Marian girls' basketball coach Paul Brutto had a few concerns heading into Monday's match-up with Schuylkill League foe Minersville.
Number one: get the win and qualify for the District Eleven Playoffs.
Number two: get an early lead against a pesky squad like the Battlin' Miners to prevent a late duel with them.
Number three: continue improving as the season progresses.
Coach Brutto can put check marks next to all three as the 45-21 win over the Lady Miners proved to quench all thirsts.
The win qualified the Fillies for the District 11 Class A playoffs.
The game started ugly with turnovers aplenty, but Jen Linkchorst's trey started the scoring with over two minutes off the clock. Kaycie McLaughlin's jumper gave the locals a 5-0 lead and the rout was on. Five different players scored for Marian in the first quarter to give them the 11-3 lead after eight minutes.
In the second quarter, things continued in Marian's favor as the Fillies increased their lead to 20-8 at the break. Five points from Danielle Tristani provided the effort, as the Marian defense was consistently causing fits for the Lady Miners' offense.
"We practice our defense a fair share," Brutto admits. "We're not the best offensive team, but we stress to them that the opponents' possession doesn't end with the shot; it ends with us getting the rebound and we did a great job tonight of not giving them many second looks."
Angela Bellezza's four points in the third helped her team to a 29-11 lead.
The locals outscored Minersville 16-10 in the final frame to solidify their destiny as district contenders, as they rolled to the easy win.
"We're playing well and getting better as the season progresses," Brutto stated. "They're moving the ball around well and this is a big win because we qualify for the playoffs now."
As for the early lead, Brutto admitted, "It's nice to have that comfort zone and work from ahead in the game, especially against a scrappy team like Minersville."
The Fillies' defense is what made the difference down the stretch and Brutto admits they pride themselves on that phase of the game. "Our defense is progressing and we stress situations and patience on our offense. We like to get the ball inside and even though we didn't shoot too well from the perimeter, I thought we did a great job of getting offensive rebounds and getting some putbacks tonight," he added.
In the game, Danielle Tristani led the locals with 12 points on the night, while Angela Bellezzo's seven and six apiece from Linkchorst and Kaycee Gutsie aided the cause.
For Minersville, Ohrill's seven was tops.
The Miners prevailed early on in the JV contest, 47-41.
Purcell 0-0-0-0, Mitchell 0-0-0-0, Bentz 0-0-0-0, Ryan 1-0-0-3, Pukas 0-1-2-1, Sborz 0-2-4-2, Evans 0-1-2-1, Walasavage 0-0-0-0, Ohrill 1-5-6-7, Brennan 0-0-0-0, Leshko 2-0-1-5, Brophy 1-0-0-2. TOTALS: 5-9-14-21.
Bellezza 2-2-3-7, Ferrello 0-0-1-0, McLaughlin 1-2-2-4, Patten 1-0-1-2, Kennedy 0-3-6-3, Gutsie 1-4-4-6, Markiewicz 2-1-1-5, Linkchorst 1-3-4-6, Shober 0-0-0-0, Monaco 0-0-0-0, Tristani 5-2-3-12. TOTALS: 13-17-25-45.
Minersville 3 5 3 10 - 21
Marian 11 9 9 16 - 45
Three pointers; Mi – Leshko 1, Ryan 1; Marian – Linkchorst 1, Bellezza 1.