After a very lackluster performance against Toronto just two nights previous, St. John Central came out focused and ready to play Saturday afternoon.
The end result, a 54-39 wire-to-wire victory over visiting Caldwell (0-4) inside the Greenhouse on Guernsey Street.
Freshman Marissa Rose was the early catalyst as she scored nine of her game-high 19 points in the opening frame, including seven in a game-opening 13-2 run that was capped by her bonus bomb from the left wing.
ST. JOHN Central’s Marissa Rose drives to the basket during Saturday
afternoon’s game with Caldwell. She scored 19 points in the Irish win.
St. John enjoyed a 16-7 advantage at the first break.
Both teams took special care of the basketball in the initial eight minutes, but it was a turnover-fest after that. The Redskins owned the lone two miscues of the first quarter, but the Lady Irish finished with 23, one more than the visitors.
However, the hosts survived because of their pressure defense, which forced Caldwell into 10 second-quarter turnovers.
Leading 24-12 with 3:39 left in the first half, St. John Central went on a 9-0 spurt to end the first half. Caitlyn Sliva put the finishing touches on when she got nothing but net from downtown Bellaire before the buzzer sounded for a 33-12 reading.
"I couldn't be more pleased with how we performed in the first half. We we able to effective with both fullcourt pressure and in our halfcourt man," St. John Central head coach Robert "Bubba" Kapral said. "We were able to get a lot of people involved in the offense as we ran the floor well."
The Irish also reeled off 11 unanswered markers between the third and fourth quarters to take a game-best 29-point, 48-19, bulge early in the fourth quarter.
Morgan DeLuca's basket in the paint was sandwiched by a pair of trifectas from the top of the key by Rose.
Caldwell tried to make things interesting down the stretch as it scored 20 of the final 26 counters. The Redskins would get no closer than 14 at 52-38.
"At halftime we stressed that we needed to put them away early in the third," Kapral added. "Unfortunately, we got a little sloppy at both ends and made it closer than what it should have been. But we have played six games in 12 days and that could have been a factor."
Joining Rose in twin figures was senior Kristen Russell with a dozen. DeLuca recorded nine.
Ciara Petry, who buried a pair of treys in the fourth quarter, led Caldwell with 12. Lexy Schell had eight.
St. John Central led 42-41 off the glass as Russell had 10 and Rose nine. Rose also had six steals, two assists and a block, while Russell charted four steals and three helpers. Kaydie Coppa chipped in five steals and freshman Lindsey Froehlich swatted away seven shots.
Megan Devol took game honors with 11 rebounds.
There was no JV game contested.
CALDWELL (39) - Leasure 2 3-4 7; Schell 2 4-6 8; Sawyer 1 3-4 5; Petry 5 0-0 12; McKown 0 0-0 0; Whetzel 1 0-0 2; Yerian 0 1-2 1; Figel 0 0-0 0; Crawford 0 0-0 0; Devol 2 0-2 4; Weisand 0 0-0 0; Totals: 13-53 11-18. ST. JOHN CENTRAL (54) - Russell 4 4-4 12; Coppa 1 1-2 3; Froehlich 2 0-0 4; DeLuca 4 1-2 9; Rose 5 6-6 19; Alvey 0 2-2 2; Sliva 2 0-0 5; Lemasters 0 0-0 0; Porter 0 0-0 0; Roberts; 0 0-0 0; Totals: 18-52 14-16.
Three-Point Goals: Caldwell 2 (Petry 2); St. John Central 4 (Rose 3, Sliva)
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