Irish roll over 'Cats

St. Pat's Sam Byrn (white), is surrounded by Maxwell's Kyra Frisbie (left), Taelor Morrissey (35) and Kayla Stenger (11) on Thursday at McGahan Activities Center. The Lady Irish moved to 16-2 on the season with the 74-28 win.

For the second time this week the St. Pat’s Irish and Lady Irish had little trouble on the hardwoods at the McGahan Activities Center on Thursday. The fourth state-ranked Irish found their outside game by knocking down eight 3s in downing the Wildcats 70-17, while the sixth-ranked Lady Irish won by a 74-28 margin.

The Lady Irish’s defensive pressure was relentless early as St. Pat’s (16-2) put together a 23-0 run to finish the opening quarter with a 26-2 lead. Mandy O’Malley led the Lady Irish to the fast start by scoring nine first-quarter points, of her game-high 17 — two of which were from behind the arc.

“She’s a very good shooter and once she hits the first couple, she can be very streaky,” St. Pat’s assistant Brad Braithwait said. “We were trying to get the ball to her quite a bit because we knew she had the hot hand and she came through for us early.”

Sam Byrn contributed seven in the quarter and ended the quarter with a coast-to-coast basket after a steal.

“Our pressure got to them a little bit,” Braithwait said. “We got quite a few steals, and when you play like that early it allows you to play a lot of girls too. It’s always fun when some of the younger girls get a lot of playing time.”

“We weren’t able to really pick up on their press until the second quarter, which was too late by then,” said Maxwell coach Mitch Armour. “They rotated very well. They’re quick girls, very athletic girls. They were able to put a damper on our press break and sped us up on things we didn’t want to do early on.”

The second quarter wasn’t much better for the Lady Wildcats, as St. Pat’s had a 19-9 scoring advantage. Many of the Lady Irish’s points came off assists from their teammates. O’Malley again led St. Pat’s with eight points in the quarter and Brook Boucher sent the Lady Irish into halftime leading 45-11 with a 3 from the left corner.

“I think the last couple of nights, that’s the biggest improvement we’ve made since the conference tournament,” Braithwait said of the assists. “We are moving the ball really well, playing very unselfish and finding the open girl. Our girls know if they get open they’re going to find their shot.”

The Lady Wildcats (3-12) continued to battle throughout the second half, but the St. Pat’s bench was able to sustain and build on the lead from the first half.

“I thought we got a lot of great looks,” Armour said. “A lot of shots weren’t falling. Our girls did a good job of not getting discouraged on that. I thought they did well.”

Anna Crane led the Lady Wildcats with 12 points.

St. Pat’s (16-2).......................................26 19 18 11 — 74

Maxwell (3-12)....................................2 9 8 9 — 28

SP stats: (2 pt, 3 pt, ft, pts) Anna O’Malley 1, 1, 0/0, 5; Mandy O’Malley 3, 3, 2/2, 17; Kari Slattery 1, 0, 2/2, 4; Sam Byrn 5, 0, 1/2, 11; Brook Boucher 1, 2, 0/0, 8; Toni Caudillo 1, 0, 0/0, 2; Shelby Allberry 4, 0, 3/4, 11; Bree Saner 1, 0, 1/1, 3; Natalie Mackley 0, 0, 2/2, 2; Brittany Lawrence 4, 0, 1/2, 9; Erin Nozicka 1, 0, 0/0, 2.

Max stats: Anna Crane 5, 0, 2/2, 12; Bailee Keller 2, 0, 1/2, 5; Kayla Stenger 1, 1, 0/0, 5; Josie Cox 0, 0, 1/2, 1; Tracy Blake 0, 1, 0/0, 3; Taelor Morrissey 1, 0, 0/0, 2.

* * *

Irish pressure Wildcats

Maxwell (1-14) opened the scoring to begin the game and ended the first quarter with a Jeremiah Keith basket, but everything in between belonged to St. Pat’s, as the Irish scored 17 unanswered points.

Joseph Clinch began the run with two in the paint and then Mark Mayfield hit a pair of free throws and a 16-foot jumper on the baseline for four of his game-high 16 points and a 6-1 Irish lead.

Harms scored on a Joseph O’Malley assist and then O’Malley connected on a 3 from the left corner. Sophomore Andrew O’Neill got into the mix with two from 14-feet and then taking a Brandon Niesen lob and scoring.

“Again, I thought the kids were ready to go,” said St. Pat’s coach William O’Malley. “I thought we did a nice job early on by setting the tone with our intensity.

“That was key and we got some perimeter shots to fall. Everything looks better when you get some shots to fall from the perimeter.”

In all the Irish (15-2) hit eight from behind the arc on the evening.

“Over the course of the season, we haven’t taken a lot of 3-point shots,” coach O’Malley said. “I think we have some guys that are good shooters. It’s good to see some of those guys contributing in that area.”

The scoring slowed a little in the second quarter with the Irish having the 13-7 advantage. Mayfield totaled four field goals in the quarter.

Maxwell’s Jeremiah Keith started the second quarter with a 3, but the Irish got a 2 and a 3 from Niesen and two scores from Mayfield. Mayfield scored twice more off assists from Alex Harms and Niesen. The Irish led 30-10 as the teams left the court at half.

“They can do it all,” said Maxwell coach Travis Klein. “They can hit from the outside and they have great inside players.

“We wanted to give up the contested outside shot so they wouldn’t kill us in the paint. Everything they threw up went in and we couldn’t buy a bucket.

“I thought our effort was really good for our boys. I thought we played really hard, but we were just on the wrong side of it tonight for sure.”

The Irish went on a 16-point run in the third quarter and as the benches cleared, St. Pat’s outscored the Wildcats 17-5 in the fourth-quarter.

“It’s nice to get a lot of guys involved,” coach O’Malley said. “Just to have contributions for a number of guys. That kind of keeps everybody going in the practice gym. It’s important that everyone gets involved whenever possible.”

St. Pat’s (15-2)....................................17 13 23 17 — 70

Maxwell (1-14)...........................3 7 2 5 — 17

SP stats: (2 pt, 3 pt, pts) Bryce Byrn 1, 2, 0/0, 8; Drew McClellen 2, 0, 0/0, 4; Joseph O’Malley 0, 3, 1/2, 10; Andrew O’Neill 2, 2, 0/2, 10; Brandon Niesen 1, 1, 0/0, 5; Matthew Buhrman 1, 0, 0/0, 2; Joseph Clinch 2, 0, 2/4, 6; Alex Harms 3, 0, 1/2, 7; Mark Mayfield 7, 0, 2/2, 16; Kobe Lawrence 1, 0, 0/0, 2.

Max stats: Brandon Fletcher 0, 0, 2/2, 2; Zach Gregg 0, 1, 0/0, 3; Jeremiah Keith 1, 1, 0/0, 5; Kevin Hancock 0, 0, 0/2, 0; Bryson Keller 1, 0, 0/0, 2; Zac Miller 1, 0, 3/4, 5.

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