By Ernest Stone
Entering the second half down 22-16, it seemed that Sacred Heart Cathedral’s potential comeback would have to begin by shutting down Presentation freshman center Joesetta Fatuesi, who scored 11 of her team’s first-half points.
A quarter later, following a 6-of-7 shooting performance from Presentation, Sacred Heart’s once manageable deficit had swollen into a 15 point hole, one which would prove insurmountable as the Irish fell 52-36 in West Catholic Athletic League play at home on Saturday night.
“We just continued to do what we did in the first half,” said Presentation head coach Wade Nakamura. “We try to run an efficient offense, and when you score 50 points on 26 shots, that is extremely efficient.”
Coupled with Sacred Heart Cathedral’s (9-8, 2-4) inability to stop the Panthers (14-4, 5-1) on defense, the Irish offense played sporadically throughout the game, with short bursts often followed by long droughts.
“This game was about bad adjustments,” said Sacred Heart head coach Mike Carey. “Our shooters stopped taking shots once a few wouldn’t go down, and on defense we would have someone double team when they shouldn’t have and vice versa.”
Despite all its shortcomings, Carey’s squad entered the second half down just six points. Unfortunately for the Irish, that was when Presentation guard Nici Gilday established herself as another scoring option, scoring seven points in the third quarter.
Gilday along with Fatuesi, and senior Chelsea Punian were unstoppable on Saturday, with the trio outscoring the Irish with 42 points alone.
“On offense we have great communication,” said Fatuesi. “We still have to get better at the small things but we try to practice like we play and our patience on offense was great.”
Presentation’s impressive showing overshadowed Sacred Heart Cathedral’s bright spots, most notably the play of senior guard Tomisha Miller, who scored 12 points and fueled a late run that brought the deficit within ten points before the Panthers put the game away from the free throw line.
The Panthers’ performance on Saturday night was an accurate representation of how well the team has been playing this entire season, as they currently place first in the WCAL.
As for the Irish, the second half of the WCAL season will be a new beginning to a somewhat disappointing season.
“I’m sure most people would have picked them to beat us tonight,” said Carey. “But I believe that this team has shown, at times, that we are capable of playing with every team in our league, and the second half of the season we will get to try and prove it.”
Joesetta Fatuesi – 19
Chelsea Punian – 15
Nici Gilday – 9
Molly Pearson – 4
Courtney Danna – 2
Sacred Heart Cathedral
Tomisha Miller – 12
Ciari Silvestri – 8
Geena Giovannetti – 5
Briannah Smith – 4
Ashley Gainer – 2