Lenox keeps Young quiet, other Wildcats step up in hoop victory
LENOX -- The plan, according to Lenox High School basketball coach Nicole Patella, was the obvious one: Prevent prolific Lee center Stephanie Young from beating her team.
The good news: Young managed only eight points.
The not-so-good news: Several other Lee players stepped up, notably freshman forward Courtney Picard, to help the Wildcats beat the Millionaires 58-52.
"We wanted the other players to beat us and they did," said Patella. "Courtney had a great game."
Picard scored a game- and career-high 19 points, including 13 in the second half.
"Definitely a career high," said Picard. "I was getting good shots and they went in."
They did indeed. Picard made six of 10 shots and seven of eight free throws. She was five-of-six from the line in the fourth quarter.
Lee was also lifted by senior guard Eileen Dooley, who had 12 points, five rebounds and five assists; and Moriah McKenna, who had 10 points and five rebounds.
The Millionaires came out of the blocks on fire, jumping out to a 12-3 lead as Liz Mitts scored six points and Hayden Zinchuk four. Zinchuk was keeping close tabs on Young, who managed only two foul shots in the first half.
It was 14-7 after a quarter, and 26-23, Lenox, at halftime.
"I don't know what it is, it's our M.O. or something,' said Lee coach Gary Wellington. "It seems like we're asleep for the first six minutes of a game, and then we have to catch up."
"I don't think so," said Picard, when asked if the team was concerned about falling behind. "We seem to do it every game."
In the second half, the Wildcats began using a half-court trap, and while Lenox handled it fairly well, the Millionaires started missing shots they had made in the first two quarters.
"It's something we worked on yesterday," said Wellington, "just a little wrinkle to throw them off."
And while Young wasn't burning up the scorebook, she was doing other things to help her team win. Young ended up with a game-high 11 rebounds, as well as four assists, four steals and two blocked shots.
With about three minutes left in the third quarter, Young plucked a rebound off the defensive glass, went the length of the floor, drew the Lenox defense to her, and dished off to Picard for a bucket that gave the visitors a 36-34 that they never relinquished.
Not that Lenox didn't try. A three-point bucket by Young, a basket by Picard and another hoop by Megan Gaul bumped the Lee advantage out to 52-38 with about three minutes left, and the contest seemed over.
But the home side bounced back, as Zinchuk hit a basket and two free throws, Mitts hit a hook shot in the paint and Kathy Prescott drained a free throw.
But time was against the hosts, and they were forced to foul. The Wildcats made their free throws to close out the game down the stretch.
Zinchuk and Mitts led Lenox with 15 points each. Zinchuk had a team-high nine rebounds.