The McAuley Catholic girls basketball team turned a 32-12 advantage in the first and third quarters into a 57-39 win on Monday night against the visiting Wheaton Bulldogs in Ozark 7 Conference play.
Half of McAuley’s six varsity players reached double figures and five of the six netted at least seven points Monday.
Wheaton led 3-1 early on, before McAuley Catholic went on a 9-0 run and never looked back, leading 19-9 after one quarter, 36-22 at halftime, and 49-25 after three.
“Our gameplan tonight was to jump on them early,” McAuley Catholic coach Mike Howard said. “The last two games, we didn’t play up to our level, so we put an emphasis on starting fast and getting the crowd in it and then coming out at halftime trying to make adjustments from how they scored in the second quarter.
“We wanted to keep the gas pedal down and putting all the pressure on them. We had several girls step up tonight scoring wise. Some of them usually don’t score that much, but I’ll take that any time I can get it.”
The Warriors benefited from it being Youth Basketball Night with all the fourth grade and fifth grade boys and girls, as well as their various parents and coaches, in attendance for being recognized at halftime of the girls contest.
Junior guard Kloee Williamson led McAuley Catholic with 16 points, 10 of which she produced in the second quarter and highlighted by a three late in the half that put the Warriors up 36-22.
Fellow juniors Kendall Ramsey and Avery Gardner added 14 and 11 points, respectively, while senior Lily Black and freshman Vanessa Diaz finished with nine and seven points.
Wheaton senior Allison Whitman scored a game-high 21 points and freshman Raelyn Buckhannan added 11, meaning Whitman and Buckhannan produced 32 of Wheaton’s 39 total points.
McAuley Catholic improved to 7-11 overall and 3-0 Ozark 7 with six consecutive wins headed into Thursday’s road contest against New Covenant Academy.
The 57 points are the new season high for the Warriors, besting their 55 points scored Dec. 13 in their first win of the season against Exeter.
“Six in a row right now and I think we are getting a little better each game,” Howard said. “The last two games previous to this one, I think we didn’t get much better. Tonight, though, we definitely improved. We shared the ball. We communicated on defense. We found their shooters when we had to … and more people took on scoring roles tonight. We did a good job of executing our offense and executing our gameplan.”
WHEATON BOYS 43, MCAULEY CATHOLIC 30
The Warriors started out strong in the first couple minutes of their game Monday, jumping out to a 6-2 early lead behind a pair of baskets from 6-foot-4 freshman Alex Bohachick and two free throws from sophomore point guard Michael Parrigon.
The visiting Bulldogs put the bite on McAuley Catholic, though, the rest of the game, outscoring the Warriors 8-4 the rest of the first quarter, 20-8 the rest of the first half, and 41-24 the last 30 minutes of the game.
“Hats off to Wheaton,” McAuley coach Tony Witt said. ” They outplayed us on every level. They earned the win.”
Wheaton juniors Zander Dutra and Michael Hang shared game-high scoring honors with 12 points each and sophomore Houston Roller added 10 points for the Bulldogs.
Bohachick led McAuley Catholic with nine points, all scored in the first and third quarters, while senior Noah Black had six, Parrigon and senior Jack Jones four each, senior Trey Martinez closed out the scoring with a three in the final seconds and juniors Bradley Wagner and Rocco Bazzano-Joseph each scored two points for the Warriors.
After scoring 10 points in the first quarter, matching Wheaton’s total after one, McAuley Catholic scored 20 points the final 24 minutes with four in the second, nine in the third, and seven in the fourth.
McAuley Catholic dropped to 5-13 overall and 0-2 Ozark 7, and the Warriors seek their first conference win Friday when they travel to Exeter.