On Friday night, the girls’ basketball team secured an easy victory versus the Hillsdale Knights, winning the game 38-26. This big victory came on M-A’s senior night.
Coming out of the gate, both teams played stout defense. Dominant play around the rim by sophomore Lita Fakapelea and a couple of blocked shots by senior Fiona Steinmetz forced the Knights to only look for tough, outside shots throughout the first quarter.
While the Bears’ offense started slow, Fakapelea ignited the scoring with a three-pointer from the top of the key midway through the quarter. On the next possession, Steinmetz finished a physical post move, giving M-A control of the momentum. Sophomore Molly Gray ended the quarter with a beautiful drive to the hoop, giving the Bears a 10-4 lead.
M-A carried this offensive momentum into the second quarter when they blew the game open. Sophomore Luisa Tava opened the quarter by draining a deep three. The Bears found consistent success by feeding the ball inside to Steinmetz and Fakapelea, who used their height advantage to finish the ball under the basket. “In the second quarter our offense did a really good job of taking advantage of weak spots in their defense,” said Gray. The quarter ended with the Bears up 26-11.
After a quick half-time pep talk, the Knights came back fighting. With the Bears’ offense struggling and a couple of successful threes and drives to the basket by the Knights, Hillsdale was a mere five points away from M-A. Steinmetz responded with the Bears’ first points of the quarter after converting two free throws, ending the third quarter with the Bears up 28-21.
The beginning of the fourth quarter started slow, with both teams’ offense shut down. Once Hillsdale scored the first point of the last quarter, the Bears flipped a switch. Gray hit a deep three to score M-A’s first points of the quarter, and from there, the game was practically over.
Tava brought the Bears’ energy up by scoring a three and immediately blocking a Hillsdale shot the next play. Fakapelea followed up with another block of her own before junior Elizabeth Hoffman drove to the basket, making the score 36-22. The game ended with a final block by Steinmetz and a rebound by senior Janiya Moss. The final score was 38-22.
Senior Taylor Spackman reflected on the game by saying, “We were all super motivated to win after the rest of the team surprised us with cute photos and letters; we wanted to win for ourselves but also for our other amazing teammates.” Gray added, “I think this win gives us really good momentum going into the playoffs. We are starting to play well at the perfect time.”
The team will play the Carlmont Scots tomorrow at 6 p.m. to try and get closer to winning league play.