St. Joseph coach Chris Lindwall has set a goal for his team, one he believes they will accomplish and one he knows is necessary.
“Our goal is to get back to five hundred,” Lindwall said after the Cadets defeated Bridgeport Central 60-12 at Vito Montelli Court in Trumbull on Thursday night. “We just came off a great win over Middletown in the Canton tourney and we needed this performance tonight.”
St. Joseph is now 3-5 on the season, with a visit to Darien on Saturday at 1 and a home game with Warde on Monday at 7 in the offing.
From .500, everything is possible.
“This (winning or losing) is about us,” Lindwall said. “It is about getting things right and the kids are responding. We are playing better defensively and getting the ball up the floor quicker.”
Both facets of improved play were important against the Hilltoppers.
St. Joseph took a 23-6 lead after one period.
Lindwall used 10 players in the stanza and six scored points, led by Liz Adzima, Dennaye Hinds and Kate Rudini with four points each.
Kaitlin Capobianco kicked off the game with a 3-pointer, Emma Elrod tallied inside and Rahmia Johnston turned her steal into a three-point play.
Isabella Negron had five points in the quarter for coach Lawrence Richardson’s Hilltoppers.
Two new starters to begin the second period meant that an even dozen Cadets took the floor, and all contributed.
“We have a lot of moving parts,” Lindwall said. “We have four great seniors and a very good group of younger players. We are beginning to build momentum.”
Kathryn Zito, Elrod, Capobianco and Maddie Johnson are the senior quartet.
Johnston, Ronnie Lubas, Adzima, Becca Kery and McKenna Hedman are juniors.
Emily Haverl is the lone sophomore — Hinds and Rudini are freshmen.
The Cadets’ active half-court defense denied Central driving lanes and disrupted passes.
This led to the transition game that Lindwall favors, with Zito, Elrod and Rudini scoring off run outs in the second period.
St. Joseph’s half-court offensive sets are based on screens being able to free cutters for open looks at the basket.
While Central’s Rohanna Edwards, Jayda Edwards, Cyr Denny and Ismar Ruiz contested those opportunities, Kery came around a Rudini screen and took a pass from Johnson to close the half with a layup and a 40-6 lead.
The Hilltoppers’ Brianna Smith, Negron and Jayda Edwards had good looks themselves, but the rims didn’t always cooperate.
In the third quarter, Smith hit a baseline jumper, Ruiz scored, and Rohana Edwards made a put-back basket.
Jenisz Miller came off the bench to help increase ball pressure.
Elrod was at her best in the early stages of the third, when she hit the floor to force a jump ball, stole entry and skip passes, tallied off a rebound and used a drop-step and scoop shot to put up a deuce.
Hedman went left across the lane to score on a five-footer, Hinds showed off her footwork to get around a defender, and Capobianco assisted on buckets by Johnston and Johnson.
St. Joseph took a 53-12 lead into the fourth period.
Lubas was rewarded for a hard cut to the hoop with a pass from Hedman for a basket.
Haverl also scored off the motion attack, as the Cadets closed out the victory.