Girls Basketball: St. Ignatius’ defense holds down Pinewood in Sand Dune final

Pinewood senior guard Kelly Doran (left) tries to drive past St. Ignatius junior Crystal Sun on Thursday at St. Ignatius Prep. (Photo by Matt Zheng)

By Aidan Fitzsimon

The St. Ignatius girls basketball team had its worst offensive game of the season in the final of the Leo LaRocca Sand Dune Classic on Thursday, but found a way to make up for its flaws with a standout defensive effort to outlast visiting Pinewood of Los Altos Hills 47-29.

The Wildcats (9-1) trailed the Panthers (9-4) 8-4 after the first quarter, but St. Ignatius bounced back to take a 19-15 lead at the half and never looked back.

St. Ignatius senior Kailyn Crawley lines up a long-distance jump shot against Pinewood on Thursday at St. Ignatius Prep. (Photo by Matt Zheng)

“Pinewood did a really good job on us and got us out of sync offensively, especially in the first six minutes of the game, where we didn’t make very good decisions on offense,” said St. Ignatius head coach Mike Mulkerrins. “But as the game went on, we made much better decisions with the ball.”

The Wildcats shot just 37 percent from the field, but that hardly mattered with the defensive intensity they had. Pinewood, the defending Division V state champions, looked so lost at times, it hardly mattered whether the Wildcats dropped back into their zone or stuck to full-court pressure defense.

The Panthers were led by freshman point guard Marissa Hing, who tallied six points, but she was the only Pinewood player who could penetrate the SI defense. At 5 feet tall, she had to make tough shots all evening against the taller Wildcats.

“When you think about a 14-year-old girl playing in an environment like this, it’s tremendous,” said Pinewood coach Doc Schlepper.

In the third quarter, the Wildcats flexed their strength when they took advantage of the physically defeated Panthers.

St. Ignatius was led by seniors Kaitlyn Crawley and Maria Kemiji-McDonald, who had 13 and 9 points, respectively. Crawley was named to the All-Tournament team.

Kemiji-McDonald was also crucial on the boards for the Wildcats and was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament.

“After losing as a sophomore [in the tournament final], it was really great for all the seniors out here [to] finally win it,” Kemiji-McDonald said.

Scoring Leaders

St. Ignatius
Kailyn Crawley — 13
Maria Kemiji-McDonald — 9
Josie Little — 8
Three players tied with four points

Pinewood
Leanna Bade — 8
Jenny Hansen — 6
Marissa Hing — 6
Kelly Doran — 3
Danica Seto — 3

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27 Comments

  1. Spectator says:

    I believe the player in the top picture is Chantal Nguyen. Crystal Sun was the player who was guarding Marissa Hing. Also, Kaitlyn Crawley’s name is missing a ‘t’, and wasn’t Stacey Ward one of the top scorers?

    • AFitzsimon says:

      According to my roster, it’s Crystal Sun. Thank you for pointing out the misspelling in the name. Ward had four.

      • Anonymous says:

        It’s Chantal, not Crystal.

      • Spectator says:

        I was at the game. I’m pretty sure Ward scored more than 4. I remembered seeing her score at least 2 shots, and go to the free-throw line. I am 100% positive that the player pictured above is Chantal Nguyen, not Sun.

        • AFitzsimon says:

          It appears to be no 11 who’s crystal. If it’s 35 then it’s Chantal, the photographer would know better than I would. My stats have her at four, that’s what I’m rollin with. She went to the line and missed the free throws.

        • AFitzsimon says:

          Come to think of it you’re correct because 35 had the knee pads on. You are correct on that

  2. Paul B. says:

    I wonder when JB is coming back from LA?

  3. SHC Fan says:

    SI may be #1 in the city, But they do not have a division one player on their team, Because Pinewood made them work for that win!

    • JJ says:

      SI “struggled” to an 18 pt win, while SHC lost to Lowell.

    • Anonymous says:

      Having a Div 1 player doesn’t mean anything. Terra Nova has 3 Div 1 players but still lost to SI. If i’m not mistaken Maria Kemji Mcdonald is being recruited by Div 1 schools but prefer to play Lacrosse in college
      instead. SI lost to Pinewood last year because they have similar style of play and they had Seto and Eackles who are Div 1 players, SI was outgunned at the guard position last year. However this year SI is a more complete team with a deeper bench. Come Jan 10th we will see how SHC girls VArsity stack up against
      SI, the boys varsity is another story, but you’ll never know.

    • Anonymous says:

      I hope Geanna Summers Lualu will be healthy come Jan 10th otherwise it will be a long night for SHC. I was just glancing thru the stats of SHC on maxpreps and i noticed that there is no consistent scorer on the roster. There is even a player 0 for 9 in FT, at the varsity level you should at least make a FT.

      • SI Fan says:

        Exactly my point, SHC has a coach who puts girls on varsity who have no business being on the team.. He plays favorites and it shows, this is his team for the last 2 seasons and these are his hand picked players, coaching, making adjustments and evaluating talent does matter! SI will win big on the 10th even if all their players are healthy, he’s just not a good coach, go SI!

        • Anonymous says:

          I beg to disagree but Geanna will make a big difference, although rust will come into play for she has not
          been playing competitively. Although i will still take SI to win the game, Geanna will sure be a factor, she took over when it counted in the CCS championship last year, SI didn’t have answer for her, but with SI’s
          depth and height advantage SI will still win it.

  4. SI FAN says:

    At least SI has a good coach, can’t say the same for SHC.. That coach doesn’t have a clue!!

  5. SHC Fan says:

    Top that SI

  6. MY Stars says:

    What is Mercy team record?

  7. james wong says:

    Hey Aidan Fitzsimon were you even at the game? what a terrible article! SI struggled offensively due to the Good defense that PW played give credit where credit is due. I wasn’t at the game either nor am i a PW fan but i did here from some respectable SI parents that PW played some good D.

    • teamwork says:

      when a team only give up 29pts that’s good defense!!

    • Aidan Fitzsimon says:

      James-I was there taking careful stats and analyzing everything. You shouldn’t always believe what you hear… Pinewood defense was good at times, they forced a number of turnovers especially after their coach called a timeout in the fourth quarter SI went for a really rough streak then called a timeout and figured it out. However, most of the game they struggled missing close jumpers and open looks from the perimeter. I think when you say they struggled offensively, obviously the other teams defense had to do with that. This was not good offensive showing for an SI team that the two games prior put up 74 and 75 points but that would be expected against a team like Pinewood. I hope that clarifies things for you, James.

      • Roll Cats says:

        SI struggled mightily and missed quite a few open jumpers that they normally would hit. Aidan is pretty much spot on in his analysis.

      • GCJ01 says:

        AF, I’m sorry I didn’t catch this before, but, next time someone tells you that you’ve written a poor article, have that person write one. That way you can expose their idiocy and stupidity! There was nothing wrong with the article. James obviously just wanted to shoot his mouth off and was shooting nothing but blanks!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Let’s change that name mistake ASAP

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