Cardinal O’Hara clears the air, then brushes off Carroll

MARPLE >> At practice Monday, Cardinal O’Hara felt it was a good time for a team meeting.

This is nothing unusual, even for the No. 1 team in Delaware County, with aspirations of making it back to Hershey and playing for a state title.

“We knew we’d rather have a talk now and let everything out instead of having it in March, because by then it’s too late,” said junior guard Maura Hendrixson. “We might as well fix it now.”

The Lions seemed in-sync Tuesday night in a 52-31 victory over Archbishop Carroll.

“It helped a lot,” All-Delco junior guard Kenzie Gardler said of the meeting. “It definitely showed in this game. Making the extra pass, getting back on

Cardinal O’Hara’s Kerry Patterson handles the ball in Tuesday’s 52-31 victory over Archbishop Carroll.

defense and working extra hard to go 100 percent the whole way. We had a really good practice (Monday) and I think it showed today.”

All is well in Linus McGinty-ville. The Lions (9-3 overall, 4-1 league) got back on track in the Catholic League following a recent 14-point home loss to perennial state power and league rival, Neumann-Goretti.

“Of course there’s going to be drama on a girls basketball team,” Gardler said with a smile. “It’s good to get it all out. It’s good to be able to talk to one another, and we’ll be better because of it.”

The Lions scored the first seven points against the Patriots (11-3, 6-1) and led 28-5 at one point in the second quarter. They were very much on top of their game.

“We figured, hey, we have a big few weeks ahead,” said All-Delco Mary Sheehan, who scored a game-high 12 points.”With Carroll this week and we have (Archbishop) Wood and Notre Dame coming up, it was a good time. And we’re all hoping for at least two more months of basketball left, so we figured if there was anything anyone wanted to say or talk about, get it out now.

“I think we played really good team basketball today.”

That’s putting it lightly. Sheehan, who recently scored her 1,000th career point, made five consecutive shots at one point. Drexel recruits Hendrixson and reigning Daily Times Player of the Year Hannah Nihill had impressive first halves. Hendrixson was a defensive machine in the first quarter when the Lions leaned on their full-court press. Hendrixson had four steals and two assists in the opening stanza, while Nihill added eight points, two steals and an assist.

“My weakest spot is defense, so I try to work on that,” said Hendrixson, who finished with six points.

Nihill, who was 5-for-8 from the field for 10 points, dazzled as usual with her savvy ballhandling and ability to drive to the basket. Sheehan coupled her game-high 12 points with six rebounds and a blocked shot.

Gardler chipped in with eight points, including a pair of 3-pointers, four rebounds, three assists and a steal.

“This is obviously a big game for us because we are the top-two (teams) in Delco,” Gardler said. “We just wanted to prove and hold onto our No. 1 spot.”

Molly Masciantonio had three points, three steals, two assists and two rebounds for Archbishop Carroll.

O’Hara’s defense stymied the Patriots, who committed 14 turnovers, including nine in the first half. Carroll’s top scorers Molly Masciantonio, Bella Sorrentino and Maggie Pina were held to zero points on 0-for-7 shooting from the field in the opening half.

Sorrentino (four points, six rebounds) and Masciantonio (three points, two assists) hit their first baskets in the fourth quarter, long after the Lions pulled their starting five of Nihill, Sheehan, Gardler, Hendrixson and Molly Paolino (six points).

“We just weren’t moving the ball at all and we were taking the first shot a lot,” said Sorrentino, who will play soccer at Temple next fall. “I mean, they’re good. We tried to drive on them and draw fouls, but it wasn’t working. They anticipate really well.”

Theresa Kearney led the Patriots with eight points.

In another Catholic League game:

Neumann-Goretti 65, Bonner & Prendergast 38 >> The Pandas (11-4, 6-2) fell behind 20-6 after the first quarter and couldn’t recover against the Saints. Dakota McCaughan scored a team-high eight points and Caroline Manfre added seven.

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