OSTERVILLE – There’s just no other way to put it.
The St. John Paul II girls basketball team (1-0) dominated Cape Cod Academy, 56-10, this afternoon at the Thomas Evans Gymnasium, and not once did they suggest that they will go easy on opponents this season as they seek to land on top of the Cape & Islands League come February.
From the opening tip-off, the Lions were a portrait of precision, racking up a 20-0 lead by the end of the first quarter, highlighted by 10 collective steals, most of which were converted into buckets on the other end. It was the sort of victory a first-year head coach hopes for as Mike Tierney took over this season for former Lions’ head coach Dave Mason. It was all that much more meaningful because St. John Paul II’s scheduled season-opener on Monday versus Nantucket was postponed. The Lions had literally been champing at the bit after practicing and scrimmaging for three weeks.
“They were excited to get started,” Tierney said. “We weren’t trying to run up the score. I knew we’d be strong. My emphasis is on defense and I can’t just tell them to stop playing defense.”
But mix a stifling, no-holds-barred man-to-man defense with solid offensive execution under the basket and the end result is likely to be favorable for any team.
“All of the things we’ve worked on, we executed,” Tierney said. “We played a very strong, clean game, but I couldn’t tell them to pull it back.”
It was not until 5:45 of the second quarter that Cape Cod Academy got on the scoreboard when 8th grade forward Isabelle “Izzy” Lipton hauled down a missed shot and laid it in off the glass. For the hosts, however, that was all the offense it created in the first half as the Lions took a 28-2 lead into the halftime intermission.
The Lions’ triumvirate of sophomore point guard Jess Tierney – a return starter – junior captain Tori Gibson and senior Kaia Whiteley simply proved too much for the far younger Cape Cod Academy team whose varsity roster has a 7th grader, two 8th graders and one freshman to bolster two juniors in the starting five. Tierney had five points in the first quarter as did Whiteley, while Gibson poured in six quick points from the low post. Sophomore guard Olivia Bengston tacked on four points to round out the first quarter scoring.
All totaled, St. John Paul II had nine players find their names on the scoresheet once the dust had settled, with Tierney leading the Lions with 14 points. Senior co-captain Whiteley finished with 13 points and Gibson, a junior co-captain, had eight points.
Cape Cod Academy junior captain Becca White, the Mariners’ point guard, finished the night with three points and in spite of the score played relentlessly to the end. Eighth grader Catherine Wetzel had two points, junior Morgan Farber had two points and six rebounds and Lipton had three points.
St. John Paul II next faces Barnstable (1-1) on Saturday while Cape Cod Academy is now on break until January 7 when they face the Rising Tide Charter School in Plymouth.
– Sean Walsh is the sports editor for www.capecod.com. His email is [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @coachwalshccbm.