Rutherford, NJ - The result left Hunter DeBellis pleased. And why not? Her Gaels had just rolled over North Arlington 49-21 at George Vuyosevich Memorial Gymnasium. Still, the St. Mary coach had concerns regarding the game. "We started slow," she said following the contest. "We had a great second half but we still struggle to put two good halves together. We have to play well in both halves, not one, unfortunately today was the norm for us."
St. Mary led 19-15 at the break, The teams were tied at 10 after the first period. Therein lies another of DeBellis’ concerns. "Too many turnovers," she said. "I think all their ten (first period) points were off our turnovers. Limiting our turnovers was something we talked about at the half. Actually we didn’t play poorly the first half. We just had too many turnovers and layups." The Gaels got the message.
Second half they limited the Vikings to six points. St. Mary played a 2-3 zone. North Arlington chose to try to break it on the perimeter. They were unable, hitting one three pointer, by team high scorer Lia Cruz with 9 points, on the afternoon. As the Gaels cut down on their offensive miscues they started to force turnovers on the defensive end-leading to transition baskets.
North Arlington played a 1-2-2 zone for three periods. The fourth period they decided to go man. Against the zone the Gaels were able to get down low inside to the post. Facing the man they went high post set that opened up some opportunities for back door cuts. A strong team effort by the Gaels who had a few individuals singled out for praise by the coach.
Adriana Cabrera scored eight points, handed out four assets and came up with three steals. "I thought she (Cabrera) played her most complete game at the point for us this season," DeBellis remarked.
Kystal Pozo battled on the boards pulling down 14 rebounds.
Cyan Villar had a strong 17 point (game high) , 10 rebound effort. Villar was the primary threat in the low and high post.
Gillian Sepp added 14 points, 7 boards. "Gillian came in and took charge in our zone," DeBellis noted. "She did a great job and communicated very well on defense."
Paige Sonzogni scored 7 points while pulling down 5 rebounds. A freshman, Sonzogni will occasionally pass up an open look deferring to upperclassmen teammates. Each game she is getting more comfortable and as DeBellis observed, "will be a threat and down the road an excellent player for us."
Always nice to get a victory in the books. For DeBellis, a closer contest is more her cup of tea- it gets the competitive juices flowing. When you are in a one possession game your players are challenged and stand to get better from the experience. "I know we lost to Saddle Brook (in overtime) last week, DeBellis sad. "But give me that type of (close) game anytime."