While just about everybody is rushing around this time of year, Joe Rehrmann wishes his John Carroll girls basketball team would slow down a little.
The Patriots started off Wednesday's game at Aberdeen in a big hurry to shoot the ball. They put up 32 shots in the first half but hit only nine, struggling to an 18-12 halftime lead.
In the third quarter, the Patriots finally showed some offensive patience, hitting nine of 16 shots en route to a 44-26 victory over Aberdeen in a non-league game.
"We have a tendency to take the first pass and shoot," said Rehrmann. "When you move the ball four or five times, you're going to get some good shots."
The Patriots workedthe ball inside better in Tuesday's 42-41 victory over Seton Keough.Although guard Amy Dean led the Patriots with 11 points, centers Lisa Melewski and Amanda Sappington and forward Carrie Stevenson combined for 13 points.
Sappington's free throw late in the fourth quarter sealed the Patriots' first win over Seton Keough in as long as anyone could remember.
"That win meant a lot to us," said Patriots' guard Krystin Porcella. "When I think about basketball, I think about Seton Keough and St. Mary's. To beat them was just incredible."
Against Aberdeen, the Patriots (3-3 overall, 2-2 league) started workingthe ball inside in the third quarter. Even though they didn't alwayssucceed, their quick passing also set up opportunities for the perimeter shots that have become the Patriots' offensive trademark.
Dean and Porcella led the Patriots with 14 points each, primarily on short jump shots. Point guard Jenny Lund had five assists.
"We just have to look for the open man," said Dean, who also had seven rebounds, three steals and two assists. "Sometimes our guards are tentative passing, because they're all used to shooting and taking responsibility."
Although their offensive patience helped the Patriots take control in the third quarter, they also got a boost from their defense. Switching between zone and man-to-man with a variety of presses, the Patriots forced a lot of Aberdeen mistakes.
"They did a good job mixing defenses, and with a young ball club like we have, it confuses them," said Aberdeen coach George Connolly. The Eagles (1-3, 0-0) turned the ball over 27 times.
Aberdeen started off keeping pace withthe Patriots. Siobhan Kelly grabbed a rebound and scored off the follow to tie the game at 8-8 with 38 seconds left in the first quarter.Porcella, who also had five steals and three assists, hit a layup with one second left for a 10-8 Patriots lead.
Porcella also gave John Carroll a 12-8 lead early in the second quarter on a short jumper.Aberdeen tied the game on back-to-back buckets by Kelly and Deanna Johnson.
But the Eagles turned the ball over four times in the final two minutes of the half. The Patriots took advantage, scoring six unanswered points to lead, 18-12, at halftime.
The Patriots hit their first three baskets for a 24-14 lead in the first minute of the third quarter. Aberdeen pulled within 26-20 on Stephanie Hook's jumper,but that was as close as the Eagles would get. John Carroll outscored them, 10-2, in the final 2 1/2 minutes of the quarter.
"They were a good pressure team. We just sort of fell apart under the pressure," said Kelly, who led the Eagles with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Connolly is stressing fundamentals with an Eagles team which has no seniors.
"At times, I see improvement and at times, I see them reverting back to their old habits," said Connolly.
Earlier in the week, the Eagles beat Rising Sun, 38-21, for their first victory of the season. Rising Sun, however, did not apply any pressure against the Eagles.
"It's gonna take time. It might even take a couple of years, but we're going to try to do as well as we can. We're just looking for improvement," said Connolly, the Aberdeen athletic director who is in his first season as the Eagles' girls coach.
And patience pays off as Patriots win two