The Irish dealt Kennedy Catholic its fourth loss, 69-46.
By BRIAN RICHESSON
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
HERMITAGE, Pa. -- Sean Durkin had an answer and so did his Ursuline High girls basketball team.
In Pennsylvania, coaches are prohibited from standing during games, and Durkin put that rule to the test Saturday.
"I'm proud of myself. I didn't know if I could do it," Durkin laughed. "I put the two biggest coaches I had next to me, and I told them to grab my knees."
Durkin probably found his seat rather cozy, especially in the second half, as the Irish broke away from Kennedy Catholic for a 69-46 victory on the Golden Eagles' home floor.
"I think we wore them down and fatigue became an issue," Durkin said. "After a while, our pressure wears on you."
It was most evident near the end of the third quarter when Ursuline (17-1) outscored the Golden Eagles 14-2 in the final three minutes for a 55-38 lead.
"Coach told us to run up and down the floor," Ursuline senior Amber Miller said. "We should be in good shape, because we run all the time in practice."
Kennedy Catholic coach Pat Mastrian was impressed.
"This is about as good of pressure that we'll see all year," Mastrian said. "They send different people to guard the point guard. They're so flexible."
With guard Lauren Friedrich nursing an ankle injury and playing sparingly, Kennedy Catholic (17-4) wasn't at 100 percent, Mastrian noted, and it took its toll. The Golden Eagles suffered 23 turnovers.
"When [Ursuline] was hitting their shots in the third quarter, we weren't executing well," he said. "Their pressure got us out of what we wanted to do."
Davidson plugs 28
Ursuline junior guard Courtney Davidson compounded Kennedy Catholic's problems. Davidson made four 3-pointers and scored a game-high 28 points, including 13 in the decisive third quarter.
"We knew we had to stay on the Davidson girl and make her work," Mastrian said. "But we lost sight of her for four or five minutes, and that was the game."
Davidson got help from freshman Tyra Grant, who added 22 points, 11 rebounds and two blocked shots for the Irish.
"She was a little upset because she got into foul trouble in the first half," Durkin said. "She came out in the second half and tried to make up for it. It could have been the difference."
Mastrian, Gasiewicz star
Despite the lopsided score, Kennedy Catholic revealed its play-makers in Leah Mastrian, who had 21 points and 11 rebounds, and Becca Gasiewicz, who made four 3-pointers and scored 15 points.
"They have a lot of weapons," Durkin said, "but they didn't have the depth to stay with us for four quarters."
Vanessa Dickson, another of Ursuline's talented freshmen, added 10 points.
The Irish, ranked fifth in Division III, are preparing for a big week. They play host to Canfield on Wednesday before traveling to Boardman on Saturday to face the team responsible for their only loss.