By MICHAEL LETENDRE
BRISTOL – When a scholastic basketball team doesn’t have a double-digit scorer and still manages to defeat its opponent by 30-points, that feat is accomplished through simple means.
It’s called defense.
And that defense was on full display as girls squad from St. Paul Catholic on Monday, Dec. 12 dropped Waterbury Career Academy 57-27 from the Maltby Street Gymnasium in Bristol.
It was the opening game for both squads as the Falcons held Career to just 27-percent shooting
from the field. Coupled with St. Paul Catholic’s full-court trapping defense,the visitors were in for a nightmarish evening that led to 25 turnovers.
In fact, the Falcons forced seven turnovers over the first 2:30 of the game, leading to a quick 10-0 edge, as Career was forced to play catch-up the rest of the affair.
The visitors never cut it closer than eight points the rest of the way as that early cushion held.
“We pride ourselves on defense, that’s our main goal here,” said assistant coach Chelsea Mone. “I think we did that in the first two minutes especially in our 22 [defensive] press. We went up 10-0.”
Janessa Gonzalez led all St. Paul Catholic players with nine points and also had three rebounds while Alexandra Morgues, Ameila Sanchez, and Jade Udoh (six rebounds) all chipped in with eight points.
Molly Hooks (seven points, eight rebounds) did well in the pivot, Lexi Morneault added two three-pointers for six points, Adrianna Lopez flipped in five points and three rebounds while senior Brigid Johndrow zipped up four points and several rebounds and assists to lead the charge for the Falcons.
Alyssan Chouinard scored a game-high 10 points for the squad from Waterbury but those points were certainly all hard to come by.
Off that fast St. Paul Catholic start, a bank-shot by Career’s Allaysia Murell chopped the deficit to 12-4 late in the first. On a Chantelle Lopez hoop and two charity tosses from Hooks, the home team led by 10 at 16-6 after one period of play.
The Falcons started the second period with its bench in the contest and the unit used an 8-2 run to scoop up a 26-8 lead with 4:14 remaining before the half.
“Some of them are younger in classes so getting them off the bench to give our starters a breather, they definitely helped maintain that tempo that we had from the start,” said Mone.
St. Paul Catholic led 26-12 at the half and when Johndrow canned a three-pointer with 5:11 left in the third stanza, it was the start of a huge run by the home squad.
“She’s really grown since she’s been playing” for St. Paul Catholic said Mone. “She has a key role here. We get exactly what we need from her.”
That Johndrow three led to a game-breaking 18-3 jaunt and with 7:15 to play, it was a 48-17 contest and the Falcons were in complete control.
Over the final period, Gonzalez posted six points, Adrianna added two free throws, Hooks had a basket, and when Udoh canned one final free throw, St. Paul Catholic won the contest by 30 points to start the season at 1-0.
“It was a good opening game,” said Mone. “Obviously, it’s the first game so you see what you have to work on for the long run. So, we’ll be working in practice and we’ll definitely improve throughout the season.”