Archbishop Wood clicks on all counts in win over Bonner-Prendergast

WARMINSTER >> The power of positivity is undeniable.

Archbishop Wood girls basketball coach Mike McDonald felt his team needed a different approach from him, so he flipped perspective. A more positive McDonald has seemed to filter down to his players and the Vikings are enjoying it.

Wednesday, everything went right for Wood in a 73-34 Philadelphia Catholic League win over visiting Bonner-Prendergast. The Vikings hit nine 3-pointers and turned their inside game into a clinic.

“We’re starting to shoot well in every game, we really shot well the last two games,” McDonald said. “I’ve been a little more positive with them in this stretch and it’s affecting their shooting in a good way so I have to keep this up.”

Bailey Greenberg scored 18 to lead Wood, which went deep into its bench in the second half. Starting guard Cassie Sebold contributed a third of the long range makes in her 11-point outing.

After starting the year with six losses, two of them in the PCL to Neumann-Gorretti and Cardinal O’Hara, Wood (10-6, 5-2 league) is enjoying this positive vibe.

“We just came together, started playing together and gained confidence,” reserve Meg Neher said. “Coach Mike has been really positive and really getting us up lately so it’s all of that coming together finally.”

Wood has the benefit of putting multiple forwards on the floor that can only score and rebound, but handle the ball. Greenberg, Katie May and Kate Connolly are all full-court threats and that ability to get into instant transition helped the Vikings on Wednesday.

Connolly was a big factor early, hitting a 3-pointer to start the game, collecting a board, block, steal and assist in the first 2:30 of play. Wood rocketed out to a 10-6 lead with Greenberg getting two easy hoops to start.

“We try to push transition a lot,” senior guard Claire Bassetti said. “Our guards are really fast and Bailey runs the court as hard as she can so really try to play in transition.”

Bassetti added that she and Greenberg have put more on themselves as the senior captains to step up their leadership and pump up their teammates like their coach has been doing.

Defensively, Wood frustrated the Pandas (10-5, 4-3), causing seven turnovers in the first quarter and taking an 18-9 lead into the second quarter.

With Wood’s forwards setting the pace, the perimeter players caught up, hitting a trio of 3-pointers in the second quarter. Greenberg continued to lead Wood, but her teammates did a lot to keep the senior rolling.

“We like to push the ball and fill lanes in transition rather than have a steady point guard,” McDonald said. “When it’s a halfcourt set, Claire (Bassetti) is our point guard but anybody can push the ball when we’re getting stops and getting rebounds. It doesn’t matter who it is, we want to get it and get it ahead.”

With just under a minute left in the first quarter, Connolly caught a rebound and rifled it up the floor to Greenberg for an easy layup.

The 3s, all coming in the final 4:14 of the half from three different players, stretched Wood’s lead to 33-16 at the break.

“We came in and only lost one player (Aubree Brown) this year and it really made a big difference,” Neher said. “Everyone had to step up and start playing together. Everyone is starting to realize what their role is on the team.”

The Vikings started the second half on a 9-0 run with Greenberg getting three quick hoops around the rim. In a blink, the Wood lead was past 20 and McDonald started easing more reserves in.

Emma Stanfield and freshman Ryleigh Parsons each scored six points in the fourth as the bench kept playing at a high level.

“It’s so much fun, especially to see the younger girls get a chance to get varsity minutes,” Bassetti said. “I remember when I was a freshman and got some varsity minutes, it was a big deal so it was nice to be able to embrace the team spirit.”

Bassetti said the outside shooting has opened up thanks to the way Sebold and Karly Brown are able to penetrate into the lane and find shooters. Greenberg may be the focal point, but any five Vikings on the floor can score.

“You always have to be ready,” Neher said. “You never know when it’s going to come to you.”

Be ready and stay positive, it’s simple, but it’s working.

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