Lady Gators hold off Cabrini for eighth straight win
St. Amant’s eighth straight victory wasn’t pretty, but head coach Kristy Englade will take it.
The Lady Gators led Cabrini by as many as 11, but the Crescents never stopped fighting. They cut the deficit to one at halftime and then surged to a one-point advantage of their own in the fourth quarter.
Finally, St. Amant made just enough defensive stands, and with some big free throws down the stretch, they were able to pull out the victory by a score of 40-39.
“I’m happy that we were able to hold on to the win, but in terms of our play right now, I’m at a loss for what’s going on, because it was like we couldn’t get our motor running tonight,” Englade said. “But we had some key kids come in off of the bench and give us great minutes. Amani Gray struggled at the beginning, but she came in at the end and hit some clutch free throws for us.”
Both teams really struggled shooting the ball to begin the game.
The Lady Gators finally got some things going late in the opening quarter. A put-back by Kelsi Martine and a steal and layup by MacKenzie Brooks gave them an 8-1 start.
They were up 10-3 after one.
To begin the second quarter, Asya Price drove the baseline and got a layup to go to open up a 10-point advantage for St. Amant.
However, a string of turnovers allowed Cabrini to stick around. They took full advantage as they went on a 10-0 run to close out the first half.
A bucket by Breanne Woods got the Crescents within 17-16 at the break.
But the Lady Gators quickly ended their spurt to begin the third quarter. Martine drilled a 3-pointer to put them up four.
Later, Brooks began to take over for St. Amant. She went on a tear in which she scored eight straight points. It helped the Lady Gators build a 36-29 lead heading into the fourth.
But again, they struggled to put Cabrini away.
The Crescents made a hard charge, scoring nine straight points to take their first lead of the game at 39-38.
Gray then drew a foul and headed to the line. She hit one of her free throws to tie the game.
On the other end, the Lady Gators made a big stop by forcing Woods into an offensive foul.
When they got the ball back, they fed it down low to Price, who drew another foul with just two seconds remaining. At the line, she made one free throw to give St. Amant the deciding one-point advantage.
In defeat, Woods was exceptional for Cabrini. She led all scorers with 22 points.
As for St. Amant, they were led by Brooks, who had 17.
“I ripped them a new one at halftime, and I told MacKenzie what was working was her penetrating the gaps and finding shots,” Englade said. “She came in, in that second half and was able to do that. I gave her the green light, and she went in there and did a good job. She started off slow, but she played well down the stretch.”
Martine chipped in with nine points.
It was the eighth straight win for St. Amant as it improved their overall record to 9-2
“We’re deep on the bench. This is the deepest we’ve been since I’ve been here,” Englade said. “We have some key kids that can come off of the bench. I always say that we have eight starters. I’ve stayed with the same starting lineup because it’s working. Why change it? We have four other kids coming off of the bench that are helping us. I like that we’re seeing the court a lot better than we were.”