BRISTOL - At halftime of the St. Paul girls basketball teamâ€™s win over Ansonia on Tuesday night, the Falcons held a 30-17 lead and no one on the team had more than seven points.
Nine different players scored for St. Paul in the first half and a 10th player found the basket in the second half as the Falcons improved to 2-0 this season behind a strong display of depth early in the year.
Scoring opportunities were plentiful for St. Paul as everyone got a piece against the less-skilled Chargers. The Falcons forced turnovers consistently and turned them into fast-break points more often than not, which is precisely how head coach Joe Mone wants his team to play.
â€śYou go 10 deep and everybody can get out and run and fill lanes, youâ€™re going to wear the other team out,â€ť Mone said. â€śThereâ€™s not a lot of teams that are going to go 10 deep and if they have to play their best players for 30 minutes at that pace, thereâ€™s not a lot of kids that are going to last. If we can do that, weâ€™ll wear teams out and even in the good close games, weâ€™ll probably have a good shot in the fourth quarter.â€ť
Of St. Paulâ€™s 10 scorers, seven of them finished with at least two made field goals with decently-open layups being available for most of the game. Junior Nadia Riemerâ€™s 13 points led the team in scoring, but she was closely followed by senior Emily Ronalter (12) and sophomore Olivia Dahn (nine).
Riemer lacked her usual consistent scoring in this game, but still finished as her teamâ€™s leading scorer on a night when they didnâ€™t need her at her best to win by 23 points. If most of the Falconsâ€™ lineup can continue to get better and score with some regularity, having Riemer surrounded with that many weapons will only make her more dangerous as the team improves.
â€śIt was an off night for her, usually she hits those threes and scores those baskets,â€ť Mone said. â€śEven if it's a zone [defense], she should try to attack more in those situations. She probably couldâ€™ve gotten some drives and some fouls and gotten to the [foul] line a little bit.â€ť
Riemer scored nine points in the third quarter, which was when St. Paul widened its lead over Ansonia to 25 points. The Chargers scored five points in the period as the Falconsâ€™ defense was locked and generating transition-scoring chances and easy baskets. A well-conditioned team, they are looking to run up and down the floor as often as possible.
â€śWe just want to play really good defense,â€ť Mone said. â€śI told them after the game if we play really good defense, we may never have to run an offense. We can get out in transition and get a lot of easy shots and some drives to the hoop.â€ť
Mone is looking to see everyone on his team make consistent improvements throughout the season and with so many capable players in his lineup, he has the benefit of mixing a variety of different players to optimize his playersâ€™ performance.
Less worried about the early portion of the journey, his main concern is that his team is prepared down the road when the games become more important at the end of the year.
â€śI want us to be a really good pressure defensive team and then be able to come out and fill lanes,â€ť Mone said. â€śWith the amount of kids we have and the skills we have, that would be our best bet. Halfcourt [offense] is sometimes a little choppy-looking, so thatâ€™s where I want to be. Weâ€™re partially there, but I just want to be really good in February and March, thatâ€™s when you want to be at your best. Weâ€™re going to work until we get to that and hopefully we do get to that.â€ť
Matt Hornick can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org.