Bishop Blanchet forward Jadyn Bush scored 25 points to lead the Braves over Juanita 58-51 in the season-opener.
“Jadyn’s the rock, and we know we can go to her in a lot of situations,” said Bishop Blanchet head coach Greg Bruns.
Bush, who also grabbed 11 rebounds and had one block, had some help at the post from her younger sister Jillese, who had six rebounds and picked up seven points in the fourth quarter, mostly off free throws.
Braves guard Taylor Chambers had 11 points and six assists.
Juanita didn’t have an answer for Blanchet’s inside game. With young posts and a smaller squad, the Rebels relied heavily on guards Tea Adams and Shalexxus Aaron. Adams came out strong, scoring Juanita’s first seven points and posting 22 overall. Aaron scored 18.
“I think our biggest defensive goal tonight was to stop Tea and Shalexxus,” Bush said. “They’re really good players, and I think all of us contributed something in defense and ended up stopping the team together.”
Bruns said the team had a goal to not allow the duo to score more than 15 points, which Blanchet struggled to accomplish in its zone defense. The Braves switched to man-to-man, putting guard Lee Erickson on Aaron.
“That’s what changed things in this game is that they could play man, because they have played a lot of zone historically,” Bruns said.
After state tournament runs last year, both programs are headed up by new coaches this season. Salvo Coppa is the new head coach at Juanita after spending a year at Mount Rainier. Bruns, who coached the last six years at Skyline, took over at Bishop Blanchet.
Bruns hopes to bring a defensive mindset to the Braves, which fans saw a small taste of tonight.
“That’s what I lived at Skyline,” Bruns said. “We were known for being one of the tougher defensive teams, so my goal this year is to be the top defensive team in Metro.”
Although Bishop Blanchet is young – four of its starters are underclassmen – it’s talented and experienced. The Braves lost just one player from last year’s third place state tournament team, and that has brought confidence.
Coppa said he was proud of how his team played, and it was a learning experience for his young team, especially on defense in the post.
“It’s a new group, a new coach, and we are just a work in progress,” Coppa said.
Juanita opens its season with a tough three matches. After Blanchet, the Rebels will travel Thursday to Inglemoor, which took second in state last season. Then Juanita opens league play against highly anticipated Bellevue.
Bishop Blanchet will travel to Chief Sealth for its first league match Friday.