Poly cracks down on No. 11 Mount de Sales’ long-range game for victory at Holly & Hoops

by Nelson Coffin

In its opening game in the Holly & Hoops Tournament Thursday, No. 11 Mount de Sales put on a three-point shooting clinic while drillingninth-ranked Western.

Poly, however, wasn’t having any of that business when it met the Sailors in the final game of the longtime two-day girls’ basketball holiday event at Notre Dame Prep Friday evening.

Poly senior forward Gianni Jones contributed 12 points and was a force in the paint after coming off the bench in the fourth-ranked Engineers’ 53-47 victory over No. 11 Mount de Sales at the Holly & Hoops Tournament Friday evening at Notre Dame Prep.

Playing a swarming man-to-man defense, the fourth-ranked Engineers clamped down on the IAAM B Conference team’s ability to drive-and-kick while getting just enough offense of their own to emerge with a hard-fought 53-47 victory.

“We had to stop them from cutting across the lane,” said Poly senior Gianni Jones, who came off the bench to match junior guard Cache’ Wilson for team scoring honors with 12 points.

Jones said that the Engineers (8-1 overall) discussed what Mount de Sales had done to a Western squad (75-47 win Thursday) that gave them a battle before falling, 68-61, last week.

“We talked about (the Mount de Sales-Western game), but we knew that Western isn’t the same as us,” said Jones, who scored 13 points on Thursday in a 73-28 rout of Perry Hall. “We’re not the same.”

The Sailors (10-3) started strong, grabbing an early 10-4 advantage on a layup by senior point guard Abby Kuhn and still led, 12-6, on a pair of free throws by senior forward Kristen Zanarski before the Engineers went on a 21-4 run that gave them a 27-16 halftime lead.

Jones’ play in the paint was critical in the third quarter when senior wing Rachel Krug and Kuhn were starting to find the range from beyond the arc.

Poly coach Kendall Peace-Able said that the reason Jones has earned more quality playing time is simple.

“She’s in better shape,” the coach said.

Although Krug nailed three three-pointers and Kuhn one during that span, Jones’ post play netted eight points to help the Engineers stay in front, albeit by a smaller 37-33 cushion, heading into the final frame.

Poly then opened the fourth period with a couple of layups by junior Taijah Ridgeway and one by her senior backcourt mate Brashae Rice before junior forward Dasia Townes’ stick-back bloated the margin to 46-33.

“We got recharged,” Peace-Able said. “We hustled.”

The Sailors did a good job or rallying from that point, beginning with a Zaranski three-ball, to keep the pressure on and take a big chunk out of the deficit.

They might have even made it more of a game with better free-throw accuracy.

“It could have been some physical and mental fatigue,” Mount de Sales coach Trish Armstrong said about her team taking on a pair of Baltimore City powers on back-to-back nights. “We usually shoot a lot better from the line.”

The Sailors converted just 10-of-21 tries from the charity stripe.

“And the thing is, we would have had to play nearly a perfect game to beat them,” Armstrong conceded. “They’re a really good team. Rachel hit some clutch threes for us, but we just couldn’t get over the hump.”

Pictured above: Poly senior forward Gianni Jones guards Mount de Sales senior point guard Abby Kuhn on Friday night at the Holly & Hoops Tournament on Friday night.

Holly & Hoops Tournament
at Notre Dame Prep
No. 4 Poly 53, No. 11 Mount de Sales Academy 47
Poly – Cache’ Wilson 12, Gianni Jones 12, Daisa Townes 11, Brashae Rice 10, Taijah Ridgeway 5, Janya Lilly 4.
Mount de Sales – Kristen Zaranski 13, Abby Kuhn 13, Rachel Krug 11, Maura Devine 5, Megan Matsko 4, Sloane Skalstad 1.
Poly 15 7 10 16 — 53
Mount de Sales 12 4 17 14 — 47

Notre Dame Prep 43, Perry Hall 39
Notre Dame Prep – Anna Melchionni 9, Liza Regan 8. Addie Fischer 4, Ellie DeFries 12, Abby Rudolph 7, Sydney Britt 1, Alex Fava 2.
Perry Hall — Kara Dietrich 17, Chelsea Masseaux 6, Brenna Ellenberger 6, Lili Hines 4, Casey Bender 4, Mary Tolentino 2.
Perry Hall 4 8 16 11 — 39
Notre Dame Prep — 10 11 12 10 — 43

Other scores

No. 9 Western 60, Mount Hebron 41

No. 19 Francis Scott Key 52, Holy Trinity (PA) 33

River Hill 57, Catholic 23