By Melanie Cane
In their 72-58 home victory over Columbia Prep on January 24, the Gryphons put on a show of talent and intensity, and a wide range of play execution. Coach Mike Clancy called it their best effort of the year.
Holy Child hit the court running and quickly jumped out to a 17-7 lead, getting most of their points close to the basket. A go-to play that worked consistently was having the ball handler pass to Madi Warne under the basket, who scored. Victoria Hanley also drove to the basket, scoring with her signature hook shot and drawing fouls. Julia Valentino hit a three-pointer from the post.
At the start of the second quarter, Holy Child put on a press, but committed fouls on the throw in and gave up two three-pointers. After quickly regrouping, Kayla Hanley hit a layup and Warne scored on a fast break. Once they were back in control, the Gryphons showed off their passing skills, both short and long. Hanley hit a three-pointer from the post and Isabella Alaimo received a perfect pass from Kayla Henry all the way down court, sinking a layup. They repeated this play a few more times in the quarter and took a 37-25 lead into the half.
The Gryphons got more aggressive on their defense in the third quarter, stealing the ball for fast breaks, forcing walks, and drawing fouls off the Lions. The last quarter was a continuation of the third with Holy Child applying a lot of defensive pressure.
The unselfish sharing of the ball between these girls is evidenced in the scoring breakdown. Victoria Hanley had 19, Warne had 17, Valentino 12, and Kayla Hanley and Alaimo each scored nine.
Coach Clancy said this was the first game where his team put together a complete game, playing well in both halves. “We have been emphasizing running the ball since day one in practice, but this is the first time we did it consistently. We are at our best when we run.” He added, “This is one of the best passing teams I’ve ever coached. They are incredibly unselfish, and today I was thrilled that they saw their teammates so well and hit them for wide-open shots.”
Two days after beating Columbia Prep, Holy Child hosted and beat Hackley 58-49 in a thriller. The Gryphons beat Hackley again the following day at Fieldston 54-32. They are now 11-5 on the season.
Isabella Alaimo on her way to the basket
Julia Valentino going for the steal
Victoria Hanley avoiding a Columbia Prep defender
Isabella Alaimo and Madi Warne set up for offensive rebound