Thanks to a strong freshman class and the return of a senior who hadn't played for two years, the Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic girls' basketball program remains solid.
When graduation took a heavy toll on the Lady Marauders last season, many folks figured the team might struggle this season. Not so.
The Lady Marauders scored at will Thursday en route to a 75-37 Laurel Highlands Athletic Conference Section 1 romp over Cambria Heights at the Pleasant Valley gym.
Freshmen guards Lili Benzel and Macy Adams combined for 17 first-quarter points as BG (6-1, 2-0 LHAC) bolted to a 28-11 lead and never looked back. It was 50-23 at the half and 64-31 after three quarters. The running clock kicked in with 5:26 remaining on a Marina Scipioni 3-pointer that made it 75-33.
Benzel finished with 19 points, while senior post player Annie Dombrowski contributed 16. Macy Adams netted 12 and sophomore Scipioni added 10.
"We talked before the game started and said we needed to finish," BG coach Mark Moschella said. "I thought we did a real good job with that and we did a real good job with assists. We were really unselfish tonight and that's why our scoring was so balanced."
Benzel and Adams have been the Marauders' top point producers in most games.
"It's a long season," Moschella said, "and from the first game, when they were really nervous, I feel they're coming into their own and starting to get a feel for the difference in the game. They're working on making good decisions on the floor because they don't have a lot of experience."
Dombrowski played junior high as a ninth grader and then stepped away from the game for a couple years while concentrating on volleyball where she earned all-state honors.
"She's got a great attitude," Moschella said of Dombrowski. "She fits in really well with the team and I notice things like how she interacts with the freshmen and makes them feel like they're just not the newcomers. Annie shows great leadership."
Dombrowski is enjoying herself, too.
"I missed it," she said of basketball. "I'm a senior and I wanted to play again. The girls are wonderful and they've welcomed me back. I think I help them connect and they teach me things, so it works."
Dombrowski thinks her volleyball experience has helped, too.
"I've gone through a lot with volleyball and have gone far in a lot of games," she said, "so I know what it feels like to play under pressure. I think it calms down our young team a little when they have to settle down and make smart plays.
"We've started off well and have a big stretch coming up," she noted. "We'll have three and four games a week because of cancellations and teams are getting tougher.
"After Blairsville [BG's only loss], we learned you've got to handle the ball or face defeat."
Despite the loss, Cambria Heights (5-6, 0-3 LHAC) got a big performance from Kara Cordell, who scored 17 of the Highlanders' 37 points.
CAMBRIA HEIGHTS (37): E. Cordell 1 2-2 4, K. Cordell 7 0-0 17, Miller 1 0-0 2, Forsythe 0 0-0 0, Lightcap 2 1-2 6, Westrick 0 0-0 0, Kozorosky 2 0-0 4, Link 1 0-0 2, Gray 0 0-0 0, Brawley 1 0-0 2. Totals - 15 3-4 37.
BISHOP GUILFOYLE (75): Benzel 8 0-0 19, M. Adams 4 2-2 12, Dombrowski 6 4-4 16, McGhee 2 1-1 5, E. Adams 3 0-0 6, Irvin 1 0-4 2, Taddei 1 0-0 2, Scipioni 4 0-0 10, Ruggery 0 0-0 0, Spencer 0 0-0 0, Miller 1 0-0 3, DeLeo 0 0-0 0, Yanoshak 0 0-0 0, Mellott 0 0-0 0. Totals - 30 7-11 75.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Cambria Heights11 12 8 6 - 37
Bishop Guilfoyle28 22 14 11 - 75
3-point goals: Cambria Heights 4 (K. Cordell 3, Lightcap); Bishop Guilfoyle 8 (Benzel 3, M. Adams 2, Scipioni 2, Miller).
Officials: Jim Klausman, Keith Redfoot, Jim Cushion.
Records: Cambria Heights (0-3 LHAC Section 1, 5-6 overall); Bishop Guilfoyle (2-0, 7-1).
JV: Bishop Guilfoyle, 51-24. High scorers-Lewis and Scipioni, BG, 12 each.