Wildcats' Experience Too Much for Saints in 70-21 Win
Tue. February 12, 2013 at 10:00 p.m. | By Rick Brown
By RICK BROWN
LAND O'LAKES | All Saints' Academy has had a dream season.
No matter what the obstacle or the situation, the Lady Saints had been able to overcome it this season. That is, until Tuesday.
All Saints met up with a bigger, faster and more experienced team in the Land O'Lakes Academy at the Lakes Wildcats. It was a Wildcats team that made an appearance at the state championship tournament last season and was returning most of the players from that semifinal squad.
The difference in experience showed.
The Wildcats scored the game's first eight points and cruised to a 70-21 victory over the previously undefeated Lady Saints in the Class 2A regional semifinals at Academy at the Lakes.
The loss ends All Saints' season at 21-1.
"We knew they were very powerful," All Saints coach Bob Lepre said. "They're experienced. They went to the Final Four and basically had everybody back from last year, plus the point guard that was hurt last year.
"But what can you say," Lepre said. "The kids played hard and did the best they could do. We're very young. We've never been in this position. We started a seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th grader against a team that is very seasoned, well coached and they moved the ball well. They're a very good ball club."
Academy entered the game ranked No. 3 by MaxPreps in Class 2A and showed why the ranking is no joke.
Utilizing a full-court press, the Wildcats were able to force 14 Saints turnovers in the first quarter. In fact, All Saints had more turnovers in the game (29) than points.
It was a formula Academy coach Karim Nohra said the team executed to perfection.
"We prepared for everything with All Saints but I felt if we kept constant pressure on them and make other girls bring the ball up other than Diamond Battle, we could beat them," Nohra said. "I thought the girls played tremendous. We were right on the presses. We were right on just about everything we did."
Tatiana Manuel led all scorers with 22 points for Academy, while Timecia Cohen added 14. Eight of the 10 players for Academy scored.
Hope Hunter scored 14 points to lead All Saints.
ALL SAINTS (21): Hope Hunter 14, Diamond Battles 4, Melanie Rex 3, Maddison Wells 0, Courtney Krakowski 0, Rachel Dunn 0, Porscha Meeks 0, Elizabeth Canto 0, Danie Guice 0, Jillian Rex 0. Totals 9 3-9 21.
ACADEMY (70): Tatiana Manual 22, Andrea Mauger 8, Timecia Cohen 14, Luz Santiago 5, Alex Gittens 8, Taylor Polasky 9, Janice Cassanelo 2, Rebecca Hannah 0, Kristina Stark 2, Monique Montoute 0. Totals 29 6-11 70.
All Saints 8 8 0 5 — 21
Academy 21 25 14 10 — 70
Records: All Saints 21-1, Academy at the Lakes 24-2.