Kyra Aloizos got a preview of the challenge that awaited her.
The 6-foot-1 Archbishop Molloy senior got to see Midwood’s Jewel Tunstull in action against North Babylon (L.I.) prior to the Stanners’ game at the Bergtraum Holiday Classic early last week. Tunstull, the 6-foot-2, Northeastern-bound center scored 19 points in a Hornets victory and had a visit scheduled to Briarwood after the New Year.
“She was eating everyone up inside, so I kind of took it upon myself that I was going to try to not let her score and be physical with her,” Aloizos said.
The Binghamton-bound senior did exactly what she set out to do. She was aggressive with Tunstull in the post, kept her off the boards and, along with a tight Stanners defense, held her to just three points, all from the free throw line. Tunstull’s frontcourt mate, Beranda Felder, also had just three points. Molloy, which was also not at its offensive best, stymied the visiting Hornets in a 50-27 non-league girls basketball win Saturday.
“I think I got into her head where she was just like, ‘I can’t do anything,’” said Aloizos, who scored 10 points.
The Stanners jumped ahead 10-2 after the first quarter, but Midwood got within 14-12 on Yashika Morales’ three-pointer with 2:15 left in the first half. Molloy, though, rallied when it needed to. Kelly Guerriero scored five of her nine points, including a three-pointer, to end the half and put her team up six at the break.
“It’s important that we actually keep that run going,” point guard Marielle Duryea said. “Other games we make a run and then we stop.”
This one continued into the second half. Duryea, who had nine points, stole a ball on the wing and went down the court for a layup. Aloizos scored in the post, got a rebound and fed Duryea for layup and then knocked down a jumper from the free throw line. It helped spark an 11-3 run that put Molloy up 31-17 with a minute left in the third quarter. Still, Coach Tom Catalanotto felt his team could have been sharper on offense with a number of layups left unmade.
“When you don’t play your best game and you win by 23, that’s pretty good,” he said.
The Molloy (4-4) defense was even better. It cut off the driving lanes for the Midwood guards, forcing long possessions and jump shots. The Hornets (5-6), who were led by Brittany McFadden’s six points, struggled to get Tunstull and Felder the ball in the paint early and when they did it was many times stripped away, not converted into a basket and then rebounded by Molloy.
The Stanners seem to have found a new defensive intensity and comfortably heading into league play since coming within three points of beating 11-time defending PSAL champion Murry Bergtraum Monday.
“It gave them a lot of confidence in man-to-man defense,” Catalanotto said. “They didn’t have the confidence to play, but when we played Bergtraum the whole game, I told them if you can play Bergtraum, you can play anyone.”
Reach Joseph Staszewski at jstaszewsk
©2010 Community News Group
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