Seniors lead Elyria Catholic Panthers in rout of Bay Rockets in home finale

MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL Elyria Catholic's Erin Herschelman, left, looks to drive past Bay’s Maria Passalacqua in the first quarter Wednesday at Elyria Catholic High School. The Panthers won, 49-28.

MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL Elyria Catholic's Karissa McGrath, right, stuffs Bay’s Rachel Jerome in the first quarter Wednesday night.

MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL Elyria Catholic's Josie Carandang, right, brings the ball up the court while being forced along the side line by Bay Village's Maria Passalacqua in the first quarter Wednesday night.

MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL Elyria Catholic's Karissa McGrath, right, attempts to put back an offensive rebound for two points surrounded by Bay defenders.

ELYRIA — In Elyria Catholic’s final home game, it was a pair of seniors who helped it end the regular season on a strong note.

Seniors Brittney McNamara and Karissa McGrath combined for 29 points, while the Panthers’ defense was outstanding en route to a 49-28 West Shore Conference win over Bay on Wednesday.

“It was a crazy feeling,” McNamara said. “There were a lot of emotions running together, knowing this was my last game on this court. It was a great opportunity to play for coach (Eric) Rothgery. I’ll always remember my senior year.”

McNamara, who will be attending Chestnut Hill College, got the Panthers going by hitting her first shot of the game. She ended up scoring five points in the quarter. Freshman Becky Horvath came off the bench and scored seven of her 11 points to help.

“She is a nice player,” Rothgery said. “She has a lot of offensive skill and she isn’t afraid to shoot. Sometimes young players have an offensive fear, but she doesn’t.”

Elyria Catholic (18-4, 11-3) held a 13-9 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Using a match-up zone to keep the Panthers in check in the first quarter, Bay (9-13, 6-8) saw the deficit grow with Elyria Catholic starting to find open spots. It also helped the Panthers were making extra passes to find the open spots against the Rockets’ defense.

Holding a 24-13 lead at the half, it was the Panthers duo of McNamara and McGrath which helped extend the lead. McGrath, who also grabbed a team-high 13 rebounds, scored eight of her team-high 16 points in the third quarter.

McNamara, who hit eight 3-pointers in a game earlier this season, buried her third 3 of the game to push their lead to 41-20 at the end of the third quarter. McGrath scored half of her third-quarter points after snagging an offensive rebound. For the game, the Panthers held a 52-27 advantage on the boards.

“It (defensive rebounding) has been an Achilles’ heel for us all season,” Bay coach Chris Brewer said. “We worked on it in our last practice, but it didn’t show because Elyria Catholic really crashed the boards. We knew we had to keep her (McGrath) off the boards, but she is very athletic and tough to stop.”

Besides the Panthers rebounding, their man-to-man defense was outstanding. They held Bay to single digits in every quarter. Seeing the defense play so well is a good sign for Rothgery.

Conversely for Bay, the offensive woes were tough to see after it was able to string together a couple of wins as it heads into the tournament.

“We couldn’t knock down our open looks,” Brewer said. “When you face a team like Elyria Catholic, you have to find ways to score. We were doing what we had hoped to do defensively early in the game, but when you get almost zero offensive production it’s hard to stay with them.

“We had a good stretch, beating Avon and getting a couple other conference wins. We seemed to have lost our momentum. We are trying to bounce back and get ready for the tournament.”

While the last game on the Panthers’ court was a sad moment for McGrath, she is excited about what the future holds.

“This win means a lot, especially with the tournament coming up,” she said. “To see the team come together and play so well makes me so happy.”

Bay starts its postseason next Monday it plays Fairview at Elyria High School. Elyria Catholic travels down to Barberton High School next Tuesday to face Middlefield Cardinal.

Elyria Catholic 49, Bay 28

West Shore Conference

BAY — Ellen Hanna 1-0 2, Emma Grubaugh 1-1 3, Nora Ziebarth 3-1 7, Claire Werblak 1-0 2, Rachael Williams 1-0 2, Maria Passalacqua 1-1 3, Rachel Jerome 4-0 9 TOTALS 12-3 28.

ELYRIA CATHOLIC — Brittney McNamara 4-2 13, Karissa McGrath 5-6 16, Erin Herschelam 0-1 1, Julia Scarpelli 0-2 2, Becky Horvath 4-3 11, Josie Carandang 3-0 6. TOTALS 16-14 49.

3-POINT GOALS — B: Jerome; EC: McNamara (3).

Score By Quarters

Bay (9-13, 6-8) 9 4 7 8 — 28

Elyria Catholic (18-4, 11-3) 13 11 17 8 — 49

Team Statistics

Field Goals — Bay 12 of 60 (20 percent), Elyria Catholic 16 of 59 (27 percent)

Free Throws — B 3 of 9 (33 percent), EC 14 of 19 (74 percent)

Rebounds — B 27, EC 52 (McGrath 13).

Turnovers — B 9, EC 11.

J.V. — Bay, 34-33.


Last Updated: 2/13/2013 11:30:20 PM EST

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