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Girls basketball: Pressure works to perfection for Bishop McLaughlin

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Tue. December 10, 2013 | Derek J. LaRiviere

SPRING HILL — Bishop McLaughlin’s first Class 3A, District 7 victory of the season was spurred by phenomenal defensive pressure.

The Hurricanes racked up 26 steals en route to dominating Carrollwood Day 37-21 Tuesday.

“We work more on defense and trapping in practice than we do on offense,” Bishop McLaughlin coach Anita Davis said. “Turnovers are what lead to easy points.”

The benefactor of many of those turnovers was the Hurricanes’ leading scorer, Brielle Downing. The short-statured sophomore is already the best scorer in program history after only one season. Downing owns school records for points in one game (42), one season (478) and in a career (636).

Her 20 points made her the lone player on either team in double figures. She also added seven steals, five rebounds, two assists, and a block for Bishop McLaughlin (5-3, 1-2).

“Brielle is definitely our catalyst,” Davis said. “She has so much confidence. No matter how many times she misses or gets her shot blocked, she just keeps attacking.”

Carrollwood Day (4-3, 1-2) struggled to move the ball up the court, but even when the Patriots were able to get into a half-court set, they missed too many open looks at the basket. Destiny West played hard defensively, grabbing nine rebounds and blocking five shots. Her eight points also led the team, despite shooting only 2-of-7 from the free-throw line.

Marlo Leikem added eight rebounds and two blocks for Carrollwood Day, but she missed a handful of open lay-ups and ended up with only three points.

The leading rebounder for the contest was also on the Hurricane side. Playing without frontcourt partner Deja Roach, who dislocated her right knee against Tampa Prep, Desiree’  Nathe grabbed another 12 boards Tuesday. Nathe snagged a single-season team-record 245 rebounds last year.

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