Norm Stewart Girl’s Classic

Basketball girls take on the 48 hour challenge.

Connor Parrish, Sports Editor

Some people prefer to sleep in on their Sunday mornings, go to church, or just hang out. But this past Sunday, in the early hours of the morning, the Battle girls varsity team faced off against Vashon High School, at the annual Norm Stweart classic.

The game started out as a  neck and neck battle between the teams, with a very slow pace with multiple fouls going mostly against Vashon. But at the start of the second quarter, Vashon put in a full-court press that caused the Spartans to start to rush and turn the ball over, which led to easy layups for Vashon. Vashon had a huge lead at half time. The second half stayed much the same for Vashon leading to a 59 to 25 victory and Raychel Jones winning Most Valuable Player (MVP) for the game.

The Spartans had two very major problems in the game- they struggled to beat the press which led to turnovers and easy buckets for Vashon and was not able to rebound the ball which led to second-chance opportunities.

Head coach Michael Fernandez talked about Battle’s shortcomings in that area.

“I was a little surprised on how [the press] went, in the first two games we broke the press pretty well,” Fernandez said. “Right now we don’t have very much size, Anna Sisson is still recovering from her ACL injury, and some of our bigs are still developing.” 

Senior captain Taryn Criblez went into more detail of how Vashon’s press affected the team.

“Their quickness and length helped them to close off passing lanes, which led to us throwing passes that were either late or to unopen players,” Criblez said. 

Vashon easily picked off passes in the press that led them to convert layups which is what opened the game up for Vashon to go up by 20 at half time.

“Vashon just seemed to be one step ahead of us, and with them being quicker, faster, and stronger than us made it hard to rebound. So we knew we were going to have a problem with rebounding, but we did not box out well enough leading to second chances,” Fernandez said.

An issue for rebounding is that the team plays a three-two defense which makes it harder to rebound since they’re guarding a portion of the court instead of guarding a man. This makes it harder to put a body on someone.

Even though the Spartans lost by 34 points, it’s not time to hit the panic button yet for the season. The Spartans starting center, Sisson, is still recovering from an ACL injury from early Feb. this year but is close to returning soon. Fernandez stated that the team will start running a nine-man rotation as soon as Sisson gets back to playing. Fernandez commented on the preparation for the game.

“Going into the game this week, we knew what we had to do, we just failed to execute when needed. Like the press breaker, we did not execute right or running a great play and the shot not falling like it usually does.”

Fernandez did have some players that really stood out to him. “Eliyah McCarthy played really hard, even though her shot was not falling, but she was trying to affect the game in other ways, such as defense and hustle,” Fernandez said. 

“I played really tough defense throughout the game, and I was being a vocal leader on the floor and being a leader,” McCarthy commented.

The Spartans will have a chance to fix what went wrong in the Vashon game, playing at Rolla on Tuesday, then going to Rock Bridge on Thursday. Criblez commented on the upcoming schedule.

“We definitely need to fix lazy passes and amp up our on-court communication, since both Rolla and Rock Bridge are very skilled and quick teams.”

The Varsity girl’s next home game will be on Jan. eighth against Father Tolton.