St. Joseph impresses despite lack of depth
Westchester, 01/03/13 St. Joseph's Kietta Saunders drives the baseline against Loyola's Sarah Hynes during their game in Westchester January 3, 2013. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media
Thursday Girls basketball: St. Joseph at Resurrection, 7 p.m.
Girls basketball: St. Joseph at Resurrection, 7 p.m.
Friday Boys basketball: Leo at St. Joseph, 7 p.m.
Boys basketball: Leo at St. Joseph, 7 p.m.
Updated: February 11, 2013 6:29AM
WILMETTE — The game of basketball is played with five players on the court from each team.
But in its 55-41 loss on Jan. 3 to Loyola Academy, the St. Joseph girls basketball team came close to finishing with just four on the court.
The Chargers were able to dress only six girls due to injuries and disciplinary measures. Junior guard Deja Horn fouled out with just over two minutes to go, and senior guard Kaci Beemon had four fouls at that point.
“Yeah, there was the worry there about having to be down to just four players,” said St. Joseph coach Jim Maley. “But we were going to go down swinging.”
Despite having just one sub against a Ramblers team that went nine players deep, the Chargers held a lead as late as midway through the third quarter.
“Our effort was one of the best of the whole season,” Maley said. “No qualms about that. But close isn’t good enough. We knew Loyola was going to knock down shots, but we didn’t close out as well in the second half.”
Maley changed his strategy to account for his shortened bench. He called timeouts midway through quarters instead of saving them, did not have his team press until the fourth quarter and tried to slow the pace throughout the game.
“We knew we had to be patient on offense,” junior guard Kietta Saunders said. “It worked in the first half, but not in the second half.”
Saunders scored 12 points, 10 of those coming in the first half as the Chargers stayed close. The point guard, a player Maley says usually looks to dish it off more rather than score, said that having only five other teammates changed her mind-set.
“I knew I had to step up my game,” Saunders said. “In the second half I didn’t look for my shot as much, though.
“We had a real good start, but we can do better as a team.”
Senior center Shaakera Jones had a game-high 14 points and said the way the team responded to the tough situation would be beneficial for the rest of the season.
“I’ve never seen us come out and play that hard,” Jones said. “We knew we needed to play above our potential and we came together as a team. We can trust each other more now.”