Girls Basketball: St. Ignatius bests Sacred Heart for season sweep

St. Ignatius forward Kaitlyn Crawley is swarmed by Sacred Heart defenders T.J. Miller (left) and Brianna Friedrich (right) on Tuesday at Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep. (Photo by Devin Chen)

By Josh Levine

St. Ignatius continued its impressive West Catholic Athletic League run with a 60-50 victory on the road at rival Sacred Heart Cathedral on Tuesday night.

The Wildcats (17-4, 7-2) had four players in double figures, led by Alex Legarza, who had 14 points, nine of which were in the first quarter.

St. Ignatius' Maria Kemiji-McDonald dodges Sacred Heart defender Ciara Silvestri on Tuesday at Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep. (Photo by Devin Chen)

“[Legarza] had some great senior leadership out there,” said St. Ignatius head coach Mike Mulkerrins. “She had a great game and led us on that 7-0 run to start the game.”

The Fightin’ Irish (10-9, 3-5) were led by T.J. Miller, who had 17 points, while Ann Marie Sequeira and Ciara Silvestri added 14 and 11 points, respectively.

Miller led all scorers, but was also playing at a considerable disadvantage.

“[T.J.] was fighting some kind of flu,” said Sacred Heart head coach Michael Carey. “She threw up at halftime and was playing out of position. She’s used to being a point guard but we had her as an off-guard today.”

According to Carey, the biggest difference in the game was the third quarter. Both teams scored ten points in the frame, but Carey felt like the Irish dominated and just missed some easy shots.

“We would go down, get the stops, and then shoot too fast on the offensive end,” said Carey. “That kept us from capitalizing. We dominated that quarter but you couldn’t tell.”

With the win, Mulkerrins and the Wildcats are guaranteed a tie of first place, with the winner of the Presentation-Archbishop Mitty game on Tuesday night.

“Our schedule this week is on the road against Mitty on Thursday and St. Francis at home Saturday,” Mulkerrins said. “Mitty beat us by five and we lost a close one to St. Francis, [so] both of these games [will] determine where we are. The girls know that they are in control of their own fate.”

The Irish now drop to 3-5 in league with only two four league games remaining.

“I told the girls after the game that we have a lack of senior leadership out there,” said Carey. “We can run with the best teams, but we can’t seem to put four good quarters together.”

Scoring Leaders

St. Ignatius
Alex Legarza – 14
Raquel Avila – 12
Maria Kemiji-McDonald – 12
Kaitlyn Crawley – 10
Courtney Gong – 7

Sacred Heart Cathedral
T.J. Miller – 17
Ann Marie Sequeira – 14
Ciara Silvestri – 11
Jerrieza Enriquez – 3
Gabriella Navales-Lugtu – 3

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10 Comments

  1. HOPELESS says:

    More like “lack of COACH leadership out there”

  2. IC Stars says:

    No, it’s not “lack of COACH leadership out there”, it’s a lack of tall, talented athletes out there. You can’t expect the 2007-2008 national championship team out there every single season. At least this game was much closer than that 30-point debacle at USF.

  3. HOPELESS says:

    Call it what you want. The proof is in the season stats. SH has NEVER had height and managed. Folks keep throwing the talent/skill factor and the great team of back in the days. Who cares of what used to be. Nothing is ever the same. It would be too boring. I just want to see this team play freely and organized. This team is capable of playing well and winning gamesl. It would be nice to see everyone get it together.

  4. Ari Gold says:

    SH girls are going through rough times. The crossover from Harrigan to Carey is evident. Girls want to play for Harrigan, not Carey. Im not sure whats it going to take but Carey is more suited for JVs. Maybe give Toni Russell a shot as head coach. SI is just benefiting from a lack of talent from SH. A normal SH girls team will still beat this year’s SI team by 20 points easily. Enjoy the success now SI, SH will be back.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Lack of talent in SH? That’s new! A future div 1
    In Geanna, TJ a natural. PG and a bunch of talented players from MRC. If Harrigan was coaching he would know how to bring out the best in this girls.

  6. SHCPFAN says:

    The problem is a cross between the coaching and the players. I have been watchiing SHCP womens basketball since the early 90s. Brian Harrigan won but they way he treated the atheletes was horrendous cursing, and verbally abusing players in 30 point wins (dont forget he was suspended at one point for his actions against a player). The players, however, found a way to get through.it. Granted the talent level was higher but the girls played together.

    This years team plays hard at times but the offense is extremly limited. Most of the time 2 or 3 of the players are just standing around. The girls don’t seemed to adjust to changes on the court. S.I switched in and out of zones and SHCP did not know what to do. Coach had to call a time out to draw up what to do against the zone and guess what S.I comes out of the time out back in man to man – result turnover..

    This team is better than the way they are playing. This team person for person has as much talent as S.I. When the team does not reach its potential it is the responsiblity of both the coach and the players.

    Coach has to be more imaginative and use the talent he has. The limited weave is just too easy to defend because the spacing is terrible. The defensive matchups are strange at times matching up fives on shooters. would like to see motion invovling all the players, more off ball screens, and especially more pressure on defense.

    As for the girls, they have to get over their issues with him and just play hard all the time.
    If this stays the same then someone has to go and it is easier to replace a coach then all the players.

    One note about the article – T.J. has not played the point all year in fact until recently she has hardly started due to what I can only guess is a player coach issue.

    One final plea – coach needs to keep comments like no leadership to himself. This needs to be handled with the girls not in the press.

  7. LifetimeIrishFan says:

    As an avid, lifelong SHCP basketball fan and spectator, I have finally found it time to speak out on the criticisms I have found rampant on this board anytime I want to check up on this program.

    The problem with the immediate SHCP team is evident in the players and the frequent comments on this board: A sustained hope for a return to the glory of the past decade. What that program did from 1997-2009 was an unbelievable run of success that we will probably never see again, attributed to an incredible influx of talent. The current players grew up in the shadow of the numerous banners that adourn the gymnasium, brought up through the Mission Rec program (for the most part) with visions of success and to continue the legacy that was laid before them.

    But please do not ignore that that decade of incredible talent was truly unique. Sure SHCP has never had the most height, but they had longer athletes. Also, a few of the teams during this decade had a few D-1 players on the SAME TEAM. This year does not have a single surefire D-1 prospect (the freshmen Summers has great potential), at least among the upperclassmen. I think that National Championship had 8 players move on to play in college, including 6 D-1 players. You cannot come into a program expecting success and glory based on those before you. Hard work and an urge and desire to succeed are keys!

    What this program needs to do and trust in is something that their coach is already doing: LOOKING TO THE FUTURE..Instead of trying to REPLICATE the success of the past decade, they should be working their butts off to SURPASS and BUILD THEIR OWN FOUNDATION OF SUCCESS. Coach Carey is trying to reload with new blood, and with the amount of talented freshmen and sophomores in the program and the many years of watching this program, I can see that coming soon. It took Harrigan multiple years before he was able to make noise with his teams. Carey coached under Harrigan throughout the dynasty for 12 years!!! Coaching his players the same type of gameplans and structure that Harrigan’s teams executed. The structure of play is very much the same, the players just do not execute it nearly as well.

    I read somebody wants the team to “play freely and organized”…I am pretty sure that a full court press and a 5 out motion offense are as free and organized as you can get. The perfect ways to get out and run and be very offensive minded. I am sure many past basketball players would love o play in a system such as this, as opposed to the struvctured, flex offenses that used to be commonplace

    Finally, let me tell you how truly critical senior leadership is. I don’t think that Coach Carey was looking to disrespect with that comment, I think that he was merely looking to LIGHT A FIRE UNDER HIS SENIORS. This is playoff time, where senior leadership is what pushes teams over the top. I think he has been waiting for his seniors to step up for over a year and time is running out on their high school careers. This team is very young, making this leadership even more crucial to keeping the team cohesively together and confident on the court. I am pretty sure this senior class was the last class to be a part of the Harrigan dynasty, with a few holdovers? Looks like TJ Miller left it all on the floor and had a great game. With her ability to score and desire to score I think she is better suited at off guard.

    Change is needed, but in the overall attitude of the program, not the coaching. Girls want to play for Harrigan not Carey? Well I’m pretty sure Toni Russell isn’t Harrigan either. And I know for a fact that Harrigan isn’t walking through the doors of 1055 Ellis St. looking for a coaching job anytime soon…

    This program needs to find faith in its parts and the vision of his coach. I believe the success will come once Coach Carey finds the pieces that are willing to build for the future and work for a new foundation of success for SHCP women’s basketball.

  8. Christopher Carey says:

    LifetimeIrishFan,
    I thank you.
    As you can tell by my name, I am Coach Carey’s son. I appreciate someone with some logic.
    People when it comes down to it, the coaches can’t go out on the floor and play/execute for the team. Especially with a lot of young talent playing at a VARSITY level in a competitive league,unlike some of the flimsier leagues on the peninsula. Time and patience is needed, but overall the team has to do the work…missed free throws, layups, and general sleepiness on defense plagued the team earlier in season, but as someone who keeps in touch with the team, I notice the change is happening. Look out for this team come playoff time….sidenote, these girls aren’t professional athletes, and half of them were playing sick/injured.think about it….thank you and go Irish!

  9. Shadows says:

    With all due respect to previous posters, I’m dead beat tired of reading what is being said of the SH program.

    Fact #1: Carey is not Harrigan.
    Fact #2: Current SH players are not D1 material.
    Fact #3: Work with you’ve got.

    Let’s move forward with what we have. We don’t have tall girls, but we have strong girls, fast girls, girls that can shoot, girls that play good defense, girls that can jump and girls that can throw. Sounds like a team to me. Perhaps not the team we would like it to be, but the last time I looked, it was a good team.

    Each girl on the SH team can bring something to the court, otherwise they wouldn’t be on the team. However, what we lack is FAITH. Faith in our team and faith in our coach. And until these two entities come as one, we will continue to lose.

    Carey – Play with what you’ve got. Spice up the team a little. Look for the right fit of girls to bring a win. Don’t expect the same girls to pull it through each night. You got a deep bench — use it. Perhaps not D1, put you put these girls on the team for a reason so use them. Stop putting in players with 56 seconds to go. Perhaps you would be suprised with what has been sitting on your bench. Have faith in them.

    Players – Stop playing for yourselves. Stop listening to folks that claim they have the best interest for you. No one on that team is a star player so stop acting like you are going to save the team from a loss. Perhaps the faith lies in your team mates. Carey may not have the right plays for you, but for goodness sake you all know how to play ball so act like it. Stop showing off, stop clapping your hands, stop the frowns on the court, who gives a hoot about stats and play for integrity. Stop being so darn proud. Show your team mates some love. Don’t mistaken lots of playing time as being a good athlete. A good athlete leasds. A good athlete works hard. A good athlete is there through the good and bad. A good athlete lets other shine when needed.

    Good luck to you all.

  10. Anonymous says:

    @shadows well said, especially for your comments regarding players. I have seen players from freshman to varsity who think they are the best in their team, lots of playing time, but no leadership not teamwork just playing to pad their stats. I’m not only talking about SH but other schools too particularly in the WCAL. A lot of players are selfish.

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