Girls Basketball: Convent locks down first place with road win over University

Convent junior guard Isabella Borges (right) fends off University sophomore guard Kayla Symanovich on Friday at University High School. (Photo by Devin Chen)

By Jeremy Balan

The coaches and many of the players may have changed, but the script has remained the same.

Convent of the Sacred Heart High School owns University in girls basketball.

The Cubs extended their winning streak over the Red Devils in Bay Counties League West play to 12 games and sealed the regular-season league championship with a 55-44 victory on Friday at University High School.

Convent sophomore guard Alyssa Viscio works her way into the key against University on Friday at University High School. (Photo by Devin Chen)

The difference was the third quarter, where the Cubs (14-6, 8-0) held University (20-3, 6-2) to just four points and the Red Devils shot 1-for-10 from the floor, allowing Convent to take a 44-28 lead into the fourth quarter.

“We’ve been going through a lot of tough stretches offensively, but if we play solid defense then we’ll be fine,” said Convent head coach Jon Mercado.

The Red Devils weren’t done, though, and after Convent opened up its largest lead of the game on a layup from junior point guard Isabella Borges with 7 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, University went on a 14-1 run to cut the Convent lead to 49-43 with 2:30 left.

But Convent responded with it’s own run, a 6-1 spurt to end the game, to seal the victory.

“We just walk away from this one excited about the fourth quarter,” said University head coach Jason Montana. “We’ve convinced ourselves that we can play a certain level of basketball that we haven’t played yet this year. As much as we’d like the win, there are certainly a ton of positives we can take away from this.”

After largely being held down by the aggressive Convent defense through three quarters, standout University center Amelia King spurred the late run with 10 points in the fourth quarter to finish with a game-high 19 points and seven rebounds.

Three Convent players fouled out in the fourth quarter, all of which spent significant time guarding King.

“She’s learning now that she has to continue working even when she’s being held or grabbed,” Montana said. “Tonight, she played right through it and it’s a big difference over previous games.”

While University’s offensive focus was with King in the paint, the Cubs got most of their scoring from Borges and fellow guard Jaime Hun-Nishikado. The pair combined the 25 points and constantly pressured University’s guards on the defensive end.

Borges had a team-high 14 points, added two blocks and four steals on the defensive end, and was the primary distributor in the Convent offense.

“She brings leadership more than anything else,” Mercado said of Borges. “We feel that we have the best guards in the league. They go up against each other in practice, so when they get into games they’re not nervous or anything.”

Outside of King’s contributions, the Red Devils struggled to score for much of the game and didn’t do themselves any favors at the free throw line. University got to the line 32 times and only made 16 attempts.

In his first year coaching at University, Montana did not feel that the losing streak to Convent was a burden on him personally, but acknowledged it had some impact on his players.

“It’s not on my back, but it looms a little bit,” Montana said, “That’s why I feel tonight was a good sign, because we didn’t fold down by 16 heading into the fourth quarter. It’s big-game experience and it’s coming.”

Scoring Summary

Convent
Isabella Borges – 14
Jaime Hum-Nishikado – 11
Erin Hanley – 8
Three players tied with 5 points

University
Amelia King – 19
Kaiza Molina – 7
Kayla Symanovich – 7
Alana Zack – 7
Two players tied with 2 points

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13 Comments

  1. GCJ 01 says:

    Congrats Convent. Keep up the great work!

  2. University Fan says:

    I think University deserves a lot more credit for this game. This article does not do them justice in any way.

  3. Amelia K. says:

    Convent played a great game. We look forward to seeing them in the finals!

  4. University Fan #2 says:

    I agree with University Fan. Here is some evidence for the spectator: Although they may not have made a lot of their free throws, Kayla Symanovich did a great job getting the rebounds off those missed shots and put them right back into scoring chance. Seeing as Convent had 10 fouls and University had 2 (before the last few minutes when they committed fouls to save time) I believe that UHS was better at drawing the fouls because of their great offense, and played a stronger defense in that they blocked Convent’s shots without committing fouls. University also had a lot of steals, and although convent did come up with the win, it was not a blowout, and University definitely has a great chance to beat Convent in the finals. Both teams played excellent games, and are good match ups for one another. Thanks for the controversial article. See you at the finals!

    • Kezar For Keeps says:

      What is controversial about this article? Convent has beaten the tar out of University in recent history and you want them to focus on the losing team?

      • Devil says:

        the controversial part is the second line. Convent does not “own” university in basketball. Convent’s a great team and plated well, but UHS played really well also. they only won by 11 points which isn’t much, and University played really well as a team, despite missing the free throws. He shouldn’t focus on the losing team, but i think UHS definitely deserves more credit than this article gives them.

        • Spectator says:

          The writers did not mean “own” as in you own a dog. Convent obviously owned you on the court if they have beaten you twice by double digits.

          • JJ says:

            When talking about sports, “own” means dominate, such as the NY Giants “own” the New England Patriots (owning them in 2 Super Bowls and owning them this past November).

          • Devil says:

            I just think that the cubs did not dominate. they played really well but its not like UHS played horirbly

  5. Cubs Fan says:

    University fans need to calm down, I personally saw some crude and foul postings and comments on facebook that is very disrespectful towards Convent and Jeremy Balan. A wins a win. You can’t do anything about it.

    • University Parent says:

      Just want to know the facts…..what crude posts in facebook or blogs are you referring to? Since you brought this up, it would be only fair to back it up with facts. Thanks.

      • Parent says:

        I saw the facebook posts as well. Too profane to re-post here. Let’s just say the posters were not demonstrating good sportsmanship.

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