The SCA Varsity Girls' Basketball Team played host to the Phoenix Christian Cougars, who began the evening on top of the 2A Metro Region, on Friday evening.
In only the second game in a row for this season where the Eagles had a full squad of players, Coach Alan Mitchell sent out a starting lineup of senior Kathryn Dick (#35), juniors Brooke Hancock (#4), Baylee Tobin (#21), Savannah Cardona (#22) and Lily Richardson (#44).
SCA started the game off brightly, featuring Savannah Cardona as the spark, stealing the ball and finishing in transition, as well as feeding the ball to a driving Kathryn Dick. Kathryn Dick also initiated the break with shot blocking inside, as Baylee Tobin took a powerful blow to the face and was substituted for junior Allyson Lund (#11), whose defensive rebounding also initiated transition opportunities as SCA opened up a six-point lead early. Most importantly of all, Lily Richardson kept the Eagles’ offense moving along patiently and in good style, particularly as Savannah Cardona was also forced to the bench with foul trouble before the quarter ended. Sophomore Ana Faustinos (#32) converted from three as Lily Richardson distributed the ball, and only a late flurry of buckets allowed the Cougars to take the lead at the end of the quarter, 10-9.
With the injured Baylee Tobin on the bench along with Savannah Cardona in foul trouble, the Eagles worked hard to stay in touch with the Cougars in the second period. Allyson Lund and Brooke Hancock labored to collect rebounds, and Lily Richardson knocked down a three and consistently hit open teammates for good looks, while Ana Faustinos picked up points at the foul line. SCA also showed good improvement with skip-passing to force the Cougars to work hard on defense as well as improved awareness themselves on defense, working around screens and preventing the Phoenix Christian offense from getting their desired mismatches for easy buckets. The Cougars were able to hit consecutive threes to pull into the lead, and only Brooke Hancock’s put-back kept it close at the half, 16-19.
The second half included the Eagles’ now-traditional sharp improvement after half-time, prompted by a returning Baylee Tobin’s steal and more shot-blocking from Kathryn Dick as the ornamentation of overall good defensive teamwork to dull the Cougars’ screen-heavy offense. The excellent court vision from Lily Richardson opened up Phoenix Christian for Savannah Cardona to knock down the three, and Lily’s patience on the ball was rewarded when she spotted the seam and drove for her own layup. With the success of SCA’s skipping-passing, the Cougars changed to a man defense, and immediately the Eagles went to work, feeding Kathryn Dick in the post for jumpers and power drives to pull even and then ahead of their guests. Brooke Hancock converted two free throws and Baylee Tobin’s positive endeavor on the offensive glass earned her put-back points, and then Baylee Tobin’s precise entry pass to Brooke Hancock in the low post produced two more as the Eagles consolidated a lead they would not give up on Savannah Cardona’s free throws to finish the quarter, 31-25.
The Eagles further extended their defensive repertoire by doubling down on the low post, allowing Kathryn Dick to make steals as Brooke Hancock walled in her opponent, while Baylee Tobin showed nice touch to convert the baseline inbounds play on the offensive side. Savannah Cardona’s coast-to-coast bucket contrasted nicely with Lily Richardson’s patient feeds to Kathryn Dick in the low post. Kathryn Dick then dragged her defender out of the lane, where Lily Richardson found her for a jumper in the short corner, and this was the signal for Phoenix Christian to deploy their full-court press. Brooke Hancock hit a streaking Savannah Cardona with a full-court pass for two, and then Savannah returned the favor on the break for Brooke to score as well. As the Cougars began to launch threes in desperation, Savannah Cardona finished the scoring from the charity stripe, and the Eagles took home a 44-39 win to even their season record at 4-4.
Join the SCA Varsity Girls' Basketball Team as they host the Class 3A Northwest Christian Crusaders, who currently rank second in the North Central Region, on Monday, February 15 at 5:30PM.