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Lady Crusaders crush Glenview Cowgirls, 54-22

Lady Crusader basketball is firing on all cylinders right now and when it takes the floor against a fellow 1A TAPPS opponent, things can certainly get out of hand.
St. John (11-4) won its sixth game in a row on Friday night with a 54-22 domination of the Glenview Cowgirls. The Lady Crusaders scored at least 14 points in each of the last three quarters while Glenview could never clear six points in any frame. The Cowgirls had several solid players, but St. John opened the second quarter on a 12-2 run and the result was never in doubt from there as the home team tallied 19 steals.
“Glenview had a short bench and their best player was playing with a fractured hand, but they’re a talented team who could pose a challenge when fully healthy,” said coach Brian Pierce.
“Our defense and athleticism is among the best in the state [at this level] because the girls are so fast and aggressive out there. We’re an unpredictable team that can cause problems for our opponents.”
Carli Bragg posted an outstanding overall line with 18 points, five rebounds, five assists, four steals and two blocks.
Amy Daigle totaled 12 points, two rebounds, four assists and three steals, while Leslie Bell was versatile with eight points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals. Hannah Patton also crashed the boards with seven rebounds and matched Bragg’s team-high four steals.
“We’ve done a good job of rebounding lately and getting the ball down the court faster for easy baskets, but we’re also running our plays better when we do slow it up,” Bell said.
“Everyone was finding ways to chip in tonight and I thought my teammates really shot the ball well,” Patton added.
Daigle scored a layup off the opening tip on a Samantha Pleiner assist and quickly made her way to the basket again for a 4-0 lead.
Bragg, who notched a block and a steal in the first, assisted Bell on a baseline jumper while a Jennifer Maliska layup gave St. John an 8-4 advantage through one.
“Amy is able to be effective inside or outside and give defenses different looks,” Pierce said.
“We’re fortunate to have an outstanding athlete like Carli and, no matter where we put her, she’s going to be effective. When other teams key on her, we’ve got seven other girls who can get the job done.”
Daigle and Bragg took turns assisting each other early in the second as St. John started to roll. Bragg made three buckets in a short span before consecutive putbacks from sophomores Faith Clemons and Rachel Bush pushed the lead to 20-6.
Although his team might’ve missed more easy finishes than Pierce would prefer, the Lady Crusaders either crashed the offensive boards for putbacks or cleverly found nearby teammates for short assists to score on most of their possessions in the final three quarters. Beyond some traveling troubles, Glenview was eaten alive by the big blue defense as St. John piled up nine steals in the second quarter, led by two from Patton, for a 22-10 halftime lead.
“We know we’re a defensive team, so the steals were going to come even though Glenview had some solid ball handling,” Pierce said.
“We’ve really worked hard on putbacks and not giving up on plays in the last couple of weeks.
Faith and Rachel both played fantastic basketball tonight. Their defensive aggressiveness and confidence have picked up, which is great for a couple of sophomores.
“Hannah’s past experience as a starter has made her more attentive to what the other team is doing. She’s another sophomore making an impact out there.”
“Even if we miss shots inside, everybody is going after the offensive rebounds to either put it back up or find the open shooter,” Bell added.
“We’ve gotten more aggressive defensively, but also being careful not to get in foul trouble.”
St. John was at its best offensively in the third quarter – posting a 16-0 run at one point. Bragg ran wild and did whatever she pleased with eight points, two assists and two steals in the quarter. Bell (steal) scored inside and down low in the third as she also notched two assists while Daigle snagged two steals.
“Leslie was effective all-around and scored the ball from places she normally doesn’t,” Pierce said.
“She’s playing a new position and excited about it. There’s nobody on this team who can’t score or come up with a big defensive play when they need to. I just have to put them in the right scheme and the players will win games.”
Glenview was limited to six points for the third-straight quarter down the stretch while the Lady Crusaders showcased their shooting touch. Bush assisted Daigle on a three-pointer to open the fourth and the point guard soon returned the favor on a midrange hoop.
Bush also assisted Bell on a jumper and Clemons nailed a long shot of her own.
Patton meant business in the rebounding department late in the game as Pleiner and Clemons both blocked shots to wrap up the huge win.
“We switched up our defense from [zone] to man and knew we’d be able to wear them down,” Patton said.
“I just try my hardest out there and was in the right place at times for some rebounds.”
The Lady Crusaders will place twice Thursday on the opening day of the Kaman Christmas Classic – a 1:15 p.m. matchup against 3A Burton Academy and then an 8 p.m. contest against an opponent to be determined.
“We can still take better care of the ball in the tournament next week, especially making sure our passes go to the right person,” Bell said.
“We’ll look to become more patient on offense in the tournament and make sure we take quality shots,” Pierce added.
“If the girls are mentally prepared coming into each game, we’ll be in great shape.”

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Posted by on Dec 26 2007. Filed under Editorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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