Benet sophomore Kathleen Doyle is one of the area’s best young point guards, but her backup isn’t bad, either.
Morgan Thomalla is making an impact in limited minutes, as she demonstrated Thursday night on the opening day of the Benet-Naperville North Tournament in Lisle.
The 5-5 junior came off the bench and scored all seven of her points during a huge first-quarter run that enabled the Redwings to roll to a 64-41 victory over Glenbard West.
“Morgan did a good job for us,” Benet coach Peter Paul said. “Morgan’s kind of left out a little because of Kathleen, but I think she’s an excellent guard. A little bit tinier [than Doyle], but hopefully her speed makes up for it.”
Glenbard West (1-9) led 10-7 before Emily Schramek drained a three-pointer that triggered a 16-0 run to end the first quarter. Doyle assisted on layups by Emily Eshoo and Jenna Martin and then it was Thomalla’s turn.
Thomalla scored on the next three possessions, first on a putback of a Schramek miss and then on a short jumper off a Martin assist. She then buried a three-pointer from the left wing, and when Emma Hlavin followed with a layup at the buzzer, Benet (8-3) found itself up 23-10.
“I just got lucky and got a couple shots off right away,” Thomalla said modestly. “I try to shoot. The faster I get in the more ready I am to go.”
The 5-7 Doyle, who had another dominant all-around effort with 14 points, seven assists, five rebounds and four steals, pointed out that luck had nothing to do with Thomalla’s play.
“It wasn’t lucky,” Doyle said. “It takes some skill. We have so much trust in Morgan. Obviously she’s a great shooter. Tonight she had a lot of points and she’s a great defender, too.”
Indeed, it was defense that turned the tide for the Redwings. They used two types of full-court presses to fluster the young Hilltoppers into repeated turnovers in the backcourt.
Glenbard West went nearly nine minutes without a basket before a jumper by Emma Kiel broke the drought with 3:12 remaining in the second quarter. By that time the Redwings enjoyed a 15-point lead and were never threatened after that.
“I think we just switched up the defense,” Thomalla said. “We were in diamond and then we went [to a trap] and we were able to stop the fast breaks.”
Schramek finished with 12 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals for the Redwings, while Eshoo and freshman reserve Kendal Schramek each had seven points and Kendall McDermott chipped in six.
Sophomore Ellen Daniels tallied 12 points to pace Glenbard West, which has only one senior.
“I was pleased early on and then we were in a little trouble,” Glenbard West coach Mike Hofland said. “Benet’s a good defensive team and we have to learn to adjust to defensive teams that play a lot of help.
“We’ve got to move the ball, like they did on offense. They do a great job of moving the ball side to side and it’s hard to defend.”