Oakland Catholic girls use opportunistic defense to upend Latrobe

Monday, December 17, 2018 | 9:54 PM

Despite starting out as a closely-contested Section 3-5A matchup, the Oakland Catholic girls basketball team utilized its disruptive defense and basket-attacking offense to topple Latrobe, 69-50, on Monday night.

The No. 3-ranked Eagles (5-0, 3-0) racked up 13 steals and eight blocks and turned those turnovers into high-percentage shots to keep the pesky Wildcats (3-1, 1-1) at bay for the duration of the game.

“We like to play transition basketball. We like it when our defense creates turnovers and leads into those transitions. That’s the team we want to be,” Oakland Catholic coach Brianne O’Rourke said.

“We can still get better on the offensive end, because I think sometimes our defense is better then our offense, but we got ourselves a lot of breaks in the transition tonight, and that’s the way we like to play.”

Offensively, O’Rourke’s team converted on plenty of layups in the paint, and earned opportunities at the charity stripe, as well. The Eagles made 11 of 17 free throw attempts compared to Latrobe, which attempted just 10 free throws and made five.

Jayde Boyd led Oakland Catholic with 20 points, while Alexis Sestric poured in 15. Senior Sierra DeAngelo stuffed the stat sheet, as well, tallying 15 points, eight rebounds, six steals and three blocks.

“We had some offense that was working for us that we were attacking the basket with,” O’Rourke said.

“We have some good outside shooters, too, but we like to get out and run. Our girls played the kind of defense that gets you those solid looks close to the basket, and we finished on enough of those looks to come out on top.”

Meanwhile, it was mostly inconsistency on the offensive end that haunted Latrobe. After jumping out to a quick 17-13 lead in the first quarter, the Wildcats fell behind after mustering just six points in the second. From there, it would prove difficult to recover as coach Mark Burkardt’s team fell victim to sloppy passing.

“Turnovers were the difference. And the turnovers weren’t on the press, they were in the paint,” Burkardt said.

“We drove and tried to dish, and I thought we might’ve had six or seven turnovers in the period of time where the score swung back against us. That was our problem the whole night, just not taking care of the ball better.”

Carly Augustine tallied 20 points for Latrobe. Rachel Ridilla hit 3 of 7 3-point attempts and finished with 11 for the Wildcats.

The final result may not have been what Burkardt had hoped for for his team, but he said he was proud of the effort against a talented Oakland Catholic group.

“They’re not scared of the challenge. We talk about being fearless, going out and answering every challenge,” he said.

“We did that, and we played hard. We just didn’t play smart tonight.”

Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.

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