Mary Louis can take a collective deep breath.
“It was just like a load off their shoulders,” TMLA Coach Joe Lewinger said. “When we went in [the locker room], it was almost like a unique situation.”
It had been a while since Mary Louis got to enjoy a good vibe after a game. The Hilltoppers’ lone win came in Georgia at the Big Apple vs. Big Peach Battle in late November and was followed by a four-game losing streak. They got a much-needed 50-41 win over PSAL power Murry Bergtraum in the Francis Lewis Winter Ball Dec. 11. Jasmine Nwajei scored a game-high 21 points, including nine in the third quarter.
“I feel like we got our groove back,” Nwajei said.
Lewinger said the game against the Lady Blazers (4-4) was similar in many ways to his team’s losses to athletic, pressing teams like Bishop Loughlin, Nazareth and Bishop Ford. He just felt they were more composed and just played better than on those days.
TMLA (2-4) shot a better percentage from the free throw line (9-of-14) and got contributions in the paint. Elisabeth Gully scored seven of her eight points in the first quarter, Kate Goldman chipped in six, including a big hoop early in the fourth and Reana Mohamed had seven.
“Losing all that was such a learning experience,” Gully said. “We were just finally like we don’t want to lose any more.”
Mary Louis opened up the game in the third quarter behind Nwajei. The star junior scored six points during an 8-0 run to start the frame to put TMLA up 31-19 with 5:00 left. Bergtraum’s Shequana Harris, who is headed to UNC Charlotte next season, did her best to pull her team back by scoring 11 of her 12 points in the third quarter. The Lady Blazers were within 33-28 late in the period, but Nwajei answered with a three-pointer. Ashanae McLaughlin added 12 points and Kimberly Viafara had seven for Bergtraum.
“We just have to find a rhythm,” Nwajei said.
Bergtraum was unable to disrupt the Hilltoppers’ flow for any extended period of time with its signature pressure, something Coach Ed Grezinsky credited to having steady ball handlers in Nwajei, Mohamed and Mei-Lyn Bautista. His team on the other hand, he believed, forced shots at times on offense.
“When you hold a team to 50 points, you are supposed to win the game,” he said. “We have to do better offensively than we did.”
The Mary Louis effort was certainly improved. Gully said the team has tried to stay upbeat the last few weeks and believes the efforts not to let it overwhelm them paid off against Bergtraum. Unlike against Bishop Loughlin, TMLA didn’t let a lead get away and they hope it’s the start of a new trend.
“I just think we didn’t let it happen this time,” Gully said. “It really got us to thinking if we can do it now we can keep doing it.”
©2011 Community News Group
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