Thursday night’s game did not start too well for the St. Bede girls basketball team.
Just two minutes into the NCIC game against Chillicothe IVC at the Academy, St. Bede junior Raley Mauck dislocated her knee, leaving the Lady Bruins with just eight healthy players.
The eight remaining Lady Bruins responded well, using a balanced offensive attack and stifling defense to top the Lady Grey Ghosts 59-26.
“Aside from Raley going down, it was a pretty good night,” St. Bede coach Tom McGunnigal said. “With Raley being out it dropped us down to eight. It was yeoman work by everybody. Everybody played long, strong minutes. We played smart. We took care of ourselves. I thought we had a lot of good energy. We just played really, really well.”
The Lady Bruins established an inside-outside attack early as senior center Mo Dean scored six points in the first quarter, and the Lady Bruins knocked down three 3-pointers in the first eight minutes as St. Bede built a 17-8 lead.
“Our outside shooting was unbelievable,” Dean said. “Our guards work so hard at practice. We take so many shots day in and day out.
“We definitely get a lot of inside-outside looks. If I can’t get a shot inside, I kick the ball right back out and it’s usually a shot right away, which is always what I’m trying to do because outside shooting is definitely big for us.”
St. Bede drained four more 3-pointers in the second half to build a 35-19 lead, and the Lady Bruins finished the game with eight made 3-pointers — three from Laura Sickley, two from Whitley Funfsinn and one each from Lydia Stariha, Lexie Miranda and Kelsey Thompson.
Dean finished with a game-high 21 points to go along with a game-high 11 rebounds.
“We noticed they sag off on us a little bit,” McGunnigal said. “We got into spots where I thought we could take advantage of how their defense was going to collapse. Obviously, Mo is a big focus. That helps out. When she gets going, it’s going to open up the outside. We were just working offensively. We had nice spacing and good movement.”
Defensively, the Lady Bruins limited IVC to just five points in the third quarter and two in the fourth quarter on 3-of-16 shooting in the final 16 minutes.
“I think everyone’s hustle was there,” Dean said. “Everyone worked really hard. There was a lot of communication and a lot of movement. We really stress (defense) at practice, so it definitely shows on the floor.”
Sickley finished with 11 points, Funfsinn scored 10 points and Miranda added four points, six rebounds and four assists in place of Mauck.
“Lexie Miranda played an unbelievable hustle game,” McGunnigal said. “(She did) stuff that isn’t going to show up in the scorebook, but it’s stuff a coach notices and a coach appreciates — her rebounds, her forcing loose balls, her deflections. It was phenomenal. It was great to see.”
The Lady Bruins are now 14-15 overall and 3-0 in the NCIC with just one regular season game left. St. Bede plays Princeton at 7:30 p.m. Thursday before opening the Class 2A Hall Regional on Feb. 5.
“We had a couple days off since we were up at Byron,” McGunnigal said. “We’ll have about a week off now, but that will be our chance to work on ourselves — maybe change some things, switch some things up, move some things around and make sure we all understand what we need to be doing on the floor.”
Note: The IVC sophomore team beat St. Bede 58-44. Hannah Bima led St. Bede with 12 points, while Brianna Lau added seven.
Kevin Chlum can be reached at 220-6939, or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsEditor.