By: Luke Drase
What a difference a week can make.
After playing their worst game of the season in a loss to Geneva last Saturday, No. 2 Maine West dialed up their most complete performance thus far to roll through No. 3 Benet 55-37 while earning their 20th win in the process.
Just like last week’s game, Maine West sent the opening tip the way of Catherine Johnson who was breaking towards Benet’s basket, but this time, Johnson’s layup went in.
“It helps when you shoot better than 28% from the floor,” said Maine West head coach Kim deMarigny. “I was actually kind of holding my breath because Cat’s layup didn’t look like it wanted to go down but it did and that’s the way we like to start. I was very thankful for that one after last week.”
The layup set the tone for the rest of the game as everything seemed to go the Warriors way, which was highlighted by a Angela Dugalic first quarter field goal from sitting on the floor.
After a high scoring first quarter from both teams, Maine West really started to turn the screws defensively as they were able to slow down a diverse, and very potent Benet offense.
Rachel Kent not only led Maine West in scoring with 15 points, but she also had the unenviable task of trying to stay in front of Benet’s Tsimba Malonga, who she managed to hold to just six points and one field goal in the game.
Kent said: “She’s a great guard, really quick and all I was trying to do was contain her. I knew she would get by me a couple of times but as long as I stayed in front of her as much as I could we would be fine, and it helps to have Angela as backup just incase.”
Maine West continued to gradually increase their lead, bringing it all the way up to 13 points before halftime.
Even with a comfortable advantage, Maine West continued to force the issue. Their determination to get the ball inside to start the game opened up clean looks from the outside which helped pad their lead.
In addition to Kent’s scoring output, the Warriors got significant contributions from all five of their starters, 14 points and 4 steals from Alisa Fallon, 13 points for Dugalic, eight points and 11 rebounds from Johnson and five points and five assists from Allison Pearson, an impressive feat taking into considering how few minutes each of them can play on a given night.
“It’s very difficult to keep preparing and keep the intensity when our starters don’t play a lot, I mean Allison played seven minutes the other night, it’s hard to get in a rhythm” said deMarigny. “But we look at it as a chance to work on different aspects of our game and it’s good for the rest of the team.”
Benet (17-4) were unable to overcome the early deficit and were held to six points in each of the final three quarters, with their 37 points being their lowest scoring output of the entire season.
The Redwings were led in scoring by Malonga and Lauren Stack with six points a piece, with Stack pulling down six rebounds.
Maine West will put their 20 game CSL North winning streak on the line at Highland Park on Friday, while Benet will host Hinsdale Central for their senior night on Thursday.