The Schalmont girls’ basketball team didn’t show much rust from a two-week layoff in the first half of Tuesday night’s game with Colonial Council rival Holy Names.
The second half was a different story.
DeJanaire Deas wore out the Lady Sabres with a dominating performance down low, finishing with 13 points and nearly double that figure in rebounds to help her team to a 43-31 win.
“We wanted to try to limit her touches down low, but she’s just so good, so strong,” said Schalmont coach Jeff Van Hoesen of the Holy Names sophomore. “She made some Division I-level moves under the basket.
“You can’t box her out, she’s so strong. It’s tough for two people to box her out. She limits your chances, and gets her team more.”
Hailee Metzold showed no fear early, rallying her Schalmont team from a slow start with a succession of drives to the basket. She scored half of her team’s points as Schalmont opened a 12-7 lead after one quarter.
But the multiple-sport athlete — a key player on Schalmont’s highly successful girls’ soccer team — wouldn’t score again until the fourth quarter, when her nine points accounted for all of the Lady Sabres’ scoring.
“Hailee’s a bulldog,” said Van Hoesen. “She never quits. But she was also was helping out on Deas, and that takes a lot of energy.”
After pulling into a 19-19 tie at the half, Holy Names held Schalmont to three points in the third quarter to take a five-point lead into the final eight minutes. The lead continued to grow, as Deas’ presence made things tough down low, and Schalmont was cold from the perimeter.
“I knew it was going to be tough, but we had that good start,” said Van Hoesen. “But credit Steve [Holy Names coach Steve Gigliello] and give that program credit.
“He loses an outstanding player like Hannah Friend [now attending a prep school], and a bunch of seniors, and they still are a very good team.
“They get after you on defense, and make you very uncomfortable when you’re trying to run your offense.”
“I was very happy with the way they responded after the first quarter,” said Gigliello, whose team improved to 6-0 in the league and 8-0 overall. “Except for Hailee making a three right at the end, we held them under 10 points in the second half.
“We’re very young, and I think they really showed how much they’ve matured tonight.”
It helps having the presence of Deas, who can cover defensive mistakes, change shooters’ minds and work hard on the boards.
“She must have had 25 rebounds,” said Gigliello “I think she’s the best rebounder in Section II,
“She’s already drawing interest from some Division I schools like Temple and Maryland.”
Deas has developed a strong inside game to complement her work on the boards.
“Her footwork is very good,” said Gigliello. “She’s tough to stop when she gets the ball. And she’s good about kicking the ball back out when she feels the double-team.”
Rhianna Franchini, one of two seniors on the team, gave Holy Names an outside threat, making four three-pointers in finishing with a team-high 14 points.
“You want to have that balance,” said Gigliello. “We know teams are going to double- and triple-team down low. Rhianna makes the other team open up.”
Schalmont, now 4-2, gets right back to it tonight against Amsterdam, as the Lady Sabres play four games in five days.
“We lost to a good Class A team, and we come right back and play Amsterdam, another ‘A’ team,” said Van Hoesen, whose team has another league game Friday and a rescheduled league contest Saturday against Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk. “Playing two Class A teams should help us in the long run.
“This isn’t the way we wanted to start the second part of the season, but we’ll get better.”
Deas 6-1-13, L.Williams 1-2-5, Rh. Frannchini 5-0-14, Spicer 1-0-2, Vivian 1-1-3, Kramer 2-2-6. Totals: 16-6-43.
Metzold 5-4-15, Olsen 3-0-7, Randle 0-3-3, Strijek 1-0-2, Saccocio 2-0-4. Totals: 11-7-31.
Holy Names 7 12 7 17 — 43
Schalmont 12 7 3 9 — 31
Three-point goals: L.Williams, Rh.Franchini 4, Metzold, Olsen.