LENOX — Lenox girls basketball coach Mike Nykorchuck feels that his team is over the moral victory part of their season and into the win-now portion of it.
Mission accomplished on Thursday.
The Millionaires picked up their second win of the season with a 62-28 drubbing of St. Joseph at home, and after the game Nykorchuck touched on his team's improvement throughout the course of the season.
"We felt good [at the beginning of the season] because we were in games and playing really well," Nykorchuck said. "Now we want to turn that corner. Instead of competing, we want to win. We aren't playing for any moral victories anymore. We have goals — we want to make the tournament. Nights like tonight, you have to come in and take care of business."
The Millionaires (2-8) took care of business right from the jump. Utilizing a press that St. Joseph (3-4) couldn't manage to break, Lenox raced out to a 20-0 lead less than five minutes into the game on a finish by Jackie Hathaway (game-high 19 points).
"We've been working hard on the press, and we figured out that's who we are, that's when we play our best," Nykorchuck said. "They executed. Our best games have been games where we pressed a majority of the game, and now we are looking to press the whole game."
St. Joseph mustered just four points in the opening quarter and trailed 26-4 after eight minutes. In the second, St. Joseph outscored Lenox 9-7, but the Crusaders still trailed 33-13 going into halftime.
"I was amazed. They pounded us with their press," St. Joseph coach Pete Ellsworth said. "Their press was very strong, and they are quick."
Out of the break. St. Joseph was handed a terrible blow as star Ilyssa Creamer (6 points) went down with an apparent leg injury. Creamer had to have her right ankle area put in a cast before she was moved from the floor, and the senior left the gym in a wheelchair.
"They were shocked at first when she left," Ellsworth said of his team's reaction to the injury. "At least the effort was there. They didn't quit after she was hurt — I know they were trying like heck. I thought they stayed together pretty good under that circumstance."
Lenox extended its lead to 47-21 after three, and in the fourth the Millionaires pushed the lead out even further while rotating through the bench unit.
Hathaway finished with a double double, adding 12 rebounds to her points tally. Alice Najimy had 13 points and five rebounds in the win, Rose Pelhert recorded her first double-figure game of the season with 10 points, and Nicole Gamberoni chipped in with four points and five assists. In total, nine Lenox players scored in the game.
For St. Joseph, Creamer added two assists in her limited minutes. Liz Bean finished with seven points and a game-high 16 rebounds, and Kacey Sondrini had two points and three steals.
Lenox is back in action on Monday against Mount Greylock. St. Joseph plays next on Tuesday against Lee.
ST. JOSEPH (28)
Creamer 2-1-6, Hamilton 1-0-3, Sondrini 1-0-2, Gomez 1-2-4, C. Bean 2-2-6, L. Bean 3-1-7, Wiles 0-0-0, Wang 0-0-0, Wu 0-0-0, Ling 0-0-0, Ning 0-0-0. Totals 10-6-28.
Brown 3-0-6, Parkinson 2-0-4, Najimy 5-0-13, Hathaway 7-3-19, Gamberoni 2-0-4, Alward 1-0-2, R. Pelhert 5-0-10, Sibley 2-0-4, J. Pelhert 0-0-0, Herrick 0-0-0, LaChance 0-0-0, Schiff 0-0-0. Totals 27-3-62.
3-point goals: SJ (Creamer, Hamilton), L (Najimy 3, Hathaway 2).