Defense leads Fillies
BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS Marian's Lindsay Nemeth goes up for a shot from in close as Lehighton's Maria Magyar defends.
When you think Marian Fillies basketball, you think defense.
The Fillies did nothing to damage that reputation Tuesday against Lehighton.
Marian forced 14 first quarter turnovers and went on to post a 67-26 non-league victory over the Indians.
"I thought we did a nice job of turning defense into offense," said Marian coach Paul Brutto. "That's what we're hoping to get out of our press. We forced a lot of turnovers and then converted them into points."
The Fillies, who perennially rank among the top defensive teams in District 11, opened the game in a full court zone press that caused numerous problems for a young Lehighton team.
The Indians managed just four shots in the opening quarter as they turned the ball over in the backcourt time and time again.
"We struggled against their pressure defense," said first-year Lehighton coach Ray Bressi. "We knew it was coming and tried to prepare our kids for it at practice, but we still weren't able to handle it."
All five Marian starters scored in the opening quarter as it built a commanding 25-7 lead. Kaysi McLaughlin had seven of her game-high 15 points in the quarter while backcourt mates Gabby Green and Sam Faust added six points apiece.
"We are a pretty small team so we have to be able to create points with our speed and defense," said McLaughlin. "We did a nice job of forcing turnovers and getting baskets in transition.
"One of our goals is to get offense through our defense and tonight we did a good job of accomplishing that."
Marian (2-1) took the press off in the second quarter, but its half court defense proved to be just as imposing. The Fillies forced eight more turnovers as they pushed their halftime lead to 47-14.
Seven different Marian players had field goals in the second period with Faust's five points leading the way.
"I was pleased with how we executed offensively, especially in the first half," said Brutto. "We're still a little sloppy at times and we need to do a better job with our perimeter shooting, but I liked the way we passed the ball.
"We're still a work in progress on the offensive end, but tonight we consistently found the open person and had a lot of assists."
The second half featured constant lineup switches by both teams. The Fillies kicked in the mercy-rule on a Lindsay Nemeth three-pointer with just over five minutes remaining in the game.
Maria Magyar and Kasaundra Barclay had six points apiece to lead Lehighton (0-2) in scoring. Tiffany Thompson had four points and eight rebounds.
"Marian is a quality program and is very well coached," said Bressi. "We're trying to get our program to that level, but we still have a long way to go.
"We're working on it and we will get better. We have a good bunch of kids who are dedicated to turning this around."
For Marian, McLaughlin was one of four double figure scorers. Kelly Shober had 12 points, Faust added 11 points and Danielle Tristani chipped in 10 points and eight boards.
"We don't have one main scorer," said Brutto. "But we do have a number of kids who can put up double figures on a given night.
"Anytime you have four double figure scorers and hold the opposition to 26 points, you have done a pretty nice job."
Green 3-0-0-6, Faust 5-1-1-11, McLaughlin 5-2-2-15, Sofranko 1-0-0-2, Nemeth 2-0-0-5, Shaud 2-0-0-4, Fennick 1-1-2-3, Wilson 0-0-0-0, Shober 5-2-2-12, Tristani 4-1-2-10. TOTALS: 28-7-9-68.
Blasiak 0-0-0-0, Shelly 0-0-0-0, Green 0-0-0-0, Barclay 2-2-6-6, Magyar 2-2-2-6, Yurasits 0-0-0-0, Evans 1-0-0-3, Durishin 1-1-2-3, Smith 0-0-0-0, Pell 1-0-0-2, Daniels 1-0-0-2, Thompson 2-0-0-4, Rehrig 0-0-0-0, Cordova 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 10-5-10-26.
Marian 25 22 8 13 - 68
Lehighton 7 7 6 6 - 26
Three-pointers: M - McLaughlin 3, Tristani 1, Nemeth 1. L - Evans 1.