Commentary: Lady Marauders pass Serra Catholic’s test

INDIANA – When a team with ambitions of winning a state championship scores four points in the first quarter and less than 20 in the first half of its playoff opener, it’s fair to be concerned.

The Bishop Guilfoyle girls, though, have been down this road before. Many of their PIAA first-round tournament games seem to have followed a similar lackluster theme.

Once the Lady Marauders got on the floor against an opponent that they knew could knock them out, they were back on point. Or maybe they were back on points, like the 21 straight points they scored in less than six minutes against WPIAL runner-up Serra Catholic on Wednesday at Indiana Area High School.

“I really think our team was somewhat frustrated at the shooting performance we had on Saturday,” Guilfoyle coach Mark Moschella said. “They sure made up for it in the first quarter tonight.”

With potential foes like Vincentian and Steelton-Highspire waiting down the road, this 62-50 win was just what the doctor ordered for Guilfoyle to get prepared. Serra even pushed back in the second half, getting within six points, if the Lady Marauders needed any reminders.

“It really was [a good test],” said BG star Halee Adams, who led all scorers with 21 points. “We just play harder when the other team is really good.”

It looked that way. After going nearly three minutes without scoring to start the game, Guilfoyle was a machine, getting good shots most of the game and only turning the ball over 11 times.

“Whenever we play teams that are good competition with us, it really makes us step up our game and helps us play better,” Lady Marauder point guard Kayla Bates said.

Guilfoyle starts five seniors and has eight on the roster, and Moschella said he thought Serra was a genuine threat to end their high school careers. Serra won a state title just a few seasons ago.

“I was really concerned, because they’re a well-coached basketball team, they’re disciplined out on the floor, and they’ve got guards that can put the ball on the floor and handle it. That’s a lot to deal with,” Moschella said. “I thought we did as good a job as we possibly could.”

BG also overcame some foul trouble, another good teaching point since the team rarely goes beyond seven players. It answered the bell.

The big thing, though, was the 21-0 run.

“That really got us pumped up,” Bates said. “We knew we had to come out with a lot of energy. This team is good, and they’re fast, and we knew we had to be up-tempo. That seems to be our game.”

“We hit a shot on the perimeter, and I just think it gets contagious,” Moschella said. “All the players were just feeding off each other early in the game. I’m glad we got that lead, because Serra’s a tough team to defend.”

Bates said the Lady Marauders put the first-round win over Johnsonburg in the past.

“It wasn’t on our mind. We were like, ‘We’ve just got to move on from that game and not think about it, and just play our game,'” Bates said.

Now they can look ahead more confidently.

Cmor can be reached at pcmor@altoona or 946-7440.