Golden Girls pull away from Marian
POTTSVILLE – Traditionally, this one is usually a war. A white knuckler, in-your-face, ain’t giving an inch, slap-and-hack battle for four full quarters.
In the past, it has also been a showdown between two of the best small school girls basketball programs in the Schuylkill League, District 11, and occasionally the entire state.
With the teams entering this year’s battle with a combined 11-8 record, it might not have had the same wide-ranging impact of past Marian and Nativity games. But it was still a huge game in the Schuylkill League Division 3 race.
Nativity proved to be the better team on Wednesday, as it had little trouble taking Round 1 of the yearly home-and-home series with the Fillies, rolling to a 44-28 victory.
The win improves Nativity’s record to 8-3 overall and 3-1 in the league, keeping the Golden Girls right on the heels of front-running division favorite Mahanoy Area, the only undefeated team in this race. The loss was the first for the Fillies (4-6, 2-1) in league play.
“It’s Marian,” said Nativity coach Scott Forney when asked about the importance of the victory. “They’re always hard-nosed, and they’re very well coached — Paul (Brutto) has been at this for over 40 years.”
Nativity had a big size advantage inside, but Brutto said that wasn’t his team’s only problem.
“First off, we have to shoot better,” said Brutto. “And when you turn the ball over like we did, that makes things even more difficult. It’s bad enough that we’re in a hole size-wise, but those other areas added to it.”
There was a flutter late in the first half that might have been a ray of light for the Fillies. Trailing 23-12, Marian used a Lindsey Reinoehl foul shot, and back-to-back treys from Emily Shaud went in — the last one just before the halftime buzzer from just a few feet over the halfcourt mark — to pull to within 23-19.
“It was a good way to end the half,” said Brutto.
But the Fillies momentum never carried over to the third quarter as Nativity made 5-of-8 shots from the floor, and Marian managed a total of just four points in the period.
By quarter’s end, Nativity had regained control at 35-23.
“You are never totally comfortable, even with a lead like we had because this is such a (rivalry)” said Forney. “Their kids are tough, and anything can happen… so no, you never take anything for granted.”
As it turned out, Nativity’s stellar defensive play and huge edge in the paint never allowed Marian to make a run, as the Fillies were held to just nine second-half points.
TOP GUNS ... Nativity got big games from Samantha Heenan (17 points), Kaitlyn Zemantauski (11) and Kami Abdo (eight). The Fillies’ top scorer was Shaud with 13 points.
BOARD EDGE ... The Golden Girls had a commanding 39-23 edge on the boards.
ICE COLD ... Marian struggled in the shooting department, going 8-for-44 (18%). Nativity went 15-for-37 (41%).
CLOSE CALL… Marian fans held their collective breath when Shaud was run over trying to take a charge. She came up gimpy on her surgically repaired knee, and didn’t re-enter the game after the play. Brutto said she might have hyperextended it.
Kreisl 2-1-2-5, Shaud 2-6-6-12, Alansky 2-1-2-5, A. Digris 2-0-0-5, Reinoehl 0-1-2-1, Pleban 0-0-0-0, Nemeth 0-0-0-0, Possessky 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 8-9-12-28.
Heenan 6-5-6-17, Zemantauski 3-3-9-11, Abdo 3-1-2-8, Quick 2-1-2-6, Hunyara 1-0-2-2, Clarke 0-0-0-0, Rugh 0-0-0-0, Radcliff 0-0-0-0, Rymarkiewiz 0-0-0-0, Kramer 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 15-10-22-44.
Marian 8 11 4 5 – 28
Nativity 11 12 12 9 – 44
Three-pointers: M - Shaud 2, Digris 1. N - Zemantauski 2, Abdo 1, Quick 1.