Notre Dame hands Salisbury first loss
For much of the team’s first three games, Salisbury girls basketball head coach Joe Mladosich was pleased at the performance he saw on the court. And the result was a perfect 3-0 record to open the winter season.
But on Monday night, he saw a different team take the hardwood.
In a battle of early-season unbeaten teams, Notre Dame (Green Pond) raced out to a 14-3 lead after eight minutes and never looked back. The Crusaders (4-0 overall; 4-0 in Colonial League) led by as much as 23 points en route to their 47-26 victory over the Lady Falcons (3-1, 2-1) on Monday night at Salisbury High School.
“We were a different team,” Mladosich said. “They pressured the ball and we didn’t want any part of it. We totally played the way we cannot play. It’s not the way we practice. It’s not the way we’re supposed to play. We’re not going to win that way. We were totally out of control.”
Immediately after the Crusaders scored the first bucket of the game, they went into a full-court pressure to try and deter Salisbury’s game plan offensively. And it worked.
The Falcons scored just three points in the opening quarter, shooting 1-for-6 along the way. Notre Dame, meanwhile, worked its inside game with Cassie Murphy, Olivia Brandt and Brianna Maslonka for the entire game.
“The press didn’t bother us,” Mladosich said. “It’s once we broke the press, we just went down and didn’t want to do anything. We didn’t screen. We didn’t do anything offensively that we’re supposed to do. We stood still and watched. We didn’t play.”
Murphy, who scored eight points in the first half to help the Crusaders push their lead to 23-10 at intermission, set the tone early in the third quarter as well. Murphy first set up Brandt for an easy bucket just seconds into the frame. Then, Maslonka returned the favor and set up Murphy to give the Crusaders a commanding 27-10 lead.
Murphy scored seven points in the third quarter alone, led the Crusaders with 15 in the game, and controlled the glass on both ends of the court. She led a 10-3 Crusader spurt to open the frame to put the game out of reach, including a three-point play with 4:15 remaining in the quarter.
“Defensively we weren’t as bad as we were offensively,” Mladosich said. “We were just so individualistic on offense. We didn’t do anything right. Whether it’s from the pressure or not, you still have to play.”
While also lacking the height to compare to the Crusaders, Salisbury was also missing one of its key starters in point guard Olivia Hoeing. And two of its regular rotation players off the bench were underclassmen—freshman Kelby McNally and sophomore Madison Bettucio.
Hoeing was expected back at practice on Tuesday to prepare for a tough week ahead that includes games against Moravian Academy (Friday at 4 p.m.) and Blue Mountain (Saturday at 12:30 p.m.).
Sarah McGee led the Falcons with 10 points and seven steals, while Kelly Gardus added five points. Natalie Galle scored nine points for the Crusader, all on three-pointers, and Brandt added seven.