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Strong first half lifts St. Paul past St. Mary CC

Flyers improve to 8-6 on the season.
Don Hohler
Jan 22, 2014

It was a tale of two halves Tuesday night at the convocation center.

St. Paul built a halftime lead, then was outscored in the second half.

The Lady Flyers, though, still secured a 57-48 basketball victory.

The victory was the eighth in 14 games for Vicky Mahl’s team, while the Lady Panthers dropped their 14th straight.

St. Paul led 39-18 at halftime.

The Lady Flyers, though, struggled from the free-throw line, missing eight free throws while making four. It rained action shots in that first half, putting up 37 while defensing St. Mary CC to 20.

St. Paul shot out to an early 8-0 lead as four different Flyers scored.

Brooke Durnwald’s free throw got the Lady Panthers on the board with 5:15 left in the first. She then scored her team’s only field goal of the quarter two minutes later.

The Lady Flyers led 15-7 at the break and then got big efforts from seniors Elise Nickoli, Bella Stoll and Emily Chandler, who lobbed in back-to-back three-point shots that would help extend their lead to 39-18 at halftime.

But, when Mahl went to her bench already in the third quarter, St. Mary was quick to cut into that lead.

Sensing the fact that they could win on the defensive end, Jim Colwell’s team kept their opponents out of the scoring column until Ott hit a free throw with 3:48 left.

Meanwhile, Colwell, in addition to getting that solid defensive effort, got scoring from five different players including five points from Dani Parish to reduce the margin to 50-30 at the end of three.

St. Mary CC stayed with its pressure game and kept reducing what was 20 points at the end of three to 53-46 with 1:05 left.

Converting 7-of-11 foul shots in that final quarter was huge in cutting the difference to single digits.

Kaylee Bastien hit four in a row and Tre McCarty two.

Dunwald scrapped for two more goals and Parish, Halley Christian and Maggie Murphy one each as the Lady Panthers put up 21 shots in the final period. This was compared to 30 over the first three quarters.

St. Paul got all of its final quarter points (seven of them) from the free-throw line in being outscored 18-7.

“My goal was to get as many players as possible involved,” Mahl said. “I saw some good things from some girls, efforts that will help us in the future. I didn’t like our foul shooting numbers, however.”

And St. Paul received points from jayvee players as Lauren Lukasko, Abby Fitzgerald, Emily Baker, Ashley Painley and Caitlin Good all scored in both games.

St. Paul was 12-of-27 from the stripe, compared to 23-of-34 for St. Mary CC.

“We’ll get back in the gym tomorrow and get ready for two more games this week, one at Plymouth on Thursday night and then Monroeville back in here on Saturday afternoon,” Mahl said. “At this point, it is trying to get better every game and in doing so be playing your best basketball at tournament time.”

Stoll and Ott had 13 points apiece for the winners, while Nickoli had 11 and Chandler eight.

The team was 21-of-67 from the field with 15 turnovers and 29 rebounds. Chandler had seven boards.

St. Mary CC got 13 points from Parish and 10 from Durnwald.

It was 12-of-50 from the floor with 44 boards (seven each by Christian and Durnwald) and 22 turnovers, including 14 in the first half.

Colwell remains optimistic despite the fact that his club has yet to win.

“We have had our chances to break through on a number of occasions,” he said. “Tonight was no different. One certainly can’t fault our effort.”

The Lady Flyer reserve team had no trouble with their St. Mary counterparts, winning for the eighth time in 14 games, 45-14.

Emily Baker and Maddie Carabin had 10 points each for the winners while Rachel Windau had eight and Olivia Bias six for the Lady Panthers (2-12).