Playing its first game without its star player, things got ugly quickly for Pope John Paul II’s girls basketball team.
Without all-everything forward Allison Hartmann, who missed the game because of a concussion suffered last week, Pope John Paul fell to St. Scholastica 48-17 in nondistrict action Thursday night.
Claire Schmitt led SSA with 12 points and Megan Feringa had 10. Samantha Zeldon and Lizzie Lagarde added seven points apiece for the Doves.
“We knew they were without their best player,” Feringa said. “But we knew Pope John Paul was going to play hard. Luckily for us, we got off to a really good start. I was hoping we would start off as well as we did. It is really fun to be part of a team with this much talent.
“This team only has one senior on it,” she said. “This team is really coming together, and we understand what the coaching staff is asking us to do. I like our chances to have a special season if we continue to improve each day of practice and in every game.”
Jessica Feraci had nine points to lead Pope John Paul and Chloe Bryars and Aisa Crespo had three points each for the Jaguars.
“I thought we played well early on,” Doves coach Lacey Bertucci said. “I was pretty pleased with the way played overall tonight. We can finally start playing as a team setting goals and it is exciting. We want to make the playoffs and we believe we have the chance to be second in this district behind Salmen. It is an exciting time to be able to set and meet goals. This is a good group.”
The story of the game was the first quarter in which SSA (7-2) stormed out to a 14-0 lead. Holding Pope John Paul II (3-7) without a point until a Claudia Clavier free throw with 5:42 left in the first half, the first Jaguars field goal didn’t come until midway through the second quarter on a basket by Feraci.
Up 22-5 coming out of the halftime locker room, 3-pointers by Bryars and Feraci cut the lead to 25-14 with 2:13 to go in the third quarter. However, SSA answered by scoring 14 of the next 16 points to take a 39-16 lead at the start of the fourth period to put the game all but out of reach.
“Not having Allison out there is a tremendous hole for us to try and replace,” Pope John Paul II coach Daryl Thomas said. “It hurts our inside game and that is what we depend on if we are going to be successful this season.
“We just hope to have her back as soon as the doctors clear her.”