Through three and a half quarters, Prospect seemed to have Loyola’s number.
Shot weren’t falling, every time Loyola would make a run, Prospect would come up with a big basket, and turnover issued plagued the Ramblers early.
But despite the struggles, Loyola came alive in the fourth quarter, turning a five point deficit into a 10 point victory over Prospect to remain undefeated on the young season.
Leading the charge for Loyola was junior, Summer Parker-Hall with 19 points, 14 rebounds, and five assists.
Parker-Hall showed flashes in more limited opportunities last season, but the junior has stepped up in a big way this year, taking charge of a young Loyola squad, all while showing extreme versatility on the floor.
“We really needed Summer wit Izzy [Ogilore] being out. We knew she was going to eat up a lot of minutes in the post and do a lot of things for us,” said Loyola head coach Jeremy Schoenecker. “It’s something she’s really taken ownership of and right now without her, I don’t think we would be 4-0.”
Before Parker-Hall asserted her dominance in the later stages of the game, Loyola got off to a rough start as they were severely affected by Prospect’s press.
The Ramblers struggled to get the ball across half court for much of the first quarter which led to a pedestrian offensive output early.
“We’re so young, when we had Julia last year it was Julia could go break the press by herself.” said Schoenecker. “This year it’s figuring out where we’re supposed to be and there are times when we have looked good at it, and we haven’t looked good at it and I think it’s just going to be the growing pains of this Junior class.”
Loyola slowly chipped away at the deficit, but it wasn’t until midway through the fourth quarter where they finally found their break through from an unlikely source.
Trailing by three points, point guard Silvana Scarsella drove to the basket for her first points of the game, and followed that up with a three from the corner to pull Loyola level with Prospect.
“She’s a bulldog, and I wish she had more confidence in herself at time,” said Schoenecker. “I think there are times where she passes up shots that she should be able to knock down. As I told her though, I have the upmost confidence in her so go out there and go make plays for her.”
That five point mini-run sparked spmething in the Ramblers, as they picked up their intensity on the defensive end and didn’t allow a field goal for the final three minutes of the contest.
Addison Ebeling (15 points) all but secured the game with a three as the Ramblers began to run out the clock, and Parker-Hall iced it the rest of the way from the free throw line.
It’s certainly a different Loyola team this season, but with the flashed shown in the fourth quarter and reinforcements on the way in the injured Isabella Ogilore and Alex Guzzardo, the Ramblers should be set up for another successful season.
“We’ve shown ourselves flashes, even against Phillips we went on a 13-2 run and looked the part,” concluded Schoenecker. “For us right now, we’ve had some kids injured and playing out of position, but we’re there. We’ve shown flashes of it but we have to do it for 32 minutes, instead of eight minutes.”