Despite a slow start the basketball team pulled out a lopsided 52-32 victory over the Barat Academy Lady Eagles last night in first round of the Little Caesars' Girls Varsity Basketball Tournament at Lutheran High School of St. Charles County.
The Eagles had no trouble scoring in the early minutes. Dana DiPasquale’s 3-pointer at the 4:28 mark in the first quarter gave Barat a 6-2 lead. The Eagles controlled the lead for the rest of the first quarter, as Barat led 11-7 at the end of the quarter.
Barat's lead continued throughout most of the second quarter. Sarah Lammers basket at the 5:55 mark made the score 15-9 Barat. But Lutheran continued to stay in the game and Jamie Skerston’s field goal with seven ticks left on the clock gave Lutheran its first lead of the game. Thanks to the near-buzzer beater, the Lady Cougars held a 20-19 advantage at the half.
A pesky Lady Cougar defense made the difference in the second half, as Barat committed 19 turnovers in the second half.
“The first half was great,” Barat coach Roger Luna said. “I haven’t coached these girls before (this year). This is my first time with them. We’re a very young team with a lot to learn. In the second half our youth really showed. I don’t know that they did anything special on defense but there was enough pressure on our kids that we couldn’t make the plays.”
Lutheran coach Erin Pauk felt her team’s defense was effective.
“In the second half I thought we did a much better job of getting out and pressuring the ball,” she said. “A lot of our offense is going to feed on the energy we receive on the defensive end. We were able to get out on the passing lanes get on the floor and get some hustle plays and that gives us a lot of energy. In the first half, it might have been nerves, I don’t know, but we couldn’t put the ball in the basket. In the second half we really let our defense create some things for us. With that came some easy shots.”
Angie Steinbacher’s basket at the 6:55 mark in the third quarter ignited an 8-2 run which gave Lutheran a 28-23 lead. The Cougars led 34-25 at the end of the third quarter and went on to outscore the Eagles 18-7 in the fourth quarter. Hannah Leppien, not a starter, led Cougars’ offense with 13 points.
“It was my first varsity game so I was excited and a little nervous,” Leppien said. “But I was glad that I could do my part.”
Skerston threw in 11 points and Carley VonDeyten and Lauren Orr each had eight for Lutheran. Lammers led Barat’s offense with 15 points.
The Cougars are scheduled to will play St. Charles West on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the second round of the Little Cesar’s Girls Basketball Tournament.