By Laura Amato
GLENS FALLS — The Mary Louis Academy picked the worst possible night to stage a slump.
The Hilltoppers struggled from the opening tip to the final buzzer, unable to get into any sort of rhythm on either side of the ball en route to a 59-31 loss to South Shore in the NYS Federation “A” final at the Glens Falls Civic Center March 25.
“It wasn’t our day,” Mary Louis coach JoAnn Arbitello-Pinnock said. “I think we came out and we needed a lot more intensity to play against South Shore. I think we sat back a lot and even when we got into the man-to-man we didn’t really defend the way we needed to.”
Mary Louis was unable to grab any kind of momentum early, notching just four points in the first eight minutes of play – each from Notre Dame-bound star Danielle Patterson.
It didn’t get much better in the second. South Shore’s 2-3 zone gave the Hilltoppers fits, forcing them to simply swing the ball from corner to corner before settling for less-than-ideal looks from the outside.
“We just couldn’t get into the flow tonight,” Arbitello-Pinnock said. “And I think South Shore did a great job of [forcing] that.”
The Hilltoppers went into the break facing a 19-point deficit, but the squad did its best to find some sort of second wind heading into the third quarter.
Mary Louis made it a 12-point game with 4:40 left in the period – on a Jordan Nixon three-point play – but that was as close as the squad would get. South Shore responded by wrapping up the third on a 13-5 run.
It was a frustrating showing for a Mary Louis squad that prided itself on doing all the little things throughout the regular season. This time, however, the Hilltoppers struggled to match South Shore’s intensity, failing to haul in offensive rebounds or loose balls.
“I was not [surprised by the physicality] and I tried to explain to the girls that it’s going to be a very physical game,” Arbitello-Pinnock said. “More physical than any other game we’ve played this year. I think that did hurt us a little bit too.”
Patterson finished with a team-high 16 points, but it wasn’t enough, as only six Hilltoppers put points on the board.
The loss was far from what the Hilltoppers expected in their final game of the season and there was no way for the squad to mask their disappointment. Still, Mary Louis did its best to focus on the positives, particularly when looking at the season.
The Hilltoppers won a city title and will return a good chunk of their starting lineup next year. It hurts now, but as far as Mary Louis is concerned, the future is bright.
“I told them to keep your heads up,” Arbitello-Pinnock said. “My seniors have been great. What you can’t take away from us is we did win three championships before stepping on the court tonight. It’s the first time the school accomplished that and we’ll be back next year.