SHAMOKIN - For most of the first half, Marian's defense wasn't quite up to the program's standard. Because of it, the Fillies trailed host Lourdes Regional in the first half of the Red Raider Tip Off Classic girls title game.
But over the final two and a half minutes of the first half, Marian clamped down. The Fillies' second-half defense and the hot shooting of senior point guard Gabby Green led them to a 55-42 win and their first Red Raider Classic title since 2010.
"We just started playing a little bit harder," said Marian head coach Paul Brutto. "Our defense was not what we need in the first half. At the end of the first half we cut [the deficit from 11 to three. In the third quarter we got some turnovers and Gabby started firing. She hit some threes that got us going offensively."
Marian (2-0) trailed 25-14 late in the second quarter, but Lourdes (1-1) committed three turnovers in the final two minutes of the first half and the Fillies scored the last eight points before halftime, cutting the deficit to 27-24.
Green, who missed the entire offseason with an ACL injury, got warmed up with a three-pointer in the final minute of the first half.
The senior and four-year starter caught fire in the second half, hitting three straight from long range in a span of a minute and 30 seconds to put her team ahead, 35-31 with 4:55 left in the third quarter.
"Gabby also made some nice passes for us in the second half," said Brutto. "That's what we expect out of her. She's a four-year starter and the leading scorer returning."
Green injured her knee in a district playoff game last season. She didn't return to the court until the beginning of practice three weeks ago. In just her second game back, she missed her first three attempts from behind the arc, then made her next five. She made seven of 13 shots from the floor against Lourdes.
"It feels amazing to be back on the court after eight months of injury," said Green, who scored a game-high 21 points against Lourdes. "It's my senior year and I want to do big things this year. We can. We have the talent and the depth."
Marian showed off its depth early and late in the game.
With Lourdes trying to pull away early, senior Ericha Holman came off the bench to score a couple quick baskets that kept the score close in the first quarter. She also made a few foul shots in the second quarter to keep her team withing striking distance.
In the second half, Marian went ahead on Green's threes, and kept the Lady Raider down with defense, forcing 10 turnovers in the final six minutes of the third quarter to take a 47-33 lead into the fourth.
Senior guard Emily Sofranko was responsible for five steals in the second half and six in the game.
"In the first half their point guard was just going by us," said Brutto. "In the second half Emily did a good job at frustrating her. She got some easy layups off her turnovers. That's what we want to do. We want to try and create offense from defense as much as possible."
Green 7-2-4-21, Whilden 1-1-4-3, A. Fannick 0-0-0-0, Whitecavage 2-0-0-5, Sofranko 2-1-1-5, Nemeth 0-0-0-0, Baranko 3-0-0-6, Krusinsky 3-2-5-8, Holman 2-3-4-7, Karnish 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 20-9-18-55.
Long 2-0-2-4, Komara 0-0-0-0, Wheary 0-0-0-0, Trell 8-0-0-17, Bickel 3-0-0-8, Schultz 2-6-7-10, Funk 0-2-2-2, Machuzak 0-1-2-1, Pennypacker 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 15-9-13-42.
Marian 6 18 23 8 - 55
Lourdes 13 14 6 9 - 42
Three-pointers: M - Green 5, Whitecavage 1; Bickell 2, Trell 1.