POTTSVILLE Nativity High School has the three letters "B.V.M." in the name of its school. It stands for "Blessed Virgin Mary."
Last night, after the Marian Fillies defeated the Golden Girls, 49-34, those three letters could stand for "Brutto's Victory March," as the "Big Victory for Marian" came to fruition.
The game panned out in a tale of two halves. The first half seemed full of defense, missed shots and turnovers, as the Schuylkill League rivals relied on their tough man-to-man defenses to intensely pressue each other. The teams combined for 23 turnovers in the half , including 14 by Nativity.
In the second half, though, the offenses started to shine brightly especially Marian's. The Fillies' big half included a crucial 18-0 run that turned a four-point deficit into a 33-19 lead with 1:24 left on the third quarter clock.
"In that third quarter, that's the best we've played in a long time," Marian head coach Paul Brutto said. "After how poorly the first half went, we started to get some easy shots in transition, we were sharing the ball and had some nice passes."
The Fillies continued to elevate above the competition in the fourth period enroute to the huge league win.
"It's been three years since we've beaten them," Brutto said. "So, I'm happy for the seniors because this is a defining moment for them up to this point."
Rebounding tended to be a big factor in the game. In the first half, Nativity held a 21-13 edge, but the final rebound tally was 33-32 in favor of Marian. So, the Fillies paid more attention to the inside game in the second half.
"When we rebound, we can run the ball more effectively," Brutto commented. "It helped with the transition from defense to offense."
That it did.
At halftime, Nativty held a slim 16-15 lead. The pivotal third began with a Bridget Holohan three, but that was quickly countered by a Danielle Tristani triple that began the 18-0 Fillies' run. Eight points from Kelly Shober and six Tristani points highlighted the run, before Nativity scored four points in the last minute of that third.
Marian then open opened the final quarter with six straight points, including a high-low post feed from Tristani to Shober for a lay-up that opened the Marian lead to 39-23 with six minutes remaining.
The Golden Girls (6-2) cut it to 44-32 with 4:07 left, but a Gabby Green put-back and a huge Kaysi McLaughlin trey did everything but end the game.
"We're young and they have three seniors," Nativity head coach George Forney said. "(Marian) really upped its defense in that third quarter and that was big."
Marian (7-2) committed 13 turnovers in the game while Nativity had 26, proving to be a big factor.
Individually, Marian got big games from its three seniors with Shober rimming 15, Tristani tallying 14 and McLaughlin nailing 13.
Meanwhile, Nativity got a team-high 10 from Holohan and teammate Emily Field.
Nativity won the JV game, 31-28. Cheyanne Bray led the Fillies with 13.
Green 2-1-3-5, Faust 1-0-0-2, McLaughlin 5-2-4-13, Shaud 0-0-0-0, Nemeth 0-0-0-0, Wilson 0-0-0-0, Shober 5-5-10-15, Tristani 4-5-6-14. TOTALS: 17-13-23-49.
K. White 0-0-0-0, Palko 0-0-0-0, Hughes 2-2-2-6, D. White 0-0-0-0, Andrefski 0-0-0-0, Holohan 2-4-4-10, Field 5-0-0-10, Davenport 1-0-0-2, Sabol 1-0-0-2, Luckenbill 2-0-2-4. TOTALS: 13-6-8-34.
Marian 6 9 18 16 - 49
Nativity BVM 6 10 7 11 - 34
Three pointers: M - Tristani 1, McLaughlin 1; N - Holohan 2.