Defense helps Christopher Dock top Sacred Heart

TOWAMENCIN >> Lanae Hunsberger read exactly where the pass was going and jumped in front.

The Christopher Dock senior was off with an open floor in front of her, finishing the layup midway through the third quarter. A few minutes later, she did almost the same thing but couldn’t finish the score. It was no matter as Olyvia Longacre crashed the glass, got the layup and a free throw to boot.

Dock’s defense carried it in a 49-34 non-league win where neither team shot well Friday night.

Bob Raines--Montgomery Media  Christopher Dock's Emily Groarke charges down court pursued by Sacred Heart's Chelsea Slaughter Dec. 11, 2015.
Christopher Dock’s Emily Groarke charges down court pursued by Sacred Heart’s Chelsea Slaughter during their game on Friday, Dec. 11, 2015. (Bob Raines/Montgomery Media)

Megan Swintowsky led Dock (4-1, 2-0 Bicentennial Independence) with 11 points while Lanae Hunsberger and Olyvia Longacre put in 10 each. The Pioneers also had five players with at least six rebounds and four with at least two steals. Still, it wasn’t a game coach Al Grenfell was ready to call a great win.

“The strong point of the whole night was Megan Swintowsky, I tried to stress push the ball down the lane, don’t take the first shot and look for Megan,” Grenfell said. “The first 10 minutes we did a good job of that and we rebounded the ball well.”

Dock didn’t make a lot of shots in the first half, but the Pioneers rebounded most of them. Back-to-back makes by Sacred Heart (0-4) put the Lions ahead 7-6 with 4:06 left in the first quarter but that would stand as their only lead of the first quarter.

Swintowsky was an effective option throughout the first half. The junior dropped in six first quarter points and had a noteworthy five offensive rebounds in the frame. Swintowsky led Dock with eight points at the break.

Dock’s 3-2 zone defense was pretty good at taking Sacred Heart out of its offensive flow when the starters were in. The young bench had some lapses, giving up a number of open 3-pointers, but Sacred Heart wasn’t making anything either.

“Our weakness is that we like to rush our shots,” Grenfell said. “I want to take the ball and make the extra pass so we can shoot a little better. The other night we did that and shot it better than this.”

Guards Emily Groarke and Olyvia Longacre were active on defense, with Groarke picking the ball away three times with five boards while Longacre had a block, steal and four boards at the break.

Bob Raines--Montgomery Media  Christopher Dock's Megan Swintowsky pushes past  Sacred Heart's Sami Smith going for a shot Dec. 11, 2015.
Christopher Dock’s Megan Swintowsky pushes past Sacred Heart’s Sami Smith going for a shot during their game on Friday, Dec. 11, 2015. (Bob Raines/Montgomery Media)

Nicole Ford was a good lift off the bench on the glass and defensive side of the floor. The freshman chipped in two steals and four rebounds by the break.

Dock carried over the defensive energy through halftime and kept going after the ball.

Hunsberger had four steals alone in the third quarter as Dock seemed to put the game under control with a 40-23 lead. Longacre scored half of her points in the frame while she and Sabrina Demetrius controlled the glass.

However, Dock did not come out ready to close the game in the fourth. Despite Grenfell telling his players not too, the Pioneers kept throwing long passes and Sacred Heart kept stealing them. The lineup was mostly backups to open the quarter and Sacred Heart made enough of the 11 Dock turnovers to cut it to 43-34 before Grenfell put his entire starting five back in.

“I thought we played terrible,” Grenfell said. “We played down to the competition. I put the (starters) in, told them to refocus and regain control of the game and they didn’t do it so I kept them in.”

Swintowsky, Groarke and Hunsberger scored six combined points to restore some sense of calm. Still, they were playing rushed as well and Grenfell opted to keep the starters in to finish it off.

“I’m trying to get more balanced scoring rather than Lanae scoring all of the time,” Grenfell said. “We shoot too fast. I want to make that extra pass and get the bigger girls involved.”

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