Kathleen Felicelli, Carmel Catholic's No. 12, wasn't going to boast about the 12 points her basketball team scored in the first half against undefeated Marian Catholic on 12-12-12.
But at least the Corsairs made good on their goal of limiting the visiting Spartans' point total to below five dozen (60).
Marian Catholic defeated Carmel 58-22 Wednesday night in the teams' East Suburban Catholic Conference contest in Mundelein. On Sunday, Marian Catholic had dropped 101 points on Kenosha Tremper (Wis.) in the Battle of the Borders Showcase at Zion-Benton.
"Our coach makes us play defense throughout practice," Felicelli said of Corsairs coach Kelly Perz. "She makes that the most important part of our game. So we were like, 'We don't think (Marian Catholic) will score 100 (points) if we play our best defense. They can't be that good.' We just wanted to keep them below 60."
And, yes, the Corsairs were well aware of the Spartans' triple-digit offensive performance three days earlier.
"We were talking about that and making jokes about it," said Felicelli, who had 3 steals. "We were like, 'We just need to play our game.' I don't think we came out as strong as we have in the past. Against Benet, our last game (a 50-44 win Saturday), we came out so strong. We got a quick 5 points. This game was a little rough."
Carmel (7-4, 1-2) was within 7-4 after Nicole Bitter fed Claire Ogrinc (team-high 6 points) for a layup with three minutes left in the opening quarter. But Marian Catholic (10-0, 3-0) called timeout, regrouped and closed the quarter with an 8-0 run.
"We turned the ball over too much," Perz said. "We came out scared, for whatever reason."
Marian Catholic dominated the second quarter, outscoring Carmel 24-8. The Corsairs committed 11 of their 30 turnovers in the second quarter, as the visitors' full-court press overwhelmed at times.
"That's the best pressure defense we've seen all year and might see all year," Perz said. "Hats off to (Marian Catholic) on that. They execute that very well, and they're extremely athletic. That's the defense they should be running."
The Spartans are so deep that coach Annie Byrne brings a pair of college-bound guards, Aliyah Isaac (Valparaiso) and Melanie Ransom (Davidson), off the bench. Byrne's starting five includes Truman State-recruit Megan Walsh.
"I'm not a coach that likes to put all my eggs in one basket," Byrne said. "We have 15 kids that can play. I always like to make sure we have a backup and a backup to that."
Isaac scored a game-high 11 points, going 9 of 10 from the foul line, and collected 5 steals. Sophomore guard Teniya Page added 10 points, and the 6-1 Walsh finished with 9 points and 5 rebounds.
The Spartans led 39-12 at halftime.
"I thought the kids played a nice first half," Byrne said. "We're going to play a full-court game. I just thought, out of respect, that we would call off the dogs a little bit (in the second half) and go to half court. That's not our strength."Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.