By Laura Amato
It wasn’t going to happen again.
The Christ the King girl’s basketball team was not about to lose to The Mary Louis Academy again – and certainly not at home. The Royals simply were not going to allow it.
Christ the King avenged its early-season miscues against the Hilltoppers last Friday, rallying late to grab a 67-57 victory in overtime.
“They really blew us out the first game and it really hurt all of us,” said sophomore guard Kaelynn Satterfield, who finished with a team-high 26 points. “We knew we didn’t play our best. So we came out and did what we had to do.”
Mary Louis came out firing on all cylinders early – sparked by a dominant full-court press that forced Christ the King into quick passes, tough shots and turnovers.
That, however, changed at halftime.
“They were just a step quicker, I thought, in the first half,” Christ the King coach Bob Mackey said. “So I thought we did a real good job in the second half, getting to the boards and controlling the tempo. I thought we did really well defensively.”
The Royals settled into a 2-3 zone – sparked by Julianna Lignowski and Brandy Thomas – while Satterfield led the offense, determined to push the ball inside.
“We’re a very big team, so we just had to get the right position,” Satterfield said. “The first half, I was taking my shots, they just weren’t falling. I wasn’t going to stop. I just kept going.”
Christ the King took its first lead of the night on a Satterfield bucket with 19 seconds remaining in the third quarter and the shot was enough to give the Royals that extra boost of confidence down the stretch.
Of course, Mary Louis didn’t go down without a fight. The Hilltoppers clawed back to take a three-point lead after Christ the King grabbed a six-point cushion midway through the fourth when Jordan Nixon sank a pair of free throws with 1:32 left.
Nina Richards answered on the very next play, draining a nothing-but-net three-pointer to knot the game at 52 and send the CHSAA tilt into overtime.
“That’s just something I do,” Richards said. “Today I think we stepped up as a team and we played good together.”
Christ the King seized control in overtime, opening on a 10-1 run. The Royals defense was the key in extra time, swarming the ball and slowing down Mary Louis’ potent scoring threats.
“Stop by stop, that’s what we said,” Richards said. “We’ve got to get a stop and then just score.”
The victory eases some of the pain of the Royals’ earlier loss, but as far as this team is concerned, this is only the beginning. The goal, still, is a championship and while the victory is a step in the right direction, there’s still plenty of work to do.
“I think we’re a little behind where I expected to be,” Mackey said. “I thought it was going to take 20 minutes. Guess what, it’s still in the pot for 30. The question is does it stay on the stove, do you take it off, when do you take it off? That’s the fun part.”