Bishop Miege girls’ basketball team never trailed, but it sure had to work hard for its 49-45 victory against St. Thomas Aquinas on Thursday evening at Aquinas.
“It feels really good to come to Aquinas and win,” said Bishop Miege junior Hunter Bentley, who finished with 15 points. “It is a hard gym to play in.”
The Saints closed to 40-37 at the start of the fourth quarter on a three-point play by freshman forward Alayna Townsell, who finished with 18 points.
But Miege, which improved to 8-0, relied on what kept them in front for virtually the entire game — its full-court pressure defense.
But Bishop Miege coach Terry English thought Aquinas did a great job of handling the Stags’ press after the first quarter.
“We just got complacent. And we were out of position on the press, and we were chasing a little bit. ... They did a good job of handling the ball, and they got some easy shots,” English said.
“We didn’t shoot too well. With the way we shot overall and step slow on defense, we found a way to win against a pretty good team at their place.”
The Stags created enough turnovers in the fourth quarter to keep the Aquinas from getting closer then the three points, and then a 15-foot jumper by senior guard Shelbe Piggie restored order for the Stags. Piggie’s basket gave Miege a 42-37 lead. Piggie finished the game with 12 points.
A few minutes later, Bentley continued her nearly unstoppable scoring in the paint with a layup that increased the Stags’ lead to 46-39. Bentley was a perfect 7 for 7 in the paint.
“They were going for a lot of shot fakes, so I was getting them in the air and then I drove to the basket and that got me a lot of points on the inside,” Bentley said.
Bishop Miege needed two field goals in the final minute of the first half from Piggie and freshman Johnni Gonzalez to go into halftime ahead 23-19.
The Stags held an 18-10 lead midway through the second quarter when Aquinas went on a 9-1 run to tie the game at 19-19 with 1:07 left until halftime. The final points in the run came on two free throws from Townsell, who scored eight points in the second quarter.
Miege used its full-court press from the start. It took the Saints most of the first quarter to figure it out. Aquinas had just two field goals by sophomore Allison Thomas for its four points in the first quarter, and both those baskets came off of offensive rebounds. Thomas finished with 10 points.