Indians, led by Bottomley’s 18 points, start hot and never look back
When Jordan Marecek canned the first shot of the game from deep in the corner, Northwest had to have a good feeling. Marlington’s Allison Lacher would answer with a corner trey of her own on the other end of the floor. That momentum was short lived as Northwest went on to rip off 15 points in the first three minutes of the game.
Marecek would help the Indians jump out to a 21-13 first quarter lead behind a couple triples and nine points. Bottomley also had eight points for the Indians during their initial run.
Bottomley kept it rolling to start the 2nd as she seemed to always be in the right spot to be fed by the Northwest guards. Lily had 12 points in the first 10 minutes of the game and they were coming much easier than she is accustomed to as the Dukes zoned the Indians as opposed to fronting and playing physical.
A three from Ashley Cudnik was all Marlington could take as Coach Stadulis called a timeout early in the second period down 28-13. The Indians extended the lead to 39-17 as the first half ended.
The benefit of playing a game like this became immediately evident as Marlington came out in the second half more calm, getting their hands on more deflections and playing with a little more poise. The Dukes won the 3rd quarter, 12-8, while the Indians were still in full attack mode.
Sophomore Ashley Cudnik finished with 15 points and Marecek added 14 for the Indians in the 56-33 win. Sophomore lefty Elizabeth Mason led the Dukes with eight.
Strength of schedule was a huge factor in the game. Thanks to games against D1 powers Jackson and Magnificat, games the Indians narrowly lost, they were prepared for just about anything. The Dukes ran into a team tonight that were bigger, stronger and longer than any team they’ve played this year. It took some time to adjust to the speed and intensity.
The Dukes will have the opportunity to close this gap in the next two months. They have games against Salem, West Branch, Louisville and Perry coming along, with the possibility of needing to fill other openings with teams of the caliber that will help them make a tourney run.
Marlington is as good as many of us thought, just unprepared to make a competitive jump, for now. Northwest on the other hand is building for March, and has been since Game 1.
Stay tuned, the next meeting could have much bigger implications…