by Tom Utescher
Early in the basketball season a pair of victories were followed by a pair of losses for the girls of Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, but the Blue Devils broke back into winning territory last Thursday afternoon.
Hosting Little Flower Catholic High School, SCH scored the first 13 points of the contest, then cruised to a 48-25 triumph and a 3-2 record.
The victors received balanced scoring from their starters, and also were able to give their reserves a fair amount of playing time. Nya Searight (eight rebounds) deposited a game-high 11 points and another senior forward, Destiny Rogers (six rebounds), scored 10. Junior Caroline Clark contributed nine points, and the starting guards, junior Mo’ne Davis (six assists) and senior Joelle Bridges, recorded seven and six points, respectively.
“We did a lot of good things today,” said first-year head coach Florence Hagains, an assistant with the team last season. “This wasn’t one of our toughest opponents, so we used this opportunity to put into play some things we needed to work on coming out of the last loss. The girls stepped up and we saw some things come to fruition. We also gave some time to players who have been working hard in practice but who haven’t gotten into games very much.”
Clark got SCH going on Thursday with a baseline jumper, and Bridges bagged a three-pointer from the right corner. Davis chimed in with a pair of free throws and a trey from the keytop, and Clark stuck a triple of her own to make it 13-0 before Natalie O’Neill’s lay-up got the visiting Sentinels on the scoreboard.
Clark and Bridges continued to score in the second quarter, and Rogers joined in with a lay-up off of a nice inside move. Five minutes into the second stanza the Blue Devils were up 30-3, then as players filtered in from the bench Little Flower hit three field goals to set the halftime tally at 30-9.
The Sentinels’ scoring continued in the third quarter, as the run that the visitors began in the second period grew to a 13-2 surge. SCH went for almost eight minutes of game time without a field goal, then Rogers scored from the paint with 3:12 left in the third round to revive the Blue Devils. By the end of the quarter, they had actually increased their lead to 26 points for a 43-17 advantage.
“We got out of our game a bit, became a little lax for a while,” Hagains commented. “We got too comfortable, and I have to teach them that “comfortable” is not a part of basketball. There’s always something to be working on and improving.”
It was point production on the inside from Searight and Rogers that got the SCH offense out of the doldrums late in the third round. In the fourth quarter, the Blue Devils used a lot of their reserves. Sophomore Katie Reagan, who had already appeared in the first half, netted a three-point bucket, and freshman Moira Mulligan hit a medium-range jumper from the left wing. Sophomore Becca Arnold and freshmen Destiny Fairfax, Kaitlyn Pearcy, and Reya Seifert also saw some minutes.
Little Flower was led by forward Carly Huggard with nine points, and Celeste O’Neill was next on the list, with five.
The Blue Devils knew that they’d be facing a stiffer challenge in a few days, when they opened their Inter-Ac League schedule at Penn Charter on December 19.
The main areas where the team is trying to improve, according to Hagains, are “boxing out and finishing around the basket. We know we’re not one of the taller teams in the league, so we need to position ourselves well in order to rebound effectively.”