LAGRANGE — Elyria Catholic had a short answer for how it would respond to having to play without its leading rebounder and second leading scorer Saturday night.
No Karissa, no problem.
Senior Brittney McNamara and freshman Riley Schill each scored 15 points as the Panthers overcame the loss of Karissa McGrath, who missed the game due to illness, to defeat Keystone 51-28 in a non-conference game.
Schill set the tone early, scoring the game’s first eight points and assisting on the next two baskets by Becky Horvath as Elyria Catholic (9-2) took an early 15-2 lead. The only people on the court who could stop Schill, who was
7-for-8 shooting, were the men with the whistles. Schill had to sit out extended periods of time after picking up her third foul midway through the second quarter and her fourth in the third quarter.
“We wanted to dominate the first quarter so I just came out and took over to get the team ahead so then we could relax a little,” Schill said. “Although I helped the team early in the game I didn’t do my teammates any favors getting four fouls — that’s something I know I have to work on.”
In the second half, McNamara showed why she is considered by many to be one of the best players in the area, scoring 12 of her 15 points and dashing any hopes the Wildcats had of a comeback.
McNamara, a 5-foot-8 senior guard, had three more 3-pointers Saturday to bring her season total to 34.
“We missed Karissa on the defensive end because she is one of our tallest girls and she pretty much gets all of our rebounds, but we have a lot of girls who can score,” McNamara said. “We love Karissa and we want to see her back out on the court, but we knew we could win this game tonight without her.”
McNamara, who leads Elyria Catholic with 14.8 points per game, said Schill’s big first quarter helped her overcome the persistent face-guarding from the Keystone defense.
“She took a lot of the pressure off me, but I don’t want to put her in a situation where all of the pressure in on her because she isn’t as experienced yet,” McNamara said.
After Keystone (3-3) withstood the initial Panthers charge, the Wildcats played even for the second and third quarters before Elyria Catholic went on an 8-2 run to open the fourth quarter and extend the lead.
Juniors Morgan Myers and Darcy Irish led the Wildcats with nine points each.
After graduating its entire starting five from last year’s district runner-up team, Keystone is in rebuilding mode with just one senior, Melissa Knepper, on the roster.
“We didn’t start the game well and the momentum went on the EC side,” Keystone coach Scott Terry said. “We played better for two quarters and it got away from us again at the end. We’re not getting enough quality looks at the basket. On defense we let them see the court and execute their play too much. It’s still a learning process for us.
“We have to stay positive because there are times we play well but there are stretches where we don’t. We still have work to do but we will be a better team by the end of the season.”
Elyria Catholic also got 10 points from Horvath, who led the team in rebounds with nine.
“Every team has to deal with injuries and missing players here and there, but I thought we had things going well out of the chute,” Panthers coach Eric Rothgery said. “We’ve been working on our depth and tonight gave us a chance to see what some different people could do out there.”
Contact Todd Shapiro at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elyria Catholic 51, Keystone 28
ELYRIA CATHOLIC (51): Julia Scarpelli 0-1-1, Josie Carandang 2-0-6, Brittney McNamara 5-2-15, Riley Schill 7-1-15, Shannon Hopkins 0-2-2, Becky Horvath 5-0-10, Erin Herschelman 1-0-2 . Totals 20-6-51.
KEYSTONE (28): Elyssa Baker 2-0-4, Morgan Myers 4-0-9, Darcy Irish 3-3-9, Jilllian Peters 2-0-4, Melissa Knepper 1-0-2. Totals 12-3-28.
Elyria Catholic 15 7 9 20 — 51
Keystone 4 7 9 8 — 28
Three-point goals: (EC) McNamara 3, Carandang 2. (K) Myers. Field goals: (EC) 20-of-41 (49 percent); (K) 12-of-32 (40 percent). Free throws: (EC) 6-of-9 (66 percent); (K) 3-of-7 (43 percent). Rebounds: Elyria Catholic 19; Keystone 21. Turnovers: Elyria Catholic 11; Keystone 19.
Junior varsity: Elyria Catholic, 21-15.