WILKES-BARRE – Alexandra Brassington took a short dribble to the left, eyes scanning the court. In one quick swoop, she whipped a no-look pass to a wide-open Brittany Sugalski under the rim for the easy bucket.
With passes like that, it was easy to see why Nanticoke's offense was clicking on all levels.
The Trojanettes used the extra pass to perfection, and utilized quick back-door cuts, building a 22-7 lead after one quarter and pulling away from GAR, 65-38, in girls' basketball.
Of course, the game is pretty easy when you get a pass at point-blank range and several uncontested lay-ups.
Out of Nanticoke's nine baskets in the opening quarter, five of them came on an assist – but more importantly, each pass right at the rim.
It's something we are working on in practice, Nanticoke head coach Al Yendrzeiwski said. We want to find a way to get that easy bucket. We shoot a lot of 3-pointers, but we are trying to get that balance offensively. I thought we did a good job of finding that.
GAR (7-6, 3-2) couldn't find any type of offense in the opening quarter.
Turning the ball over 11 times because of a stingy, full-court press, the only Grenadier to tally points in the eight minutes was sophomore Brea Seabrook, who scored seven.
GAR got it back to single digits with a quick, 8-0 run to start the second quarter, but Nanticoke eventually pulled it back out to 12 by halftime.
We wanted to do what we were trained to do, and that's play basketball, GAR head coach Hattie Caruso said. We had to keep pushing forward and take care of the ball. You have to work together as a team, and find a way to get through it. I thought they did a nice job with their press.
The Grenadiers' comeback hopes were dealt two serious blows in the third.
Seabrook picked up her fourth foul early in the quarter, and spent the remainder of it on the bench. Then, senior guard Marena Spence was whistled twice, and ended up fouling out of the game with about four minutes left.
With Spence on the bench in the fourth, and Seabrook playing with four fouls, GAR never found its offensive feet, trailing by almost 20 heading into the final period.
For the game, Nanticoke (9-5, 5-0) forced 28 turnovers, while the Grenadiers scored just 11 points in the second half.
We were able to jump out to a big lead with the press and establish a good tempo, Yendrzeiwski said. They did a nice job of coming back in the second quarter. It was important to settle down and re-establish that pressure. Defensively, we did a much better job in the second half holding them to 11 points. We want to put pressure on and let players make plays. If they are good enough to make plays on us, that's fine. We want that up-tempo game, and see how it goes.
Kayley Schinski led all scorers with 24 points, while Brassington tallied 15 points and seven assists.
Seabrook had a team-high 17 points and five rebounds for GAR.
It was just one of those nights where things didn't fall in our graces, Caruso said. We got a little flustered at times, especially with the press. We'll keep working hard, and practicing hard together. Things are going to improve for our next game.
NANTICOKE (65): Alex Brassington 6 3-5 15, Brittany Sugalski 3 0-0 6, Kayley Schinski 8 7-11 24, Kassie Schinski 3 2-3 8, Lauren Rinehimer 2 0-2 4, Heidi Kile 1 6-10 8, Gianna Roberts 0 0-0 0, Chelsea Swanberry 0 0-0 0. Totals 23 18-31 65
GAR (38): Breana Mosier 1 0-0 2, Marena Spence 3 2-5 8, Sharell McCollum 1 1-2 3, Julianna Leco 3 1-2 8, Brea Seabrook 6 5-7 17, Majeedah Nealy 0 0-0 0, Lindsay Quinn 0 0-0 0, Marie Skrepnak 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 9-16 38
3-Point Field Goals— NAN 1 (K. Schinski); GAR 1 (Leco)