Ursuline Academy coach John Noonan termed Monday night’s basketball matchup with Sussex Central a “sandwich game,” tucked between Saturday’s loss to tough St. John’s College High School (D.C.) and Thursday’s Catholic opener against Padua.
The No. 2 Raiders had no difficulty gobbling up a 66-46 victory over the Golden Knights. But for an Ursuline team without much size or experience, style points are important, too.
In that regard, the evening was a complete success, which became apparent rather quickly.
“I was expecting them to come out flat, tired, sore,” Noonan said, considering the hard-fought 61-55 loss Saturday to last year’s 31-1 D.C. champions. “They didn’t. We want to be aggressive offensively. Everybody knows we want to shoot 3s. We’re small. Long shots. Long rebounds.
“And you better be in shape,” Noonan added, “because we’re going to push.”
Midway through the second quarter, Ursuline’s lead was 32-4. While that type of domination may not be reflected in the final score, it was certainly evidence of a team that opponents won’t relish facing this winter.
“I think we ran our offense well,” said Adrianna Hahn, Ursuline’s junior combo guard. “The game in D.C. kind of showed us where we were. There was a lot of pressure, and we knew we had to take better care of the ball. We’re short so boxing out, getting the rebound, then pushing the ball is big for us. We’re really athletic and we have a quick step on defense.”
Ursuline’s hustle led to a torrent of offensive rebounds and Sussex Central turnovers that fueled the fast start.
Hahn’s 22 points included six 3-pointers, an indication why she has already chosen Villanova – where coach Harry Perretta runs an offense emphasizing 3-point shots – as her collegiate destination after first eyeing a bevy of big-time programs such as Boston College, Georgia Tech, North Carolina State, Florida, Michigan and Michigan State, as well as Delaware.
“With Villanova, my main thing was staying close to home,” said Hahn, who also wanted to play with close friend and AAU teammate Alex Louin, a 6-foot senior guard at Mount St. Joseph’s who has signed with the Wildcats.
Kailyn Kampert added 10 points for Ursuline (2-1).
“If we make shots,” Noonan said, “we’re going to be almost impossible to beat.”
Jasmine Hudson scored 20 of her 23 points in the second half for Sussex Central (2-1).
“We don’t play that level of basketball in the south,” Sussex Central coach Ron Dukes said. “The coaches down there will hate me for saying it, but it’s the truth. For the girls, especially a young group like ours – I don’t have any seniors – it’s intimidating. You get a little frustrated when things don’t go your, way and I thought that’s what it was in the first half.”
But the experience, Dukes added, will make the Golden Knights better.
“We’ll learn from this,” he said. “We’ve got a tough schedule ahead of us because we play St. E, St. Mark’s. This will help us when those teams come down.”