If Archbishop Hoban does anything well, it’s making sure whatever team comes to play them is ready to run the second the buses pull into the school.
Hoban’s lightning-strike offensive style was enough to blow past Mentor Lake Catholic, and the Knights improved to 4-0 in the North Coast League with an 89-40 win at home on Wednesday night.
The Knights (9-2, 5-0) scored 89 points — 33 in the first quarter alone — in what head coach Scott Callaghan says is a sign that Hoban is becoming what Hoban wants to become: 100 percent hustle, all the time.
“We’re learning how to play better offensively and we’ve been scoring a lot,” Callaghan said. “There are some unique circumstances to these games, which has a lot to do with it.”
Wednesday night, the “unique circumstance” was the 55 combined team fouls committed in 32 minutes of basketball (30 by Lake Catholic, 25 by Hoban). Both teams hit more free throws than field goals (Lake Catholic hit nine field goals and was 20-38 from the free throw line, and Hoban made 28 shots from the floor and was 30-41 from the free throw line).
Callaghan wants to push his nine varsity players as hard as they can go for four quarters. The fouls are going to come.
“That’s a by-product of us learning how to play defense the way we want to play defense, which is aggressive and purposeful,” Callaghan said. “We have to adjust as a team. I thought in the second half we did a much better job of playing with our feet.”
The Knights’ first-quarter explosion was about as fast-paced as they come. Senior forward Alessandra Dickos scored the first two buckets, the first on an offensive rebound and the second after she corralled a loose ball that Lake Catholic had appeared to steal. A couple of plays later, Dickos was fouled and hit a free throw and later came down with another offensive rebound and a put-back for nine points in the first quarter. She finished with a game-high 28.
Senior Emma Horning added some scoring punch from the outside with a 3-pointer and seven points in the quarter, and senior center Meghan Donohue was her usual self with four points and two blocks. Senior guard Allie Griffith also had a block on a fast break as she recovered from a Hoban turnover and won the footrace back to the basket. Four minutes into the game, and Hoban held a 21-3 lead.
“One of our focuses to start the game was for Alessandra and Allie to be very aggressive offensively based on matchups,” Callaghan said. “I thought both of them did a very good job, Allie pushing the tempo and sharing the basketball, and Alessandra looking to score. I was pleased with that. And I was pleased with how Meghan Donahue played in the second half.
Donahue — like nearly every other player in the game — fell into foul trouble and had to leave the floor for spurts, but ended the game with 13 points. Horning finished with 11. Junior Amanda Beebe, freshman Kara Marshall and junior Maddie Diestel added 10, nine and eight points, respectively.
“We feel very confident about all nine of our varsity players,” Callaghan said. “We’re in very good shape because our kids really commit to practicing hard on a daily basis. We want to push the ball. And defensively, we want to be aggressive. Unfortunately, we got into foul trouble and it kind of hurt our rhythm. So we have to be more of a disciplined team.”
Mentor Lake Catholic (4-6) was led by senior Katlyn Spahar (14 points) and senior Elizabeth Karako (11 points).
Ryan Lewis can be reached at email@example.com. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.