Fillies' 'D' the difference
ron gower/times news Marian's Kelly Shober drives to the basket for two points as Minersville's Lauren Leshko (30) and Alyssa Ryan (13) defend.
Marian knew it had to find a way to slow down Minersville's Reighley Melochick.
The Battlin' Miners' sophomore guard had just scored 25 points over the weekend against Shenandoah Valley and came into the game with a 21.0 point per game average.
The Fillies not only slowed down Melochick, but they practically brought the entire Minersville offense to a stop.
The result was a 40-26 victory that kept Marian unbeaten in Schuylkilll League play.
Marian's stingy defense held Melochick to a season-low eight points. It also forced the high-scoring Battlin' Miners, who came into the contest averaging 57.6 points per game, to shoot 17-percent (9-for-54) from the field. The 26 points was a season low for Minersville, which had scored over 60 points five times this season.
"We were concerned because they're a real athletic team and Melochick is a good player who can really can score," Marian head coach Paul Brutto said. "Tonight, we did a real nice job on Melochick and to top it off we held them to a low percentage from the floor. We had three or four different girls guarding her and they all did a nice job. It was just a great defensive effort all-around."
The Fillies' straight up man-to-man defense held the Battlin Miners' (8-4 overall; 2-3 SL) to single digits throughout the first three quarters. During that span, the Miners had a total of just four field goals. Meanwhile, Melochick was held scoreless until she finally hit a free throw with 1:32 left in the third quarter. All three of her field goals came in the final quarter.
"We knew she was their high scorer and that we had to stop her," said Marian's Kaysi McLaughlin, who played a pivotal role in keeping Melochick in check. "I got put on her initially, but I had a lot of help. I really owe a lot to my teammates for helping out if I got beat off the dribble.
"When you are playing against great players, you need great team defense. Everyone has to fill their roles and that's what we got tonight."
The game was tied 5-5 after one, and then McLaughlin scored five of her eight points to help the Fillies take a 14-8 lead into halftime.
While the Fillies struggled themselves from the floor (shooting 27-percent for the game), they were able to rely on their foul shooting to help them pull through in the end. Despite making just five field goals in the second half, the Fillies used a 16-for-24 performance from the charity stripe to help extend their winning streak to four games and improve their record to 9-2 overall and 5-0 in league play.
"We know if we're only up by a few points that foul shots are important," said Danielle Tristani, who was 6-for-7 at that foul line. "We know we need to finish them off in order to be successful. So, we practice them at the end of each practice and we even come up to the gym during lunch to work on them even more."
The Fillies' Kelly Shober also had a big game as she finished with a team-high 10 points.
Melochick 3-2-2-8, Bentz 0-0-0-0, Rinaldo 0-0-0-0, Ryan 1-2-3-4, Walasavage 4-2-6-10, Le. Leshko 0-1-2-1, La. Leshko 1-0-0-3. TOTALS: 9-7-13-26.
Green 2-1-2-5, Faust 0-5-6-5, McLaughlin 2-3-6-8, Sofranko 1-0-0-2, Nemeth 1-0-0-2, Wilson 0-0-0-0, Shober 4-2-5-10, Tristani 1-6-7-8. TOTALS: 11-17-26-40.
Minersville 5 3 8 10 - 26
Marian 5 9 10 16 - 40
Three-pointers: Minersville - La. Leshko 1; Marian - McLaughlin 1.