LAFAYETTE — Behind a suffocating defense and some sharp perimeter shooting, the St. Thomas More’s girls basketball team remained undefeated in District 4-4A play with a 59-39 road win against rival Teurlings Catholic.
The Cougars (15-4, 5-0) deployed a full-court press that hurt the Rebels, often forcing Teurlings (15-9, 2-3) to throw the ball out of bounds when trying to beat the press.
“Really, it was almost unforced turnovers. We were just throwing the basketball and forcing things,” Teurlings coach Joe Heintz said. “That was the difference in the first half. And when we did break the press, we couldn’t convert.”
It was close to start, but the floodgates opened when STM’s Hailey Seymour buried the first of her three first-half 3-pointers to close the first quarter and bump the Cougars’ lead to seven.
By the time Seymour hit her second 3-pointer of the half, the Cougars had completed an 18-2 run to push their lead to 20 points.
But the key to that run was the press, which Teurlings could not find a way to consistently break. STM coach Stephen Strojny said his team only started working on the press a few weeks ago.
“We’re committed to playing fast, so we’re trying to figure out a way to throw something at some teams that they’ve never seen before,” Strojny said. “We’ve all played each other so many times in the district that by this point everyone has us scouted on their perception of what they think we’re going to do. Tonight, it looked pretty good.”
The Cougars led by 20 points at halftime and didn’t let the Rebels get closer than 15 in the second half. That was largely thanks to Carly Sloane’s deft shooting.
A Reneé Delhomme 3-pointer cut the STM lead down to 15 early in the fourth quarter, but then Sloane went off.
Sloane sank 3-pointers on three consecutive possessions, then knocked down a pair of free throws to score 11 consecutive points for the Cougars, pushing the lead to 23 points.
“Carly Sloane, we call her ‘the hibachi,’ ” Strojny said. “She heats up, and the next thing you know she’s got 11 consecutive points. She got some big points. … In a span of about 90 seconds, she scored 11 points.”
Sloane finished with a game-high 17 points, while senior Bailey Hemphill added 14. Teurlings guard Lizzy Ratcliff led the Rebels with 14 points, nine of which came during the third quarter.