Marist didn’t exactly steal a win from Lincoln-Way East during Wednesday night’s battle in Mount Greenwood. The RedHawks led all the way.
But of the 20 turnovers they forced, 12 of them came on personal thefts. Eight of them were produced by the sticky fingers of Leah Bolton.
“I’ve been having to work on my defense,” Bolton said after the 52-41 victory. “That’s something I’ve been focusing on and will be for the rest of the season and my career.”
Bolton also added 17 points and five rebounds, JeTaun Rouse had 21 points and Bria Stallworth eight as the No. 4 RedHawks improved to 14-7.
Kara Krolicki led the way for No. 6 East (15-4) with 18 points and five rebounds, while Shannon Hart came off the bench in the fourth quarter to score nine points.
The victory was a breath of fresh air for Marist, which has posted a 4-6 record since Christmas against a tough run of opponents.
“All of the losses that we’ve had will only make us stronger and better as a team,” Bolton said. “Every time we have a bad game we come to practice with a better attitude. Our loss on Monday [to Trinity] has really gotten us focused on what we have to work on at practice.”
Stallworth, a last-minute addition to the opening lineup by RedHawks coach Mary Pat Connolly, made her look like a genius by draining two consecutive three-point shots that ignited a game-starting 10-0 run. East, trailing 17-6 after one quarter, fought back early in the second to get to within 17-13 after a three-pointer by Krolicki, but Marist would close the half with another burst and led 28-14 at intermission.
The Griffins, who suffered a double blow in a Jan. 15 loss to Bolingbrook when forward Nathalie Hill suffered a season-ending knee injury and forward Meaghan McMahon a concussion, found a pleasant fourth-quarter surprise in Hart. The junior guard made her first real splash as a varsity player with a three, two field goals and two free throws to help cut what had been an 18-point deficit to seven.
“Shannon is a good shooter, she’s just a little timid and hasn’t seen a lot of time,” Griffins coach Jim Martin said. “We were looking for scoring, and she found a little positive and got aggressive. And not only her, but I think we all found a little more heart in playing harder. We battled hard.”