SOUTH YARMOUTH — The Dennis-Yarmouth Dolphins did not lack for effort.
But in the end, the multifaceted, fast-moving and still undefeated St. John Paul II Lions proved too much as the girls in blue and gold ran away with a 43-29 Stripes Tournament victory Monday night on Station Avenue. The Lions are now 5-0 and the Dolphins fall to 1-5.
Kaia Whiteley proved the night’s most formidable offensive threat, setting up on the baseline and draining a pair of two-pointers and one three-pointer as part of her 16-point barrage. Her sister Haley Whiteley followed suit with a 10-point night while Olivia Bengston had seven hard-earned points.
The Dolphins were kept in the game with the stellar hustle and relentless defense of senior Patty Newhard and freshman Abby Criser. Newhard had only four points, but she added five rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots in her relentless pursuit of the ball on defense. Criser, equally as tough, poured in 10 points and had five steals. Junior Taylor Conley had seven points, including one three-pointer.
The score was much closer than it ended up being at the outset of the game, with the Lions clinging to a low-scoring, 7-4 lead.
The Dolphins had implemented a disruptive and effective 2-2-1 zone and the Lions appeared unable to penetrate the paint. That strategy worked well for head coach Martin Beco, straight through to halftime intermission as the Lions led by a still slim margin of 21-16.
It was when the Lions came out of the halftime locker room and figured a way to implement the give-and-go and get the ball inside to the Whiteley sisters, that the Dolphins became unable to stop the bleeding. Using center Tori Gibson as a middle-man in the lane, Gibson collected six assists feeding the ball inside to the dynamic Lion duo. When the inside lane was shut down, the Lions simply kicked the ball out to a freed up Kaia Whiteley who used her long-range shooting skills to wet the bucket.
The Dolphins next face Barnstable (3-4) on Friday night in Hyannis at 6:30 pm. The Lions next return to action Tuesday, January 6, 2015 at 7:00 pm against the Sturgis East Charter School.
— Sean Walsh is the sports editor for www.capecod.com. His email is [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @coachwalshccbm.