ELYRIA – Put a “new-and-improved” sticker on the Elyria Catholic girls.
New because they`re young, improved because they`ve improved.
The Panthers trailed by 14 points early in the fourth quarter on Saturday. But they fought back and nearly caught a team which – in the same situation – would have torched them in seasons past.
The operative word, alas, is “nearly.” They didn`t quite catch up and dropped a North Coast League thriller to Holy Name, 60-57. But they were in a position to tie and put up a 3-point attempt at the buzzer that would have done just that.
“We had it within one possession with five seconds, same as with Midview,” coach Pat Higley said of the Panthers` season-opening loss to the Middies. “But we just couldn`t execute.”
EC began to move early in the fourth with Holy Name in command, 50-36. Freshman Emily Taylor scored and sophomore Sara Schneider sandwiched two close-range baskets around a foul shot cutting the Green Wave lead to 50-43.
The Panthers couldn`t get closer than seven points until Schneider scored a putback and sophomore Ashley Schuster made a layup, further cutting the lead to 59-55 in the final half-minute. Holy Name added a foul shot and Schuster hit two foul shots, but they created the final score with five seconds to play.
The Panthers (3-3, 1-2 NCL) had the ball for an inbounds play with four seconds left and got off a shot from long range, but it was off the mark.
“We want to win in the worst way and when we don`t it`s frustrating,” said Panthers coach Pat Higley. “We have the talent and we have the ability. I don`t want to hear that we`re young. It doesn`t matter. Right now, the talent is there. The understanding of the game is still developing. When we can put those two things together, we`re going to be OK.”
The fact is, the Panthers are young. They started four sophomores – Rachel Wilden, Mimi Rothgery, Katie Shoemaker and Schneider – and the freshman Taylor, who scored a game-high 26 points. Schneider scored17.
“We`ll get better, we need to get better,” Higley said. “We had our opportunities. I felt as though we let one slip away. We had a team that was comparable to us and for one reason or another, we`ve played a lot more intense. I won`t say anything about this game, but we`ve played a lot more intense in games past.”
They fell behind 15-10 late in the first quarter, but got back-to-back field goals from Taylor and junior Katherine McNeeley, and trailed 15-14 after eight minutes. They took a brief lead, 28-27, in the last two minutes of the half, but fell behind 32-28 at the break.
Then they allowed Holy Name (3-3, 2-1 NCL) a 12-2 run midway through the third and trailed 48-36 going into the final eight minutes.
“I`m not sure what the deal was today, but we gave up a lot of easy shots,” said Higley. “It wasn`t until midway through the fourth quarter that we really woke up and decided we need to play some ball. But you`ve got to give the kids credit. We were down 14 points in the second half and they came back and made a game of it.”
They were certainly inspired three minutes into the fourth quarter when Taylor turned in the defensive play of the day. She made an acrobatic block on a Holy Name shot and in the process knocked the ball off a Holy Name player. It went out of bounds and the Panthers regained possession.
Holy Name got a team-high 15 points from Megan Krakowiak, who is the niece of EC principal Andrew Krakowiak. His daughter Sarah also plays for the Namers. Nancy Faulhaber added 11 points for the Green Wave.
Holy Name 60, Elyria Catholic 57
HOLY NAME (60): Emily Day 1-3-5, Nancy Faulhaber 4-3-11, Becca DeMattia 1-2-4, Megan Krakowiak 7-1-15, Sarah Krakowiak 2-2-7, Lyndsey Prochko 1-2-4, Jenny Prochko 2-2-6, Rachel Weigand 2-2-6, Becky Williams 1-0-2. Totals: 21-17-60.
ELYRIA CATHOLIC (57): Rachel Wilden 0-0-0, Stephanie Recko 0-0-0, Mimi Rothgery 0-0-0, Emily Taylor 10-5-26, Molly O`Malley 0-0-0, Myrasia Flowers 0-0-0, Katherine McNeeley 2-1-5, Katie Shoemaker 2-2-6, Ashley Schuster 1-1-3, Sara Schneider 8-1-17. Totals: 23-10-57.
Holy NameÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 15Â Â Â Â Â 17Â Â Â Â 16Â Â 12Â – Â 60
Elyria CatholicÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 14Â Â Â Â 14Â Â Â Â Â 8Â Â Â 21Â – Â 57
3-point goals: Holy Name 1-4 (S. Krakowiak); EC 1-7 (Taylor). Field goals: Holy Name 21-52 (40.4 percent); EC 23-58 (39.7 percent). Free throws: Holy Name 17-29; EC 10-17. Rebounds: Holy Name 36; EC 38. Turnovers: Holy Name 12; EC 12. Fouled out: McNeeley, Taylor.
Junior varsity: Holy Name, 52-29.
Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or email@example.com.