Gaining a little revenge provided motivation for the Walsh Jesuit girls basketball team when it traveled to Archbishop Hoban Saturday afternoon.
The Warriors got all of that and then some. They pressed Hoban into a slew of turnovers to gain an early advantage and continued to build the lead, rolling to a 73-46 victory in the first North Coast League game of the season for both teams.
The last time Walsh visited Barry Gymnasium was last year’s final regular-season game. Hoban emerged with a 56-39 win, spoiling the Warriors’ unbeaten conference record and gaining a split in the season series, leaving the traditional rivals tied for the crown with identical 9-1 records.
“I think it was our mental game,” said senior guard Anna Hall, who poured in a game-high 25 points. “We knew how bad we wanted to win and really gave it to them. It was definitely a good feeling, especially after last year when we were here and they beat us.”
Hall scored 14 in the first half on 7-of-10 shooting before picking up her third foul and being forced to sit out the last 4:43 of the second quarter. But she picked up the pace again after the break, hitting all five shots, including a 3-pointer.
The Warriors led 36-23 at the half, then outscored the Knights 9-3 starting the third period with Hall and Lilli Piper scoring four apiece to make it 45-26.
“We knew we had to jump on them as early as possible,” said Piper. “They’re a very good team so we knew we had to get a good start on them.”
Walsh coach Pete Zaccari said his team’s experience was the deciding factor.
“Hoban’s young — they’re an up-and-coming team,” said Zaccari. “They’re going to be tough. In a big game like this experience makes a big difference.”
Piper, a 5-foot-10 junior, scored 12 of her 14 points in the second half. And her all-around game was on display with 11 rebounds, five steals and five assists.
Chelsea Pla, a 5-11 senior post player, scored 13 points and grabbed six rebounds. Rachel Keough, a 5-8 senior point guard and team captain, scored 11 points.
“This year I wanted nothing more in my senior year than to come in here and win,” said Keough.
Walsh forced Hoban into 10 first-quarter turnovers and 24 total. Walsh coughed up eight of its own in a hectic first quarter, but only nine more after that.
Rachel Chessar, a 5-7 freshman guard, led Hoban with 15 points. Senior Amanda Beebe and sophomore Kara Marshall each scored 11.
Hoban coach Scott Callaghan said his team can’t use inexperience as an excuse.
“No one is going to acknowledge our youth,” he said. “So we need to work hard and we’ve got great kids and they will work hard. I guess we weren’t ready for this level of basketball yet.”
Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps.