The Madeira defense tries to deny SSSA's Bradyn Griffin in the post. Griffin had 19 points and 13 boards, but it wasn't enough for the Saints.

In a battle of promising young teams, Snails over Saints, 45-42

In a battle of very young, up-and-coming ISL teams early Friday evening, Madeira pulled off a nice win on the road at Stephen’s & St. Agnes. Trailing the vast majority of the game, the Snails got 17 fourth quarter points to get a comeback win over the Saints, 45-42.

Madeira scored the first bucket of the game, but didn’t lead again until under three minutes left in the fourth quarter, when point guard Amara Eley found fellow junior McKenzie Friedrichs open for a three. It was the only shot Friedrichs took all game, and it put the Snails up 40-38.

Still more heroics were needed. The Saints battled back to regain the lead, 42-40 with under a minute left. That’s when Eley stepped up for her team. She had been good in the fourth quarter, dishing out assists and attacking the hoop to get to the line, but was only three of eight from the charity stripe to that point.

Madeira’s Amara Eley (10 points, six rebounds, five assists) drives past Saints sophomore Chumani Chamberlain.

That didn’t matter in the clutch. After forcing a foul she calmly drilled two free throws with 48.4 seconds left to tie things up. Then, after a Saints miss and a bucket by Madeira junior Annie Newton, the Saints threw the ball away. Eley was then fouled again and hit one of two free throws. The Saints could not get a good look at a final shot and the victory was sealed.

It was an impressive victory for Madeira (1-0, 2-4), which has languished in relative basketball obscurity for a while. That all might be changing under second-year Head Coach and third-year Athletic Director Katie LaRue.

“We’re playing a little tougher competition than we’ve been used to,” LaRue said. “The girls worked hard over the break and we had a great last practice. We’re gaining confidence and leadership and slowly evolving into a team that knows what it needs to do to win. I’m excited to get a good win over a team we split with last year.”

Neither team shot the ball particularly well. That made Newton’s performance stand out for the victors. The guard was six of eight from the field on her way to a team-high 14 points. She was joined in double figures by Eley (10 points) and 6’1″ sophomore Cayla Williams (10 points, 12 rebounds). Williams showed her versatility throughout the contest, both handling the ball as a lengthy point guard and also establishing herself in the post.

The Madeira duo of Annie Newton (left, 14 points) and Cayla Williams (10 points, 12 rebounds) stood out.

Despite the loss the future seems bright for Saint Stephen’s & St. Agnes (0-1, 2-5) as well, which will no doubt figure out how better to close out games with more experience. The Saints only have one senior and one junior on the roster. Sophomore forward Bradyn Griffin turned in a nice performance with 19 points and 13 rebounds–she appears to be a possible star-in-the-making for Calvin Crenshaw’s team.

On this night the future was now for the Snails, not the Saints, however. LaRue talks about building a culture that will ultimately lead to her team advancing to the top division in the ISL and seeing more long-term success.

“I like the direction we’re moving in,” she told us. “Girls are putting in the work and we’re doing things like having a team breakfast the day of games. We’re slowly learning what it takes to win.”

–Chris Jollay

all stats are unofficial

HOLLAND 4-17 0-2 9 7 5
GRIFFIN 6-19 7-10 19 13 1
CHAMBERLAIN 1-13 5-6 7 7 0
ZAYAS 3-7 0-0 7 2 0
BRADLEY 0-0 0-0 0 5 3
Pascal 0-1 0-0 0 1 1
Bucceri 0-0 0-0 0 1 0
Duncan 0-6 0-0 0 2 0
TOTALS 14-63 12-18 42 38 10
Threes: Zayas 1-2, Holland 1-7, Duncan 0-3, Griffin 0-3, Chamberlain 0-1
KIARA 0-6 2-4 2 7 2
WILLIAMS 3-10 2-2 10 12 1
ELEY 2-9 6-12 10 6 5
GROHOWSKI 2-6 0-1 4 0 2
NEWTON 6-9 1-2 14 8 1
Friedrichs 1-1 0-0 3 2 1
Miles 0-4 2-4 2 3 0
TOTALS 14-45 13-25 45 38 12
Threes: Williams 2-5, Friedrichs 1-1, Newton 1-3, Kiara 0-1