Defense carries Maine South to weekend sweep of New Trier
Trying to score against Maine South is often an abject lesson in futility.
With their size, length and athleticism, the Hawks create a formidable wall that is often impenetrable.
"We practice this press that we call gold, and we get in their face and hold our hands high," forward Emily Pape said.
"That's what we are really good at."
The Hawks administered back-to-back dismantlings against Central Suburban League rival New Trier.
Maine South jumped out to a 13-point lead and utilized a dominant second half defensive turn in the 51-34 girls basketball victory Saturday in Park Ridge.
The Hawks (6-1, 4-0) limited the Trevians to just 5 points through the first 12 minutes of the second half. They engineered a 13-0 run to lead by as many as 25 points in the fourth quarter.
At 6-foot, Pape is the centerpiece of the defense, a wiry and long performer who uses her length to disrupt the passing lanes. She had 6 of the Hawks' 11 steals.
Pape also scored 11 points and contributed 3 assists.
In sweeping the weekend series, the Hawks also beat New Trier 42-32 Friday in Winnetka.
"Coming back home today definitely helped," Pape said. "We knew they were going to come out hard and they wanted to beat us. We're a versatile team with a deep bench, and we have a lot of support."
Eight different Maine South players scored as the Hawks blitzed New Trier by scoring the opening 7 points.
Forward Nicole Gardiner scored 7 of her game-high 11 points in the first quarter.
Abby Ryan scored 8 points to lead the Trevians (7-4, 4-2). New Trier recovered from the early 15-2 deficit to pull within 5 points (19-14).
Pape scored 6 points in the second quarter. She also helped forward Niamh Gardiner get on track. Pape's quick hands and thievery turned the game in the third quarter. She made consecutive steals that yielded breakaway baskets by Niamh Gardiner.
The twin sister of Nicole, Niamh Gardiner scored all 10 of her points in the third quarter. She hit two 3-pointers during the personal barrage.
"My shots weren't going in during the first half, and I knew I had to keep shooting," Niamh Gardiner said.
The Gardiner twins and Pape accounted for all the Hawks' third quarter scoring as they blitzed the Trevians 18-5.
"We get a lot of energy off of our press and our speed," Nicole Gardiner said. "We all play together, and we like to share the ball. Every time we get a steal, we try to sprint up the floor and get another layup."
The camaraderie and the toughness is a natural byproduct of having her twin sister next to her on the floor. It underlines the almost element bonds pushing the team forward.
"We are pretty competitive but we want the best for each other," Nicole Gardiner said. "We know where we are going to be on the court and we trust each other."