courtney Morton on back cuts for easy layups during the Trojans’ big run, and Karisa Caraballo capped the stretch by hitting Savannah Barber for a layup. Barber finished with nine points and a game-high 13 rebounds, and tied with Kilcup for a team-high five steals. Fife’s defense led to their offensive success all night, as Richardson had four steals, Morton snagged three steals and Caraballo and Knudson had two steals apiece.
“We want to see if we can’t get transition (baskets) going,” said Fife head coach Mark Jones. “It’s something we’ve been working on for a couple years. A lot of (the offense has to do with) good decision making, too.”
Stadium finished strong offensively, outscoring Fife 16-10 in the fourth quarter. Higgins highlighted the late effort with a three-point play, Katie Tonellato drilled a three-pointer and Shaya Murray added three points in the period. Murray finished with five points and six rebounds, while Kallie Broughton and Amber Longrie grabbed five steals apiece for the Tigers.
Still, Stewart lamented the poor overall offensive outing by his Tigers, who dropped to 3-2 overall on the season.
“We didn’t get our layups in,” Stewart said. “Everybody missed layups tonight…We’re going to spend a lot of time in the gym shooting.”
By Jeremy Helling
LIONS HOLD OFF RAMS
Bellarmine Prep head coach Kevin Meines wondered which Lady Lions team would show up in an early nonleague test against Wilson: the one that now featured a high-powered offense with Claire Martin dominating in the middle, or the one that was stagnant at Wilson last winter. His question was quickly answered, as Martin scored a game-high 20 points to lead Bellarmine to a 57-53 win at home over the Lady Rams on Dec. 6.
“We talked about composure before the game, and how it got away from us last year, and the girls responded well to the game’s intensity,” said Meines.
Another factor in the game was the play of Lions guard Jayana Ervin, who contributed 17 points with slashing drives down the middle to take some pressure off of Martin and give Wilson’s defense more than one scoring option to think about.
“Jayana has been great for us in the leadership department, and has been a huge lift for us on the scoring sheet, too,” said Meines.
Wilson, meanwhile, was looking for players to pick up the scoring load from some star graduated players, including Bethany Montgomery – who now plays at Eastern Washington University. Kiara Knox stepped up to score a team-high 16 points and returning starter Violet Morrow added 10 to keep the Lady Rams close, but they could not come up with key hoops down the stretch to come away with the win.
“We let some late opportunities slip through our hands tonight, but with some experience from our younger players it will pay off down the stretch,” said Wilson head coach Michelle Birge.
The Lady Rams trailed for most of the first and second half, but managed to maintain in striking distance as Knox and Morrow found ways to penetrate the defense.
Birge also noted that freshman point guard Josie Matz – who can direct an offense and score regularly from behind the arc – has already made a big impact on the squad.
The Lady Lions built up a 14-point lead midway through the second half when Birge began to see the future stars begin to emerge. Matz , Morrow, and Knox keyed a 12-4 Wilson run late to cut it to a four-point deficit, but didn’t quite have enough to complete the comeback.
“We showed a lot of discipline late in the game but could not get over the top,” said Birge. “It was a great effort in the end.”
By Steve Mullen