Carmel High School girls basketball coach Kelly Perz and Warren coach John Stanczykiewicz agree on at least two things about the round-ball sport:
- Defense wins games, so defense always comes first.
- On offense, you don’t take the first shot. You take the first good shot.
All of which serves to explain how two good teams could play a contest that ended with a score — 29-21 in favor of Carmel — that was more in line with what you’d expect from a JV contest at 9 on a Saturday morning.
This one was a battle between two nice clubs, but defense ruled the day on both sides until the closing minutes.
That’s when Carmel (9-4) closed the game on a 13-0 run to turn a 21-16 deficit into victory on Day 1 of the Warren holiday tournament.
Cassidy Llosa was Ms. Clutch for the winners, scoring all nine of her points in the fourth quarter, in which the Corsairs outscored the Devils 15-4.
Carmel’s defense forced 25 turnovers, including nine in the decisive final period.
Llosa led all scorers in the game. Kayla Quinn had eight rebounds for the winners.
Warren (6-6) got six points from Cassie Christie and 11 rebounds from Alyssa Phillips.
“We came out strong in the first half and then a lid went on the basket,” said Perz, referring to a 10-minute stretch in which the Corsairs only scored one basket. “We didn’t make strong moves to the basket and settled for outside shots.
“The fourth quarter, Cassidy made a layup (with 2:49 left to cut Warren’s lead to 21-20) and the lid came off.”
On the Warren side, Stanczykiewicz was frustrated at how the game unfolded.
“This is the same old story with us. Until our guard play improves, we are going to struggle in these situations,” he said. “We have to be more efficient on offense and limit the turnovers.
“We played so hard defensively …”
The coach also praised the work of Phillips.