By Troy Mauriello
If Saturday afternoon was the first test of whether or not Mary Louis can challenge the elite teams in CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens, the Hilltoppers aced it.
Behind dominant efforts from junior Danielle Patterson and senior Jasmine Brunson, the Mary Louis girls’ basketball team pulled away in the second half for an easy 70-56 win over Bishop Loughlin at Holy Cross.
Patterson poured in 25 points, including 11 from the foul line. Brunson added 20 points of her own as she was able to get to the basket with ease most of the game
“We just came in confident,” Patterson said. “We stuck to our game plan and we didn’t let them dictate the tempo.”
Senior Skydajah Patterson scored 21 points to lead Bishop Loughlin, which placed second in the league last season. Junior Milicia “Mimi” Reid, the Lions’ leading scorer, was held to just 10 points, including only two in the second half.
Mary Louis controlled most of a sloppy first half and held a 15-8 lead after the first quarter and 30-26 going into the half.
Patterson (10 points) and eight from Brunson, who is headed to Minnesota next season, carried Mary Louis (9-2, 2-0) before the break. It could have been more with Patterson getting to the foul line 10 times in the first half, but making just four.
Loughlin (8-5, 2-2) had to consider itself lucky to be trailing by only four. The Lions struggled to score and were turning the ball over in the first quarter, before outscoring Mary Louis 18-15 in the following frame.
But the Lions would not be as lucky after halftime. Their sloppy play continued, and Mary Louis took full advantage. The Hilltoppers rolled to a 21-11 third quarter that saw their four-point lead blossom into a 14-point advantage heading into the final frame. Loughlin never cut the Mary Louis lead to any less than 12 in the fourth.
“We said that we needed to come out and definitely build on the lead,” said Mary Louis coach JoAnn Artibello-Pinnock regarding her team’s third quarter. “One of our big things was to get the ball inside and take advantage of our height.”
Although it was mainly the Patterson and Brunson show for TMLA, it did get contributions from others. Freshman Taylor Holmes had nine points, while junior Kayla Podlovits added eight, including a pair of 3-point shots.
This loss was a clear setback for Loughlin, which also lost to defending champ Christ the King after winning of five of its last seven coming in.
“They didn’t play with intensity,” said Loughlin coach Chez Williams regarding his team’s second half. “You have to sustain the same intensity into the second half, and they didn’t do that.”
Mary Louis, on the other hand, raised its level of play, but knows it can’t rest on the laurels of the big victory.
“We have to keep it going,” said Brunson said. “We have to continue to improve each game, each practice, and we’re going to continue to do that.”