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Fillies’ rally comes up short against Nativity

The growing pains are evident.

Baby steps are needed right now.

But the Marian girls basketball team is showing early-season signs that its maturation might come quicker than expected.

For now, however, the Fillies will have to settle for a moral victory.

Tuesday evening, Marian suffered its second loss of the young season, but in the process may have received a nice boost physiologically.

Highly-touted Pottsville Nativity had to stave off a late rally by the Fillies to emerge with a 45-41 Schuylkill League decision.

The Fillies got terrific play from freshman Carly Minchhoff, who poured in a team-high 15 points, and also received strong performances from senior Jacalyn Possessky (eight points), freshman Frankie Martinelli (seven), and sophomore Ashley Pleban (six).

But, that wasn’t enough to offset Nativity’s two big offensive weapons, however, as Samantha Heenan drained 19 points and junior Kami Abdo knocked down 16 points, including three huge free throws down the stretch that secured the outcome.

“I didn’t expect anything else coming in here,” said Nativity head coach Scott Forney. “They’re young and we are young too in certain areas, but our two kids (Heenan and Abdo) stepped up when we needed them the most.”

Marian sunk into a 10-4 hole midway through the first quarter, then recharged its batteries thanks to Pleban’s two triples that closed the margin to 12-11.

It really got sticky for the Fillies when the Golden Girls took off over during the final three minutes of the second quarter, posting 10 unanswered points to gain a 26-14 lead at the halfway point.

“You can see where we are lacking in experience,” Marian coach Paul Brutto said. “But you also saw us battle back after falling behind at halftime.

“We are getting much better - and we did it against a very good team that is now 3-0.”

Despite the halftime deficit, the Fillies were undaunted as they were about to knock on the door over the next two quarters of play.

Marian raced out of the blocks to open the second half on a 10-2 run. Minchhoff, Possessky, Kerri Digris, Frankie Martinelli and Taylor Walsh all contributed in pacing the Fillies to a 16-8 run during the period.

The only thing saving the visitors was the play of Heenan and Abdo, who weren’t yielding, allowing Nativity to take a slim 34-30 lead into the final period.

The gap closed to within a bucket twice at the outset of the final quarter.

However, the Fillies (0-2) never got over the hump, but kept hanging around and when Minchhoff sank a pair of free throws with 42 seconds to play, Marian was within 42-38.

After an Abdo free throw, Minchhoff let loose and swished a trey with 25 seconds to go and the Nativity lead was down to 43-41.

Marian forced a quick turnover, but haste would make waste for the youthful Fillies as they too coughed up the ball, allowing Abdo to settle in with her last two foul conversions with: 15 to play.

“I’m really happy the way we came back,” Brutto said. “But then our inexperience showed ... a bad decision, a bad pass, whatever. Those little things add up against a good opponent.

“But I’m pleased with the direction we’re going. We just need to speed it up, but we have potential with freshmen and sophomores in there.”

BY THE NUMBERS … Marian hustled its way for 37 rebounds, six more than Nativity. Martinelli had a big night with nine, while teammates Possessky and Minchhoff each had eight. Heenan had 12 for the Golden Girls.

TAKING SHOTS … Marian shot 13-for-46, including 1-for-10 performances in both the second and fourth quarters. The Golden Girls shot 15-for-46.

DINGED … Marian lost a key player early in the second period when Mia Nemeth sustained a knee injury.


Heenan 5-0-11-19, Abdo 5-5-9-16, Kramer 3-0-2-6, Zimerofsky 1-0-0-2, Quick 1-0-0-2, Zeantauski 0-0-0-0-0, Brennan 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 15-14-22-45.


Minchhoff 6-2-2-15, Possessky 1-6-8-8, Martinelli 2-2-2-7, Pleban 2-0-0-6, Digris 2-0-0-4, Walsh 1-0-0-2, Nemeth 0-0-0. TOTALS: 13-11-14-42.

Nativity 12 14 8 11 - 45

Marian 11 3 16 11 - 41

Three-pointers: Nativity - Abdo 1; Marian - Pleban 2, Minchhoff 1, Martinelli 1, Digris 1.

Marian's Jacalyn Possessky guards Samantha Heenan of Nativity during Tuesday's Schuylkill League game. RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS