MARPLE >> After the first period Thursday night, Monsignor Bonner & Archbishop Prendergast led Cardinal O’Hara. By halftime, the Lions had the edge on the Pandas.
In the third period, visiting Bonner & Prendie was back on top. When the final horn sounded, O’Hara was the winner, 63-59, for its second consecutive Catholic League girls basketball victory.
The Lions (10-4, 6-2) scored the first 13 points of the second period and had a 10-5 advantage in the first three minutes of the fourth period, which offset Prendie’s 11-2 run to open the third period.
Kenzie Gardler (14 points, six rebounds, five assists) and Molly Paolino (12 points, three steals) both dropped in a pair of 3-point shots and Maura Hendrixson (22 points, including 10-for-12 shooting from the foul line) was 4-for-4 in free-throw attempts to key the second-period scoring outburst, which was helped along by a technical foul called on the Bonner/Prendie bench.
Dakota McCaughan (22 points, three assists) scored 10 points in the opening period and sank her only shot – from behind the arc – in the second period for the Pandas (11-6, 7-3).
“At halftime, (coach Linus McGinty) told us we were giving up too many points,” Paolino said. “We had to get up on them and not let them get so many shots.”
Maeve McCann (18 points, six rebounds), who didn’t score in the first half, was 5-for-5 from the floor in tossing 13 points in the third period for Bonner & Prendie. She added five points in the fourth period, but Paolino came up with a pair of key plays for O’Hara, including a steal with her team up by two points with five minutes to play.
Gardler missed a shot at the other end of the floor, but Siobhan Boylan grabbed the rebound and scored. Hendrixson 6-for-8 at the line in the final period) added two foul shots 45 seconds later, and Paolino came up with another steal and turned it into two points to put O’Hara up by eight.
“We wanted to drive more in the second half and make sure Dakota didn’t get any more threes,” Gardler said.
Hendrixson had only one field goal in the second half, but her accuracy from the foul line was key down the stretch. Four of her successful foul shots came in the last minute.
“We’ve had three really tough (Catholic) league games in a row,” Hendrixson said. “So we were prepared for this. We know we have to play with more intensity now and be ready for the games we have left before the playoffs.”
McCaughan said that even though the result of the game was disappointing, Bonner/Prendie expected to be a tough opponent for the teams it will see in the postseason.
“We know what (O’Hara) will be like if we see them again,” the sophomore guard, who faced a strong defensive challenge from Paolino all night, said. “The teams in the league are spread out a little, and we still have tough games left. But we should be ready for them.”
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