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Don KetchumStaff Writer, AIA365.com email@example.com
St. Mary's girls tough even when not at full strengthJan 9, 2013
For a basketball team that wasn’t at full strength or in full condition, at least according to its coach, the girls from Phoenix St. Mary’s had a way of getting the job done on Wednesday night (Jan. 9).
The defending national champion and two-time defending state champion Lady Knights used a big second quarter and pulled away from Catholic rival Phoenix Xavier Prep for a 72-37 victory at St. Mary’s. St. Mary’s outscored the Gators 25-13 during the second.
Before the game, St. Mary’s coach Curtis Ekmark said that the game would begin with two of his starters nursing injuries – post Chantel Osahor (bruised knee) and his daughter, guard Courtney Ekmark (twisted ankle).
Osahor wasn’t in uniform, but Courtney Ekmark was. She convinced her father she was good enough to play, so he allowed her to be on the floor for the middle two quarters.
All she did was score a game-high 28 points, including three 3-pointers. The rest of the team made up for the absence of Osahor with balanced scoring and tough defense.
St. Mary’s (13-1) likes to press and did so against Xavier, making it difficult for the Gators (12-5) to do much of anything. Forward Katie Werner led the Gators as she has all season, scoring 18 points before fouling out with about five minutes left in the game.
Even though the Lady Knights put the pressure on, they are still not in the best of shape, according to Curtis Ekmark.
“We’re starting to get our fitness back. That’s a good sign,’’ he said. “We want to have good fitness and be ready by the state tournament (in February). When we’re in shape, we can be difficult to beat.’’
The team’s fitness is being tested this week. The schedule includes Chandler Hamilton, Xavier, Phoenix Central and Phoenix North.
Guard Danielle Williams helped the St. Mary’s cause with 15 points, and guard Chloe Johnson had 13, including a pair of 3-pointers.