The Marian Fillies found out where theyt stand as far as being a quality girls basketball team right now when they faced fellow Schuylkill League Division III archrival Nativity on Monday night.
The Golden Girls, who experienced an appearance in last year's PIAA State Class A Championship game, handed the Fillies a 37-25 setback and it wasn't obviously what head coach Paul Brutto wanted to see happen.
Brutto did find some positives in the Fillies' (3-2 overall; 1-1 SL) second setback of the season, especially against a team many believe is going to once again be one to reckon with.
"I told them if you ask most people who has the best chance in the East to go to Penn State, most people would say them (Nativity)," Brutto said. "With some flaws and so forth, we still gave them a tough battle. So, it makes you feel good that they (the Fillies) know if we tidy up some things and play a little bit tougher we have a good shot to beat them in a rematch.
"So, it's a positive in that effect if they can take out the idea if we play better, then we're as good or as close as good and on any given night we could beat them."
The Fillies trailed 8-0 after three minutes of play, but recovered from the slow start by going on a 11-3 run to end the first period tied at 11-11.
In the second quarter, the Fillies moved out to a 18-13 lead.
Soon after, Nativity head coach George Forney watched his players eliminate that deficit with some key shots. On the other end, Marian's offense went on a slump hitting only one of its next 14 shots, which extended between the end of the second and the entirety of the third quarter.
"When you play a team with the quality of Marian, it comes down to which one happens to hit a couple of big shots at the right time," Forney said. "I mean these are two teams that know each other extremely well and just go at each other extremely hard.
"So I kept telling them just relax on offense and just continue playing defense the way you're doing it, you have an excellent shot of winning the game."
Nativity's tenacious defense held Marian to a 1-for-10 performance, which was a driving left-handed lay-up by Jen Linkchorst with 4:25 left to play in the third. Meanwhile, Courtney Field scored four of her game-high 13 points in the third, while Nabholz netted four of her nine to push the visitors up by double digits – 30-20 - entering the fourth.
In the final quarter, there were more free throws made than field goals.
Linkchorst netted Marian's lone field goal, while teammate Danielle Tristani, who finished with a Fillies' high of nine points, was 3-for-4 from the line.
"If we can get our offense to be a little more consistent and share the ball, and keep playing defense like that, and just do a little better both ends of the glass, we'll remember this as only one bad day in December," Brutto said. "But if we're going to keep playing the way we have been on offense, then it's going to be a long season.
"It was just one of those nights. Good defense by them, bad shooting by us – a combination which didn't work in our favor."
Farr 3-0-0-7, Field 6-1-3-13, Chaklos 1-0-0-2, Eich 1-0-0-2, Holohan 0-0-0-0, Birosik 0-1-4-1, Lewandowski 1-0-0-2, Nabholz 4-1-2-9. TOTALS: 16-3-9-36.
Bellezza 1-0-0-2, Ferrello 0-0-0-0, McLaughlin 2-0-0-5, Kennedy 0-1-3-1, Gutsie 0-2-2-2, Linkchorst 3-0-2-6, Shober 0-0-0-0, Monaco 0-0-0-0, Ferko 1-0-0-2, Tristani 3-3-4-9. TOTALS: 10-6-11-27.
Nativity 11 9 10 6 – 36
Marian 11 7 2 7 – 27
Three-pointers: Nativity – Farr 1; Marian – McLaughlin 1.