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Visiting Ferris Yellowjackets top Lady Crusader basketball

Playing bigger schools sometimes means a tough loss, but adversity often brings about improvement.
The Lady Crusader basketball team (3-1) was dealt its first loss of the season at home on Tuesday night against the 3A Ferris Yellowjackets by a 57-29 margin. Most of Ferris’ lead was built in the first and third quarters as the orange squad steadily increased its advantage throughout the action.
“We made too many mental errors instead of just getting beat because they were better than us,” said coach Ray Burress.
“Ferris is a good team, but we had about three times our usual number of turnovers and didn’t shoot the ball as well as we had been. To their credit, Ferris handled [defensive] pressure much better than our previous opponents and they took away our transition game. We want to play teams like this because it makes us a better team for district.”
Carli Bragg got off to a fast start with 10 first-quarter points and she did most of the scoring for St. John to finish with 19 points and three steals. Amy Daigle added seven points, along with two steals and an assist. Jennifer Maliska had two points and an assist, but the freshman backup point guard came up big defensively with three steals and two blocks.
Ferris rode aggressive defense and strong point guard play to take an 11-0 lead in the first quarter. St. John had a nice stretch of play over the next few minutes as Alysa Pleiner and Daigle each made steals and ensuing assists to Bragg on transition layups. Bragg hit two corner threes late in the quarter, but Ferris would take a 19-11 lead into the second.
“Carli is a special player and she will keep getting better,” Burress said.
“Alysa makes very good decisions with the ball on most nights and Ferris played tough defense on her. We want to push the ball as much as possible.
“The up-tempo game is fun to watch, fun to play and a lot of fun to coach. At the other end, we gave Ferris some quick scoring spurts when they created turnovers off the [defensive] press and that hurt us.”
St. John became increasingly aggressive on defense as it piled up eight steals in the second quarter alone, including two each by Maliska and Bragg. Most of the team’s baskets in the quarter came in transition off of steals, which is ideally what Burress is looking for. Alysa Pleiner had an assist to Daigle on the break while Samantha Pleiner assisted Bragg and Amber Epps found Daigle for a layup.
Meanwhile, Ferris was tracking down a number of errant St. John passes and attacking the offensive glass when it did miss shots to take a 35-21 lead into the half.
“Jennifer did a super job for a freshman and at one point we had four freshman on the court,” the coach said.
“I’m very proud of Jennifer for her scrappy and tough approach as a young player. Amy did a good job of finding ways to contribute out there.”
Ferris was able to put the game away in the third quarter as it held down the St. John offense. Jumpers weren’t falling for the home team and the Yellowjackets continued to take advantage of it with layups in transition.
Maliska kept battling with a block in the quarter and an assist to fellow freshman Hannah Patton for a layup. Faith Clemons also had a block in the quarter as Ferris scored the last six points for a 50-25 lead.
“Ferris was aggressive on the ball and capitalized on our mistakes,” Burress said.
“I also thought we passed up some quality shots.”
While the Lady Crusader offense was also held in check in the fourth, Ferris only scored seven points in the final frame after no less than 15 in the first three. Bragg, Leslie Bell and Epps all came up with steals in the quarter while Maliska managed to block another shot. Epps finished the game on a high note as the senior provided intense defensive pressure and was a rebounding force.
“Amber played a heck of a ballgame and was probably our best defensive player tonight,” the coach said.
“The girls never quit and hustled until the very end. I’ve seen teams lay down and I’m proud we’re not one of them.
“We’ve got to take better care of the ball going forward. Defensively, we have some adjustments to make and they are things that can be corrected.”

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Posted by on Nov 29 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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