Duke vs. North Carolina, Michigan vs. Ohio State, and Alabama vs. Auburn have all proved to be great rivalry games over the years. It doesn't matter how successful each team's season has gone, both squads always bring their top game when the rivalry atmosphere presents itself.
The Nativity Golden Girls (8-9, 4-6 SL) showed that last night as they upset the Marian Fillies 55-53 in what is arguably the best rivalry going in Schuylkill League girls basketball.
Marian (11-5, 6-4 SL) started out the evening on a terror leading 17-4 after the first quarter. Marian's defensive pressure, much like it has all season kept the Golden Girls at bay. Nativity was only able to get off six shots throughout the whole quarter, scoring just one field goal.
The Fillies also had success offensively against Nativity's 1-3-1 zone, finding gaps in their defense, especially attacking the weak side block. Sam Faust was on the receiving end of most of Marian's passes to that area, scoring 12 of her 14 points in the first half.
However, like any good coaching staff will do, Coach George Forney and company made some adjustments and got his girls motivated. Nativity went on a 16-8 run in the second quarter, closing with a 10-2 run to inch within five before intermission.
"We're a young and inexperienced team due to the injuries we had this year and they're just learning how to play the game night in and night out," said Forney. "Early on they were having success getting the ball to the opposite block against our 1-3-1, so we finally got our girls to shut that area down, but then our girls weren't getting out on their three point shooters. Their ability to shoot was probably our main concern coming into the game."
The Fillies took advantage of the Golden Girl's defensive miscues once again, hitting five triples in the third quarter. Lindsay Nemeth had the hot hand in the frame, scoring 11 points, sinking three long balls. Gabby Green, who got off to a rough shooting start hit two treys in the third. After the Fillies three-point barrage they saw themselves up double digits, leading 42-27 with 2:38 remaining in the third quarter. However, Nativity regrouped once again and clawed within 10 heading into the fourth.
The fourth quarter was all Golden Girls as they outscored the Fillies 21-9. Marian foul trouble opened the door for Nativity to make a big run with Gabby Green, Lindsay Nemeth, and Savannah Krusinsky all picking up their fourth foul early on in the final stanza. With Green on the bench for almost half of the fourth Marian struggled on both ends of the floor, especially on the defensive side where they had trouble stopping Nativity from getting to the tin.
"The foul trouble started the whole process, but our defense just isn't good right now," said Marian coach Paul Brutto. "We got beat off the dribble a lot, either for lay ups or instances where it put us at a disadvantage. We were out of rebounding position because of the penetration and they also did a good job of converting their shots attempts. So it was a combination of foul trouble and bad defense."
Even with the Fillies getting outscored by 12 points in the fourth they possessed the ball with about 10 seconds remaining with score knotted at 53-53. After passing it around the perimeter for a few seconds an errant Fillies pass was stolen by Nativity's Keegan White, who took the ball coast to coast, but was fouled when trying to convert the bucket. White hit both free throws and Nativity came home with a big Schuylkill League Division 3 win.
"This was just such a huge win for us," said Forney. "It is one of the most satisfying wins I've coached in my 21 years at the school. It was a total team effort and I'm just real proud of our girls."
For Nativity Keegan white scored 10 of her 17 points in the fourth quarter to help Nativity get the win. Olivia Andrefski also scored 17 points.
K. White 6 4-6 17, D. White 0 0-0 0, Andrefski 5 4-5 17, Warren 1 3-5 5, Luckenbill 3 4-5 10, Souchak 3 0-0 6. Totals 18 15-21 55.
Green 5 2-2 14, Faust 6 2-3 14, Fannick 0 0-2 0, Bray 0 0-0 0, Sofranko 0 1-2 1, Shaud 0 0-0 0, Nemeth 5 2-2 16, Krusinsky 3 2-2 8, Hill 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 9-13 53.
Nativity 4 16 14 21 - 55
Marian 17 8 19 9 - 53
Three-pointers: N - Adrefski 3, White 1; M - Nemeth 4, Green 2.