Turn up the tempo: St. Louis pressure gets to Hicks
LONGVILLE — With defending Class C state champion Hicks threatening to take the lead in the second half, St. Louis Catholic upped the defensive pressure on the Pirates to take a 64-54 win Thursday at the South Beauregard Duel in the Dungeon.
“We feel like we are faster than almost anybody we play against,” St. Louis head coach Tony Johnson said. “We picked up the tempo a little bit in the fourth quarter and made them make some adjustments on the full-court press.
“We were able to capitalize on some of their turnovers and get easy shots.”
Hicks opened the second half with a 7-0 run cut St. Louis’ lead to 31-29, highlighted by a Chloe Wilbanks 3-pointer.
But the Saints (5-0) held the Pirates (7-2) to a single point over the next 5 minutes and pushed their lead to 37-30 after Paris Guillory got a steal and layup with 2:36 left in the third quarter.
St. Louis forced Hicks into 22 turnovers, netting 22 points. Paris Guillory and Raven Guillory combined for nine steals and 39 points.
Paris Guillory had 20 points and five steals, and Raven had 19 points, four steals and seven rebounds. Myca Trail added 14 points, six rebounds and six assists.
Wilbanks scored 13 of her game-high 32 points in the third quarter, but the Saints limited the damage to eight points in the fourth quarter as the Saints led by as many as 15 points. Lauren Quinn had a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Pirates.
“No. 10 (Wilbanks) is a very good player, and No. 5 (Quinn),” Johnson said. “We were able to contain those guys and we were able to finish at the end.”
St. Louis opened the game with a 6-0 lead, but the Pirates went on a run to take an 11-8 lead. Wilbanks hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to one and Quinn scored on an offensive rebound for a 9-8 lead with 3:45 left in the first quarter.
But the Saints adjusted to close out the first quarter on an 8-0 run with five points from Raven Guillory. The Saints never trailed again.
“(Hicks) switched defense real well and made us adjust on offense,” Johnson said. “But we made our adjustments and we were able to take them out of their game.
“I think our weakness right now is our half-court offense. We need to learn how to run it more efficient. We will get there.”
The Saints’ biggest struggles were at the free throw line (15-for-23) and on the boards where the Pirates owned a 25-19 advantage.
“It is kind of unusual, the free throws,” Johnson said. “We just have to get back in the gym and practice more.
“That is going to be a big part of our game. In order for us to be successful, we are going to have to hit those free throws because people are going to foul us because we have some athletes out there playing. As the year goes on, we are going to get better.”
Rodrick Anderson/American Press