By Jim Flick
After a hard-fought first quarter, the Girard High School girls basketball team increased its defensive pressure and defeated McDonald, 61-28, in Friday’s season opener.
“In the first quarter, we were a little sluggish,” Girard coach Andy Saxon said. “We didn’t really put lot of pressure on the ball.
“In the second quarter, and in the second half, we put on a lot more pressure defensively.”
Girard (1-0) led by only a point, 12-11 after one quarter. But the Indians held the Blue Devils to single-digit scoring in the remaining three quarters.
Girard outscored McDonald 15-4 in the second quarter and led 27-15 at halftime. In the second half, the scoring difference was 34-13 in the Indians’ favor.
Playing tougher defense, Girard scored the first 10 points of the second quarter.
The defensive pressure caused McDonald turnovers, Saxon said.
“We had a run there, we were able to get the ball out and go.
“We were able to keep up the intensity,” Saxon said. “We just told our players to get up in their faces, get up on the ball, put more pressure on the ball.”
Saxon said his team got off to a rather weak start.
“We were a little too far off the ball in the first quarter,” Saxon said. “First-game jitters and all that. But in the second quarter and after halftime, we stressed getting up in their face. That changed the tempo a bit.”
Senior Miranda Boyle, who scored 15 points to share the team lead, said, “This was a very good way to start the season.
“We work very well together,” Boyle said. “It’s easy to score that many points when you work together.”
The Indians wanted to open their season with a strong performance, said junior Bree Bishop, who also scored 15 points. “We wanted to start the season with a good game.”
The backyard rivalry with neighboring McDonald “just brought up the tension,” Bishop said.
Senior Hayley Spalla tallied eight points for Girard while Lindsay Durkin and sophomore Alasjia Dykes each scored seven points.
Michaella Angelo, a senior, scored five points, while freshmen Alexa Page-Boyd and Shymara Dykes each added two points.
McDonald was led by junior Tory Ross, who scored 12 points. Senior Alyssa Streb added nine points, while freshman Brenna Rupe scored seven points.
“We started the game well,” McDonald coach Amy Dolsak said. “We executed some plays right off the bat which got us going well.
“Then they started to press us, and we didn’t take care of the basketball. That’s something we’ve got to work on.”