St. Mary's races out to lead in rout of Chandler

St. Mary's races out to lead in rout of Chandler

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St. Mary's races out to lead in rout of Chandler

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As they gear up for February and playoff basketball, Phoenix St.Mary’s puts a big emphasis on effective starts to its games.

It showed on Friday night as St.Mary’s raced out to a 24-5 second-quarter lead and then maintained that margin the rest of the way to secure a 51-28 victory against Chandler.

“We want to start fast and play for February,” St.Mary’s coach Curtis Ekmark said after watching his team improve to 11-1. “We want to get off to a lead and work on fundamentals.”

The good start was accomplished by St.Mary’s aggressive offense and defense.

When they had the ball, guards Danielle Williams and Chloe Johnson penetrated the lane for easy baskets as each contributed eight points during the opening outburst. Meanwhile, St. Mary’s forward Chantel Osahor drained two 3-pointers as Chandler tried to clog the post to prevent drives.

Defensively, St.Mary’s pressed and created turnovers, feeding the early offense. Chandler beat the press on occasion, led by speedy guard Jesse Ossian, but St.Mary’s used its length and athleticism to cover up its mistakes, blocking several shots after Chandler appeared to break the press.

Perhaps most importantly, the pressing style got Chandler (7-6) to play at the fast pace at which St.Mary’s looked comfortable.

For Ekmark, pressing and playing an up-and-down game presented another positive for St.Mary’s.

“We want to press to work on our fitness,” Ekmark said. “We’ll press in January because it’s more effective than windsprints.”

Johnson led St.Mary’s with 16 points, while Danielle Williams added 13 and Osahor, Brandee Walton and Megan Looney all had six. Jesse Ossian had nine points for Chandler and Beatriz Martinez chipped in eight.

Ekmark was happy with the outcome of the game.

“I told the team that I don’t care about the scoreboard,” he said. “We just need to get healthy and get in shape, and I thought they did that.”

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St. Mary's races out to lead in rout of Chandler
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