The SCA Varsity Girls' Basketball Team journeyed south Wednesday night to face the #1-ranked 3A Metro East Gilbert Christian Knights.
With almost 40% of the team unavailable between injuries and quarantines, Coach Alan Mitchell chose a starting lineup of senior Kathryn Dick (#35), juniors Savannah Cardona (#22) and Lily Richardson (#44) along with sophomore Ana Faustinos (#32), and freshman Bree Tobin (#3) to face an imposing group of Knights on the Gilbert court.
The Eagles started off fast, with Kathryn Dick using her speed and guile to drive past two bigger opponents to open the scoring in the first minute, followed almost immediately by Lily Richardson knocking down the long two as SCA opened up an early lead. Savannah Cardona’s three-point shot and another long two gave the Eagles a strong foundation for the game and a surprising 9-6 lead over the bigger Knights, who were both physically larger and had a longer bench.
However, the excellent shooting touch that saw SCA shoot an effective field goal percent of fifty percent in the first quarter abandoned them in a scoreless second. Freshmen Julia Claus (#10) saw a good corner three fall back off the rim, Savannah Cardona had a trey lip out, Kathryn Dick could not sink any of her threes, and Bree Tobin missed from the short corner. But despite the ineffective final product, on defense the Eagles put in a stalwart display, including a clever steal from Julia Claus and three of Kathryn Dick’s five total blocked shots, and holding the Knights to 13 points.
Down 19-9 going into the second half, the Eagles’ shooting woes continued. Ana Faustinos shifted her position on the perimeter for good looks from three, and both Kathryn Dick and Savannah Cardona found the lid on the bucket from distance before Savannah finally put back an offensive rebound in the final moments of the quarter to end the scoring drought. In the face of the offensive frustration, however, SCA played some thrilling defense, culminating in a spectacular, highlight-reel chase-down combination block-and-steal from Ana Faustinos to prevent a breakaway Gilbert basket. Furthermore, the strong defensive performance from the Eagles frustrated the Knights, who found their starters in foul trouble and began to go deep into their bench.
The third quarter concluded with SCA at the wrong end of a 29-11 deficit, but as Gilbert starters began to foul out of the game, Savannah Cardona found the range from three-point land and Kathryn Dick once again began to beat defenders and knock down shots in the key early. With the game suddenly feeling much tighter, the Eagles press forced important turnovers, including three more frankly incredible takeaways from Ana Faustinos and a smart steal from Lily Richardson. Once again, however, the hoop was closed despite nice short corner attempts from freshman Izzy Thiessen (#30) and Kathryn Dick, as well as fiery drives into the tall timber from Lily Richardson, Ana Faustinos and Savannah Cardona as the Eagles suffered their second defeat to Class 3A opponents 33-16.
Join the SCA Varsity Girls' Basketball Team as they host Phoenix Country Day School, who will stand in for the regularly-scheduled but Covid-quarantined Trivium Prep at SCA on Saturday, February 6 at 4:30PM.