After winning five games in a row, Holy Child lost to Hackley 51-40 at home on February 1. The key to the Gryphon’s recent success has been a terrific pressure defense matched by a versatile offense.
By Melanie Cane
After winning five games in a row, Holy Child lost to Hackley 51-40 at home on February 1. The key to the Gryphon’s recent success has been a terrific pressure defense matched by a versatile offense. In the game against the Hornets, the Gryphon did many things well offensively, but their defense struggled, allowing too many easy baskets and, especially towards the end of the game, causing them to get into foul trouble.
In the first half, the teams played neck and neck. Holy Child gained two small leads, which Hackley quickly won back with two successful possessions. Senior co-captain Maddie Fitzwilliam had an excellent half, driving to the basket, shooting and drawing fouls in the process. The half ended with the Gryphons down 27-21.
The Hornets made some offensive tweaks during halftime and came out in the second half with guns blazing. Their ball handler, Samantha Mueller, who dribbles like a Harlem Globetrotter, sped up the pace of the game, creating transition opportunities. The Gryphons’ defense fell half a step behind and in an effort to steal the ball from Mueller, they often fouled her by reaching in. Under the Hornets’ basket, Fitzwilliam got into foul trouble standing her ground on Hornet drives.
The Gryphons struggles defensively affected their offense, which had been effectively led by Victoria Hanley, Fitzwilliam, and Dulci DelPriore. All three created scoring opportunities by driving to the basket, getting free in the key, setting screens, and grabbing offensive rebounds. Upon Fitzwilliam’s exit from the game, the offense started rushing shots from the outside and was less able to grab offensive rebounds. Fitzwilliam has been the leading rebounder all season. She ended the game with 18 points and 9 rebounds. Hanley, who has averaged more than 20 points per game, had 15, and DelPriore chipped in 10.