Before the Kapaun Mount Carmel girls basketball team played Thursday night at Koch Arena, coach Billy Graf stressed to his team the opportunity it had against Andover Central.
This was a chance to grab a marquee victory over a team that entered with a 6-1 record, and do so playing team basketball.
“I feel like that really hit home for us,” Kapaun junior Brenna Monty said. “That’s exactly what we did. We played as a team and we got the win.”
Kapaun not only responded with a victory, but did so in impressive fashion, holding Andover Central to 14 second-half points in a 52-30 victory. The Crusaders improved to 6-3.
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“This was easily our best performance of the season and it’s not even close,” Graf said. “Easily the best we’ve played as a team, too.”
Kapaun broke open a 19-16 halftime lead with hot shooting in the third quarter.
Monty opened the quarter with back-to-back three-pointers, igniting Kapaun to 17 third-quarter points and building a 36-23 lead.
“I feel like I helped my team by getting the momentum started,” said Monty, who scored a game-high 17 points. “And then everybody else came out and just nailed it.”
When Monty wasn’t hitting from the perimeter, it was Rachel Hastings (10 points) connecting on mid-range jump shots or Anna Roulston (13 points) scoring from the post.
Kapaun outscored Andover Central 33-14 in the second half. The offense was nice, Graf said, but it wasn’t what impressed him the most about his team’s performance.
“Everything looks better when you’re making shots, but I’m more impressed by the fact we only gave up (14) points in the second half,” Graf said. “Andover Central is a really talented team, so to be able to do that was really impressive.”
The 30 points were a season-low for Andover Central, as was the nine points by leading scorer Ryann Stearns, who entered the game averaging 21.
Andover Central struggled to a poor shooting performance, finishing the game shooting 27 percent from the field. Jewell Bolden led the Jaguars with 10 points.
“Stearns is an incredible player, so our kids knew they all had to be ready to help,” Graf said. “You don’t just guard her with one player, it’s all five. We wanted to limit how many shots they got and other than a couple of possessions, I thought for the most part they were one-and-done.”
A. CENTRAL: J. Bolden 10, R. Stearns 9, A. Wesley 5, B. Schulte 3, J. Peckham 2, A. Brown 1.
KAPAUN: B. Monty 17, A. Roulston 13, R. Hastings 10, J. Mayberry 5, M. Short 3, C. Allen 3, C. Hough 1.