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Lady Crusaders dominate in tourney opener

Second-half shutouts are normally reserved for football, but don’t tell that to the Lady Crusaders.
St. John (7-6) absolutely owned Wednesday night’s game with the Waxahachie Faith Family Lady Eagles as they only gave up two points in the final three quarters to win 67-7 in the team’s opening round game of the Christmas Classic. Regardless of how good, or bad, their opponent may have been, it was an impressive team effort.
“It was good to see everybody getting significant time and contributing to begin the tournament,” said coach Ray Burress.
Carli Bragg led St. John with 14 points to go with three steals and two assists. Hannah Patton scored 11 points and hit a couple of three pointers, while Amy Daigle had three steals and two assists to go with her 10 points. Samantha Pleiner (nine points, two steals, two assists), Alysa Pleiner (seven assists), Leslie Bell (five steals, two assists) and Amber Epps (three steals) also made a significant impact in the win.
Bragg kickstarted her team’s offense with an early layup on an assist from Alysa Pleiner and then she assisted Daigle for a short jumper. After Epps scored on a put back, Samantha Pleiner (to Bragg) and Bragg (to Alysa Pleiner) each notched assists off of steals.
Bell then found Patton at the top of the arc for a three-pointer to push the team’s lead to 16-2. Epps and Bragg each scored on put backs late in the quarter as a three pointer by the Eagles pulled them within 21-5 after one.
“We had been playing tougher teams lately, so the girls were able to put a lot of pressure on the ball the entire time,” Burress said.
“Carli is an outstanding player and just a great athlete in general. Amber did a good job inside of defending and rebounding to prevent easy baskets.
“Hannah has developed into a top long-range shooter for us and I depend on her a lot with the second group. She’s improved dramatically this year in terms of her confidence and aggressiveness.”
Bragg, Epps and Daigle all made steals early in the second quarter before Samantha Pleiner assisted Daigle on a layup. Alysa Pleiner notched assists on St. John’s next three buckets, two of which were made by Bragg. Rachel Bush and Samantha Pleiner scored late in the quarter while Faith Clemons rebounded well as St. John led 35-7 at the half.
“Alysa got the ball to open teammates for good shots throughout the game,” the coach said.
“Amy did a super job at both ends of the court, but especially defensively with how well she moves her feet. Her confidence level has risen. Faith has good technique and she’s improving as she gets more playing time.”
Daigle assisted Bragg and Samantha Pleiner early in the third while Epps continued to control the offensive boards with another put back. After Epps assisted Bragg, she and Daigle each made steals for transition layups as St. John’s defense overwhelmed the visitors. Patton assisted Daigle on a short jumper late in the quarter and Bell began what would be a strong finish for her defensively with a block to end the quarter as St. John led 50-7.
“When Amber is running in transition, we usually play well,” Burress said.
“Amy is going to be a special player for St. John in the next couple of years.”
Bell’s defense was the story early in the fourth as she came up with four steals in the quarter. She also hit a baseline jumper and converted a transition layup on assists from Alysa Pleiner while assisting Bush in transition herself. Patton buried another three pointer in the closing moments and made a layup on Alysa Pleiner’s final assist as the home team capped off the 60-point win.
“Leslie hustles as well as anyone and really puts everything into it on the court,” Burress said.
“I was very pleased with the defensive effort. We did make some mistakes in the second half that have to be fixed, however, and we will.”
The Lady Crusaders played early games today against the Ferris JV at 10 a.m. and the Ennis JV at 1 p.m. The results of both games will appear in Friday Sports.

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Posted by on Dec 28 2006. Filed under Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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