Warren JFK exploded for 20 first quarter points then held off Cardinal the rest of the way in a 60-48 win in the consolation game of the Cardinal Christmas Tournament on Monday. Antonella Lamonica scored a game-high 32 points for JFK.
“We shot ourselves in the foot early,” said Cardinal coach Luke Kruse. “We had some bad turnovers against pressure we should have beat. We were down by 10 after the first quarter but then we played them pretty much even after that.”
Lamonica set the tone early and despite Cardinal’s defensive effort hit shots from all over the court.
“She was hitting step-back 3-pointers and all kinds of crazy shots that you don’t normally expect to have a chance,” Kruse said. “She was phenomenal.”
Despite the loss, which dropped Cardinal to 1-8, Kruse was pleased with his team’s effort.
“We played 32 minutes with heart, which was a step in the right direction for us,” he said. “We came ready to compete and battle. Some silly turnovers against pressure that was quite beatable got us in that hole.”
Jess Koches led the Huskies with 15 points and also pulled down 10 rebounds.
“Jess has been playing really nice basketball for us,” Kruse said. “She’s led the team in points and in the top one or two in rebounds for the last three or four games. She’s playing really good basketball and carrying the team right now. I’m really proud of her and her leadership and effort during this tough stretch of the season for us.”
Fenselon scored eight points with three rebounds.
“Lexy was stepping up and hitting some big shots for us,” Coach Kruse said. “She hit a couple 3-pointers. She’s just so fun to watch out there. There’s always smiling. She never lets anything get her down. She just loves the game of basketball and it’s evident when she has it going like she did tonight that she’s a great leader on the team and kind of sets the tone with her enthusiasm and good basketball.”
Kruse scored eight points and had a team-high 11 rebounds under the basket in place of Kathryn Dhayer, who was out with a hip injury.
“Emily was thrust into action because Kathryn couldn’t go tonight,” Coach Kruse said. “We definitely missed Kathryn a lot but Emily did a nice job stepping up defensively and with her rebounds. It helped us out when we were definitely lacking in the post tonight.”
The Huskies play Grand Valley on Saturday then will spend the next week preparing for rival Berkshire.
“You never want to drop two games in your own tournament but I was happy with the way that we rebounded after not showing as much as I expected from the girls on Saturday night. We at least came out and competed for 32 minutes,” Coach Kruse said. “Hopefully that will get us headed in the right direction as we look for rivalry week with Berkshire coming up soon. We’ve got to make sure we’re firing on all cylinders by Jan. 9 when we face Berkshire.”