Balanced Benet wins again
A Nazareth Academy team that relies on plenty of talented freshmen hung tough with unbeaten Benet Academy for more than a quarter Wednesday night, but then the more experienced Redwings turned things up a notch and schooled the Roadrunners a bit on their way to a 48-22 victory.
Benet led host Nazareth just 9-8 after one quarter and 14-12 with 5 minutes left in the half before closing out the quarter with an 11-0 run and then stayed hot in the third quarter on their way to 21-point lead after three quarters.
"I thought we got good shots earlier but we just didn't finish," Redwings coach Joe Kilbride said after his team shook off the slow start to improve to 6-0 on the year. "In the second quarter we got more aggressive and we drove to the paint more. We also got some turnovers that helped, but on the other end we'd rebound, run and score."
The strategy sounds so simple, and Benet executed it perfectly while outscoring the Roadrunners (3-1) 16-4 in the second quarter and 16-8 in the third. Nebraska-bound guard Kendall Moriarty had 10 points and 2 steals for Benet, but the total team effort on Wednesday also saw center Morgan Demos record 8 points, 10 rebounds and 2 blocked shots, while Lenee Beaumont led the balanced attack with 11 points, 10 rebounds and a trio of steals.
"We tried to speed things up in transition. We wanted to outrun them," said Beaumont, who credited the 6-foot-2 Demos with playing a big role. "She's a quick outlet. She's really good at getting the rebounds and cleaning everything up."
Kilbride has this year's team playing real well together with Moriarty leading the way. The senior leader could score a lot more than she does if she wasn't more concerned with playing and winning together.
"Kendall is super athletic and can do everything," Kilbride said. "But she isn't the type of player who has to score a lot to have a big impact on the game. And Morgan (Demos) is huge for us. Her impact on the game is enormous. She creates wide-open 3s for her teammates because they have to guard her and she's a load."
Roadrunners coach Eddie Stritzel, who guided the program to 3A state trophies in 2018 and 2019, has reloaded with a quartet of freshmen including three starters led by forward Danielle Scully, who led the way with 8 points and 8 rebounds against Benet. Freshman guard Mary Bridget Wilson added 5 points and 3 steals.
"We're so young, but credit Benet they did a great job tonight," Stritzel said. "Our youth is a great thing for our future, but we have to stay positive and learn from a game like this. As the game wore on we lost confidence, but I'm so excited about our future."