Elyria Catholic fans can remember last season when the Panthers split two basketball games with the Columbia girls.
EC won the regular-season meeting by a wide margin. Columbia ended the Panthers’ season with a close victory in the district tournament.
On Wednesday night, with a career-high 25 points from senior guard Brittney McNamara, Elyria Catholic (2-1) rolled over the Raiders, 71-24, in non-conference play. No one will know until tournament time if it was déjà vu, and then only if the two schools meet along the way.
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It was the Panthers’ home opener and they wanted to get off to a fast start and set the tone. They did so with great alacrity. They took a 15-1 lead in the first four minutes, led 21-6 after a quarter and increased the lead to 39-11 at halftime.
The Raiders (1-1) opened the third with a 7-4 run, but that seemed merely to inspire EC, which finished the period with a 12-0 run. With the Panthers leading 55-18 after three quarters, the teams emptied their benches for the final eight minutes. EC used 11 players and all of them scored.
McNamara, whose previous high was 22 points in a game last season, had a hot hand, to say the least. She made all five EC 3-point baskets, all in the first half and in her first six 3-point attempts. And she played only 2½ quarters.
“I give all the credit to my dad (Kevin),” she said. “Me and my dad go and shoot every day, 500 shots a day. He helps me so much with my shot. Once I get hot, I just know exactly where every shot has to be placed and it just goes.”
Of McNamara, Panthers coach Eric Rothgery said, “When she’s hot, she’s hot.”
“She really got rolling,” he said. “She only played about half of the third quarter and she didn’t want to just sit there and watch.
“I’d like to see her shoot that way the entire season. We want to spread the other team out. She and Josie (Carandang) are very good outside shooters and Riley (Schill) can take the ball to the basket. We want teams to pick their poison: stop Riley or stop our outside shooters.”
Ken Marlette, the Raiders’ first-year coach, shook his head and said, in a tribute to understatement, “They were definitely the better team tonight.”
“For whatever reason, we weren’t ready to play,” he said. “They took advantage of it and it’s done and over with. (Patriot Athletic) Conference starts for us Saturday with Buckeye. We might see (EC) in the sectionals or districts again this season. Hopefully, history will repeat itself in that way.”
Not only did the Panthers limit Columbia to single-digit scoring in every quarter, they held the Raiders to 15.5 percent field-goal shooting, while shooting 50 percent themselves. They also fouled a lot, but the Raiders could make just 9 of 27 free throws. EC was 6 of 9 from the foul line.
Senior post Karissa McGrath scored 10 points for EC and freshman guard Riley Schill added eight. No Columbia player finished in double figures, although senior Kaley Marshall scored eight and senior Shelby Stedronsky had five points, including the Raiders’ only 3-point basket.
Elyria Catholic 71, Columbia 24
COLUMBIA (24): Christine Lyzen 1-0-2, Jenna Guth 0-3-3, Emily Viccarone 0-0-0, Tessa Quinn 0-0-0, Sam Hirsch 0-0-0, Amy Mirecki 0-0-0, Bailey Patouhas 2-0-4, Shelby Stedrondsky 1-2-5, Sam Goode 0-0-0, Alexis Bycznski 0-0-0, Kaley Marshall 2-4-8, Shelby Friedel 0-0-0, Taylor Napoli 1-0-2. Totals: 7-9-24.
ELYRIA CATHOLIC (71): Josie Carandang 2-0-4, Brittney McNamara 9-2-25, Riley Schill 4-0-8, Therese Orsagos 1-3-5, Natalie Tremont 2-0-4, Shannon Hopkins 2-0-4, Brooke Nedrich 1-0-2, Karissa McGrath 5-0-10, Becky Horvath 2-0-4, Emily Millar 1-1-3, Erin Herschelman 1-0-2. Totals: 15-12-46.
Columbia 6 5 7 6 – 24
Elyria Catholic 21 18 16 16 – 71
3-point goals: Columbia 1-13 (Stedronsky); Elyria Catholic 5-13 (McNamara 5). Field goals: Columbia 7-45 (15.6 percent); Elyria Catholic 30-60 (50 percent). Free throws: Columbia 9-27; Elyria Catholic 6-9. Rebounds: Columbia 43; Elyria Catholic 39. Turnovers: Columbia 29; Elyria Catholic 25.
Junior varsity: Columbia, 37-34.
Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or email@example.com.