February 27th, 2012
Holy Cross Set For Clash With Mercy
Cougars advance to region semis with victory over Western
While not favorable, even leading scorers can have off-nights in the postseason.
A successful team, however, is defined by the sum of its parts, and it took a top-to-bottom effort as Holy Cross High School came together to defeat Western 74-48 in the Class Act girls' 6th Region Tournament quarterfinals on Monday evening at Atherton High School.
It was Holy Cross' 8th win in a row overall.
Lady Cougars senior guard Maya Hardin, who had been running roughshod over opponents and averaging 16 points per contest during a five-game span heading into Monday, was held to 8 points - all free throws - and a 0-for-6 shooting night from the field.
"She just had a bad game, but that happens," said Holy Cross head coach and girls' 6th Region Coach of the Year Fred Copass of Hardin. "We were able to go about 10 deep tonight (off the bench), and we don't lose too much. The ones we're putting in are not that bad."
Picking up the slack in a big way for Holy Cross was a trustworthy cast of characters who certainly made their presence known. Senior center Julie Skaggs had a 12-point, 11-rebound double double; sophomore Josie Hockman scored a game-high 15 points off the bench; and junior Sydney Morabito was an efficient 6-of-9 from the field, scored 14 points and pulled down a team-high 3 offensive rebounds.
Skaggs scored 8 of her 12 points in the first quarter and used a pair of old-fashioned three-point plays to spark a 10-2 Holy Cross run to end the opening period, allowing the Lady Cougars to stake a 22-11 lead.
Hardin left the game after picking up her third foul in the second quarter, but Hockman, Morabito and junior point guard Morgan Wimberg combined for 14 points during the course of the period and gave Holy Cross a 38-26 lead at halftime. The Lady Cougars continued to increase the game's tempo to begin the third quarter and forced the Lady Warriors to play a dictated style.
"We attacked the basket and got the fast break like we wanted to. We actually wanted to get them in a running game, and that's we did," said Copass. "We're better at running and our girls are finally starting to take the ball and attack the basket. But that they did exactly what we wanted them to do."
Morabito, Hardin and senior guard Kim Mingus all found foul trouble late in the third quarter, but Holy Cross held its ground behind the team's depth and pulled away late for the convincing regional tournament-opening win.
Western was led by 13 points and 6 rebounds from sophomore center Diynell Calvett, 11 points by senior Koyale Reliford and a game-high 14 rebounds from junior Lelanda Matthews. Calvett fouled out 5:23 remaining in the game and the Lady Warriors trailing 57-38.
Senior guard Carman Lowe, known for her outside shooting for Western, went 0-for-11 from beyond the arc during the game. She did finish with 10 points, but the void of her long range was also a factor in the outcome. Western did outrebound the Lady Cougars 45-39.
As a team, Holy Cross was 17-of-23 (74 percent) from the free throw line and scored 34 points of 26 Western turnovers.
With the win, Holy Cross (26-5) advances to the Class Act 6th Region Tournament semifinals on Wednesday against Mercy Academy (26-5). These two programs haven't met since Jan. 21, 2004. The Jags won that game 71-36.
"We've got to play them sooner or later, we might as well play them now and see what happens," said Copass. "(To beat them) you've got to play an exceptional game. And you've got to handle their pressure. If you can handle their pressure, we probaly stay with them. But if we don't, it can be a long night."
"But if we can do those things, who knows? It's tournament time."
Wednesday's game will tip off at 3:30pm and be played at Bellarmine University's Knights Hall.