Saturdays contest between the #12 ranked Simeon Lady Wolverines and the #6 Nazareth Roadrunners proved to be the matchup that everyone had hoped for. Despite trailing for three quarters Simeon used a dominating fourth quarter to defeat Nazareth 57-48 on Saturday afternoon.
The first quarter was a good indicator of what the entirety of the game was to look like as Nazareth jumped out to a 7-2 lead with Nazareth’s Annie Stritzel scoring all of her team’s points.
Simeon came right back, dominating the glass and scoring time and time again on offensive putbacks, but Nazareth would hold a 15-9 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Nazareth continue to hold onto their advantage for the rest of the half, but were unable to take advantage of Simeon’s poor shooting performance and stagnated towards the end of the half.
Coming out of the break Simeon shook off their subpar start and started to feed the ball inside to Aneesah Morrow and the 6’2” Khaniah Gardner, taking the lead for the first time at 26-25. The two teams would exchange baskets through the close of the quarter with Nazareth holding onto a slim 33-32 lead.
The start of fourth quarter was a mirror image of the third as Morrow got rolling again. With the score knotted at 39 with five minutes left, the Wolverines pressure finally started getting to Nazareth.
Simeon continued to push the pace, and 8-0 personal run by Morrow extended the Lady Wolverines lead to 48-39 with two minutes to go.
Simeon coach Johnny Davenport said: “She very aggressive around the basket, I just need to her to stay under control at times, sometimes she goes wild after the rebounds, she needs to take her time to finish.”
With Nazareth forced to foul, Simeon was able to correct some of their earlier free throw woes and went 6 of 10 down the stretch to eventually win 57-48.
Nazareth coach Eddie Stritzel could not ignore the size of the Simeon team. “Physically they are just a massive team, I can’t remember a bigger team, they have 3 or 4 six foot kids.”
Stritzel also took many positives out of the loss. “If we want to get where we think we want to go we have to play these types of teams, this was a good test. I told the kids we don’t want to peak in December, we want to peak in March, with that being said we have to correct some things.”
Simeon’s Morrow had an absolutely monster game with 21 points, 17 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks. Nazareth’s Annie Stritzel once again led her team in scoring with 30 points.
Simeon will travel to Bloomington to compete in the State Farm Holiday Classic beginning on December 27th and Nazareth will open with Lyons Township on December 26th at the very tough Montini Catholic Christmas tournament as six of the top ten ranked teams compete.