The SCA Varsity Girls' Basketball Team journeyed south in the cold on Tuesday night to face the 2A Valley region chart-topping and unbeaten Chandler Preparatory Academy Titans.
Coach Alan Mitchell, once again hampered by players losses to quarantine, sent out a starting lineup of juniors Baylee Tobin (#21), Savannah Cardona (#22) and Lily Richardson (#44) along with sophomore Ana Faustinos (#32) and senior Kathryn Dick (#35) to take the tip.
The Titans took the lead with some good pick and roll action, but steals from Savannah Cardona and Kathryn Dick provided opportunities from the free throw line and three-point line that were promptly turned into points by Ana Faustinos and Savannah Cardona as SCA took an early lead they would never relinquish. The Eagles’ full-court man pressure and resolute interior defense forced Titan turnovers and resulted in a festival of blocked shots from Baylee Tobin and Kathryn Dick, while a willingness to drive to the basket was rewarded with points for Lily Richardson. With Baylee Tobin and Kathryn Dick digging in to seal their defenders and carve out huge swathes of open space in the low post, even unsuccessful attempts from Eagle drivers were put back on offensive rebounds despite the significant size advantage enjoyed by the Chandler squad. When Savannah Cardona began to find Kathryn Dick for mid-range jumpers, SCA took a nine-point lead and led 11-4 at the end of the first quarter.
Junior Allyson Lund (#11) started the second quarter and immediately contributed with aggressive rebounding and defense as the Eagles’ persistent defense disrupted the Titans’ attempts to get into a rhythm. Ana Faustinos laid down a delicious no-look lay down off the drive to Baylee Tobin to provide work for the scoreboard operators. Baylee Tobin and Allyson Lund turned the offensive low post into an affray of ferocious rebounding with their larger opponents as the Eagles took more than two shots for each of Chandler’s attempts. Kathryn Dick continued hot from three and the mid-range and also dropped the ball inside for Baylee Tobin to score in the half-court offense, and intense defensive effort provided transition hoops for Ana Faustinos, Savannah Cardona and Baylee Tobin as SCA took a 25-8 lead into the halftime break.
With Assistant Coach Veeve Holtz stirring up the players at the interval, the Eagles showed no defensive let-down in the third quarter, making steals and blocks that resulted in free throws for Lily Richardson and breakaway buckets for Baylee Tobin. Gilbert continued to work into their deep bench full of athletic players, but none of them could fully solve the full-court man pressure exerted by SCA. Lily Richardson found Baylee Tobin with a single defender in the low post for two, Savannah Cardona earned three the hard way, and freshman Bree Tobin (#3) entered the game to finish off the break as the Eagles led 35-14 after three.
The final quarter saw the Eagles maintain their focus, with steals and blocked shots leading to Lily Richardson feeding willing runner Baylee Tobin. The Titans sought to raise their own intensity with a full-court press, but with Kathryn Dick distributing the ball to Ana Faustinos and Savannah Cardona, this only served up more possibilities for quick scores. Freshmen Julia Claus (#10) and Izzy Thiessen (#30) entered the game, and they combined quickly to force a steal from which Julia Claus immediately scored. Izzy Thiessen injected herself into the roughhouse of the low post struggle, and even with all five starters on the bench the Eagles continued to battle for rebounds and second shots as SCA took home a 42-20 victory.
Join the SCA Varsity Girls' Basketball Team as they visit perennial 3A powerhouse, and current #1-ranked in the 3A Metro East, Gilbert Christian on Wednesday, February 3 at 5:30PM.