It would certainly be valid to describe Coach Paul Brutto's philosophy for his undefeated Marian girls' basketball team in one sentence.
Hurry up and then wait.
Last night the Fillies' pressure defense caused 24 turnovers in its 40-25 victory over Williams Valley. Yet the game's outcome was still undecided when the Lady Vikings' Kate Whelski's nailed a three-pointer at the seven-minute mark of the third quarter to tie the game at 18-18.
"As good as our pressure defense can be, it can get us into trouble when we transition into our offense," said Brutto. "We have to realize that we can't always continue the fast pace we have on our defense when we get the ball. We need to slow the tempo and be patient to work the ball for good shots."
Brutto's comments definitely defined the game's circumstances. The Fillies full court man to man pressure caused eight first quarter Viking turnovers as Marian jumped out to a five point lead. Senior point guard Gabby Green led the way with seven of her team's 11 points, with four of them coming on driving lay ups off of steals. But in the second quarter, Williams Valley proved it wasn't going to get run off the court. Whelsky's bucket with 3:20 to go cut Marian's lead to two points, while the Fillies scored just one field goal in the quarter, shooting 1-for-8 from the field.
"We had a miserable quarter, plain and simple," said Brutto. "We couldn't take care of the ball, which then became unforced turnovers from rushing too much. Plus, they started to beat our man pressure so we made the adjustment at half time to switch to a zone press."
And after Williams Valley (4-5) tied the game early in the third, Marian forced more turnovers in a 9-0 run. Whelsky's second trey with 20 seconds to go cut the Vikings deficit to eight, but that was as close as they would get.
"The third quarter can decide many basketball games," said Williams Valley coach Christina Harner. "Unfortunately for us we had a breakdown caused by Marian's awesome defensive intensity. They trapped us out front and we never could finish our plays with good shot selections."
The Fillies, sparked by senior Emily Sofranko's three baskets within a minute and a half, put the game away in the fourth.
"Emily's three layups coming off our zone pressure gave us the momentum down the stretch," said Brutto. 'We shared the ball much better and improved our offensive efficiency too."
Marian, who owns the second leading defense in the TIMES-NEWS area by allowing just over 32 points a game improved upon that average by holding their opponent to just nine field goals in the game.
The Fillies outscored Williams Valley 22-10 in the second half to gain the win.
For Marian, Green and sophomore Savanna Krusinsky both tallied nine points, while Abby Whildin and Sofranko added eight.
The Vikings were paced by Whelski, who had a game-high 10 points.
Green 4-0-0-9, Whildin 2-4-8-8, A. Fannick 1-1-2-3, Whitecavage 1-0-0-3, Sofranko 4-0-0-8, Nemeth 0-0-0-0, Krusinsky 2-5-7-9, Holman 0-0-2-0, Karnish 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 14-10-19-40.
Cass. Pinchorsky 2-3-4-8, Hawk 2-1-2-5, Han. Nestor 1-0-0-2, Wessner 0-0-0-0, Kreiser 0-0-0-0, Hal.Nestor 0-0-0-0, Whelski 4-0-0-10. TOTALS: 9-4-6-25
Williams Vy. 6 9 6 4 - 25
Marian 11 7 11 11 - 40
Three-pointers: WV- Cass. Pinchorsky 1, Whelsky 2; M- Green 1, Whitecavage 1.