Behind strong guard play from senior Janaya Feaster and inside work on offense from junior center Meghan Donohue, Archbishop Hoban rode a wave of momentum to defeat St. Vincent St. Mary 44-34 Thursday night at home.
After committing seven first-quarter turnovers and falling behind 19-9, the Knights opened the second quarter with a full-court press and found a lightning rod in Feaster, whose speed and defensive presence altered everything the Fighting Irish tried to do offensively.
Hoban coach Scott Callaghan knows how Feaster is capable of changing any game.
“[Feaster] is the heart and soul of this team, and her attitude and effort are unmatched,” Callaghan said. “Her attitude and body language was so good. Basketball is such an emotional game, and it’s a game of momentum.”
Feaster stole eight passes, including seven after the first quarter, pulling the home crowd into the game and swinging the momentum. With her wreaking havoc on St. Vincent St. Mary, the Fighting Irish could muster only 15 points and three field goals over the final three quarters.
“We just came out and knew we had to pressure [St. Vincent St. Mary] a lot,” Feaster said. “They’re a good team but we had to shut them down.”
Feaster also contributed on the offensive end with eight points as well as two very nice passes in transition for assists.
Hoban opened the second half trailing 21-16, largely in part to Donohue falling into foul trouble early in the second quarter. The Knights lost their primary inside option but were eager to make up for lost time in the second half.
After back-to-back Feaster steals, Hoban pulled within 26-23. Donohue’s height and toughness began to be too much for St. Vincent St. Mary. She scored eight consecutive points — all on layups after battling for position under the basket — to send the fans in Hoban’s Barry Gymnasium into a frenzy.
Callaghan knows her style of play is unique to this style of basketball, and is, therefore, a tough matchup for any team.
“[Donohue] is a different type of post player because she plays so hard every possession,” Callaghan said. “The high school game for girls basketball isn’t a physical game, and she’s a physical player. She’s learning how to play without fouling.”
Donohue finished the game with 16 points (13 in the second half) and seven rebounds.
For the Fighting Irish, the first quarter couldn’t have gone better. They scored inside, they scored outside, and sophomore guard Kiley May led the way with seven points.
Senior Taja Dave (seven points, nine rebounds) opened the second quarter with a beautiful move to split the defense, beat the full-court press and scored on a layup to extend St. Vincent St. Mary’s lead to 21-9.
And then it was if someone flipped a switch.
The Irish didn’t score again that quarter and struggled to put much of anything together the rest of the game.
Feaster’s suffocating defense was certainly responsible, but Donohue also cited the home crowd as a primary factor.
“The crowd goes and then everyone on the team starts to hit shots and get on a roll,” she said.
Read the high school blog at http://www.ohiomm.com/blogs/varsity_letters/. Also follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/RyanLewis83. Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.