Gallery by Tina Laney
New Richmond – Forced into adjustments midseason, Wyoming East faced its second critical task of the week when it hosted another ranked foe in No. 10 Charleston Catholic.
Though there were bumps, the Lady Warriors came out on top in a rematch of last year’s state quarterfinal, downing the visiting Irish 60-41 Saturday afternoon in New Richmond.
With starting guard Abby Russell out indefinitely with a knee injury, center Gabby Cameron again took her spot lineup and though there were warts early the Lady Warriors turned in a productive day on the offensive end, connecting on 58 percent of their field goal attempts, hitting at a 67 percent clip from inside the arc.
That was none more apparent than when the hosts used a 16-5 run at the end of the first quarter to break a rut and build a cushion they maintained throughout the game.
“I think we’re still getting adjusted and we’re moving things around,” East head coach Angie Boninsegna said. “We told the kids we don’t know what’s going to happen with Abby down the road. I think we moved the ball better today and we stopped trying to drive through three people, we got some kicks and we shot well today. That’s about difference. We’re taking good shots and we haven’t done that in the past. We’re building on some things and there are thing we need to work on.”
Much like Wednesday when the Lady Warriors hosted No. 3 Summers County, East was pushed early. After Cadee Blackburn notched the first 3 points for East with a 3 and a layup. Molly Messer put Catholic on the board with a 3 and Mary Rushworth split a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to one midway through the quarter.
But eventually the offense began to work for East.
Blackburn found Colleen Lookabill for a layup and Cameron grabbed an offensive rebound and scored to make it 9-4. Rushworth knocked down a pair of free throws to cut the deficit back to three with the teams trading buckets until it was a 13-9 game after a Claire Mullen 3 for Catholic.
Cameron answered with a 3-point play, Kayley Bane connected on layup and Blackburn beat the buzzer with a 3 for the final chunk of her 10 first-quarter points, closing the frame on an 8-0 run that gave East a 21-9 advantage.
East eventually pushed its advantage to 15 at 27-12 but Catholic initiated its last run, a 7-0 burst that cut the deficit to eight.
“It’s a really good basketball team that does a lot of things well,” Catholic head coach Wes Hevener said. “You can tell they play a lot of basketball together and they understand where everybody is going to be and they run great sets. I thought when we made that run there defensively we were more locked in. I thought we were in help, we talked and communicated a little but better and then we – whether we got tired or we just stopped talking, I felt like our communication broke down.
“We didn’t make the right rotations defensively and they attacked the basket really well. We weren’t getting there or sometimes we didn’t come. I think we got beat off the bounce a little too much on straight line drives.”
East restored order when Maddie Clark found Bane for two and then nailed her own corner 3 to make it a 13-point game at the intermission. The advantage never fell below double digits afterwards as East corrected the mistakes that led to 12 first-half turnovers, committing only four the rest of the way.
“We settled in a little bit,” Boninsegna said. “We knew they were athletic and we knew they could drive and that we had to stop transition because if we didn’t they’d get a lot of layups because they’re quick and go at it. I think it took us a little time to get settled in. We aren’t a fast-starting team at times and we’ve got to be more consistent coming out of the tip and go at people more but it’s a work in progress.”
Defensively the Lady Warriors shined, limiting Catholic to 30 percent shooting on 44 field goal attempts.
“I thought offensively we got a little stagnant and stood around a little too much,” Hevener said. “On the offensive side we’re better whenever we’re moving whethere it be pass and cut, not pass and stand and against a good defensive team like Wyoming East it’s not a good recipe for success. We kind of talked about it coming in, we haven’t seen a lot of team play us man-to-man, they mostly play us zone. It was a good test for us to see man-to-man and see where we need to improve.”
Clark led East with 15 points, dishing seven assists while Blackburn chipped in 14 points with six assists. Messer paced Catholic with 11 in the loss.
East (10-2) will travel to Class AAAA Princeton on Tuesday.
CC: 9 10 7 15 – 41
WE: 21 11 15 13 – 60
Mullen 10, Cimino 5, Wheeler 3, Rushworth 8, Raisin 4, Messer 11
Blackburn 14, Lookabill 6, Clark 15, Bane 10, Toler 6, Monroe 4, Cameron 5
3-point goals – CC: 5 (Mullen 2, Cimino 1, Messer 2); WE: 5 (Blackburn 2, Clark 1, Toler 2)