HYDE — The St. Marys girls basketball team showed no signs of having a week layoff Wednesday night as the Lady Dutch used a strong effort on both ends of the court to come away with a 43-31 victory against host Clearfield.
St. Marys caught Clearfield fresh off a heartbreaking 54-52 loss to Huntingdon Tuesday night and used its pressure defense to force the Lady Bison into some early shooting woes they never recovered from. On the other end, the Lady Dutch drained eight 3-pointers as they built a 12-point lead at the half (32-20) and after three quarters (41-29).
That defensive effort allowed the Lady Dutch to hold Clearfield senior Alayna Ryan to just 14 points a night after she scored 28 while reaching the 1,000-point milestone against Huntingdon. On top of that, St. Marys scored some easy baskets off turnovers created by its full-court press.
St. Marys (10-3) also controlled the boards (39-28 advantage) in sending the Lady Bison (7-9) to their third loss in the last four games.
“The first three quarters we shot the ball well, and then our defense was really good,” said St. Marys coach Leona Hoohuli. “That’s been a big push for us, especially with the rebounding. We have to rebound because we are outsized. That was a big emphasis for us for today’s game, and we rebounded well.
“We also created some points off turnovers. And, I thought we did a good job containing Alayna (Ryan) even though she scored 14 because she can get hot real quick.
“Any win on the road is a good win, and I told the girls, ‘We’re on the road and nobody is going to give us anything. We have to go out and work and stick to our game plan.’
“So, I was very proud of the way they played and how they stayed focused on what what we were trying to do.”
St. Marys’ Kaylee Muccio opened the scoring with a 3-pointer just 35 seconds into the game before Clearfield’s Tesa Miller and St. Marys’ Megan Quesenberry traded baskets to give the Lady Dutch a 6-2 lead.
Six straight points by Ryan gave Clearfield its lone lead of the game at 8-6 with 2:42 left in the first quarter. However, St. Marys responded with 10-2 run to close the quarter to go up 16-10.
Johnson had five points in the spurt, including a trey. Lauren Eckert added a 3-pointer of her own, while Allison Schlimm scored with 21 seconds remaining to make it a six-point game.
Clearfield got as close as four points twice in the second quarter at 16-12 and 18-14 before a trey by Eckert and a layup by Samantha Hayes off a steal quickly put the Lady Dutch up nine at 23-14 with 3:50 left in the half. Eckert had six points, while Hayes scored four points and pulled down a team-high 11 rebounds.
Miller countered with a pair of free throws for Clearfield. Free throws helped keep the Lady Bison within striking distance, as they made as many foul shots (10 of 12) as they did field goals (10) on the night.
Clearfield could get no closer than seven points though as St. Marys ended the half on a 9-4 spurt to take a 12-point lead (32-20) into the half. Johnson had four points in that closing run, while Muccio drilled a 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer sounded.
Johnson led the Lady Dutch with 10 points, while Muccio had eight points to go along with seven rebounds.
Points came at a premium for both teams in the second half, with the squads playing to an 11-11 draw over the final two quarters.
Both teams scored nine points in the third quarter as St. Marys maintained its 12-point lead at 41-29.
Clearfield got four points from Ryan, while McLain Alt hit a 3-pointer. Miller also went 2 of 2 at the foul line. All nine St. Marys points came on 3-pointers — two by Britney Shaw and one by Schlimm. Miller had eight points for the Lady Bison.
Shaw added eight rebounds to go with her eight points.
The fourth quarter then turned into a real offensive struggle, with each team netting just two points.
Quesenberry scored at the 5:27 mark for St. Marys, while Alt hit a jumper in the lane for Clearfield with 2:26 to play to set the eventual final. Alt had five points off the bench.
St. Marys hosts Redbank Valley on Monday.