We are bearing down on Valentine's Day, but the Grant girls basketball team is still thinking about Christmas.
On Monday night, the Bulldogs got a rematch against a Marian Central Catholic team that put a little coal in their stockings over the holidays.
Marian Central Catholic rolled over Grant by 26 points in the championship game of Grant's own holiday basketball tournament.
"We really wanted to get revenge this time for how much they beat us last time on our own floor," Grant senior center Mallory Harrity said. "I think we were kind of scared to play them last time."
There were no ghosts of Christmas Past, Present or Future haunting the Bulldogs this time. Grant took an early lead, withstood a Marian Central Catholic run, held a Division I player relatively in check and cruised this time to a 53-40 victory over the Hurricanes.
"It just took a lot of heart to win this game," said Harrity who scored a team-high 18 points for Grant. "We played as a team this game."
Grant, which moves to 16-7 on the season, also got double-figures out of junior guard Ally Mahinay, who finished with 12, including 6 points as Grant was putting away the game in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs also got points out of five other players, including 6 from reserve forward Brooke Karpinske.
"It really came down to us playing really well, as a team," Grant coach Kevin Geist said. "We were all talking, the bench was alive, the fans were in it and we fed off the energy. It was so exciting. It's just really great to watch us play like that, when we're sharing the ball.
"When we played (Marian Central Catholic) earlier in the season, we got down early and it kind of just defeated us. We really wanted to come out and respond with a better team effort and a better start."
Something else (or rather someone else) defeated the Bulldogs over the holidays, when they last faced Marian Central Catholic: Vanessa Garrelts. She is the Hurricanes' Division I point guard who will be playing at Miami of Ohio next year. She dropped in 27 points on Grant over the holidays.
This time, Garrelts had 18 points, but was just 2-of-14 from the field in the second half.
The Bulldogs had a special plan for Garrelts this time.
"We decided that we were going to have our four fastest guard defenders on her and have them switch off on her, so that if someone got a little tired, we'd put fresh legs on her," Harrity said. "She had such a good game last time. I'm glad we kind of shut her down this time."
Garrelts was the only player to score in double-figures for Marian Central Catholic, which was ahead 30-28 midway through the third quarter but then allowed Grant to go on a 9-0 run which included clutch 3-pointers by Harrity and reserve guard Makiah Linbo.
Grant ended the third quarter up 37-32 and never relinquished the lead in the fourth quarter.
"We knew going into this game that they wanted this game really bad," Garrelts said of the revenge factor for Grant. "We had a slow start but were up 2 by halftime and thought we kind of had it figured out, but coming out of half, they were coming right at us again. Things just didn't seem like they were working out for us tonight."
Grant outscored Marian Central Catholic 16-8 in the fourth quarter.
"We were just flat in that third quarter. It was like something was on top of the basket," said Marian Central Catholic coach Anthony Powe, whose team drops to 15-10 on the season. "We just couldn't get anything going offensively and we were giving up some easy stuff. Usually when we're playing well, we're getting stops on the defensive end and that translates to what we're doing offensively."