BANGOR — At halftime, John Bapst girls basketball coach Mike Webb drilled into his troops that they were committing too many unforced turnovers on the offensive end.
Webb’s club listened and went on quite a crusade in the second half of Tuesday’s Big East showdown with Mount Desert Island.
The Crusaders exhibited great offensive patience and went on a 16-0 run fueled by Samantha Gormley and Morgan Chasse to pull away for a 60-39 victory at the Bangor Auditorium.
Bapst, which improved to 11-1, established a 21-8 lead midway through the second quarter thanks to a 9-0 run to start the period, but the Trojans took advantage of multiple Crusader mistakes to climb back to within six at halftime.
“We weren’t patient with the basketball. We had four or five unforced turnovers which let them back into the game,” Webb said.
MDI (8-2), which suffered its first loss since an opening-night setback to John Bapst, finally caught the Crusaders early in the third thanks to back-to-back 3-pointers from Sara Carroll.
After a Morgan Chasse lay-in, Megan Phelps converted on a putback to retie the game at 29 with 5:37 left in the third.
But the Crusaders executed their disciplined half-court offense precisely after that, with Chasse and Gormley combining for 14 of Bapst’s next 16 points while their defense put the clamps down on the smaller Trojans, holding them to two field goals over the last quarter and a half.
“[Coach] told us we need to not force those long passes. We made a little bit of errors, but we picked it up,” said Gormley, who scored 13 of her game-high 22 points in the second half and grabbed nine rebounds.
Chasse connected for 12 second-half points and finished with 18 altogether.
Bapst held a 10-point cushion to start the fourth and Chasse dropped four straight free throws and Gormley scored on a nice inside feed from Chasse along the low block and a putback to give the Crusaders a 47-31 lead with 5:20 left.
MDI got no closer than 12 after that.
Coach Brent Barker’s Trojans had a tough time solving the Crusaders’ disciplined offense as the game wore on, and the 6-foot-1 inch Gormley posed multiple matchup problems down low.
“They’re a very smart basketball team, well coached, and [Webb’s] known to be deliberate offensively so they’re able to pull it out,” said Barker. “We weren’t able to get some double-teams and easy steals because they take care of the basketball very well.”
The quickness of Crusader guards Kirsty Moriarty, Hillary Keith and Chasse and forward Sam Maquillan makes for a tough one-on-one defensive matchup for any club, and that showed as Gormley fed off their play off the dribble and was able to get multiple wide-open looks.
“That leaves Gormley not being able to be double-teamed and it frees her up [so] hopefully we can beat the defense off the dribble,” Webb said.
Maquillan was a force defensively for Bapst in the interior, holding MDI sophomore Megan Phelps to 10 points on 3-for-9 shooting.
Once the Crusaders were able to establish a lead, it was the younger Trojans who were panicking and making unforced errors.
”These kids still show heart. We’re still trying to learn the identity [of] how to manage games and play tournament-caliber basketball,” said Barker.
Coming off a tough home loss to Central of Corinth on Saturday in which the Crusaders struggled at the free-throw line, they were eager to put that on the back burner and start a new win streak.
“Yeah, we were all defeated about that, so coming out here and just doing our thing was really what we needed,” Gormley said.
Carroll was the only other MDI player in double figures with 15 points, including 3 of 6 from the perimeter, while Anna Joy contributed nine points.