Take the good with the bad
MICHIGAN CITY — It wasn’t the prettiest of performances for Class A No. 1 Marquette against Class 3A No. 15 Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger following a full week of practice after their demolition of Michigan City last Saturday.
Blazers coach Katie Collignon looked more relieved than satisfied even after her bunch dispatched the Saints 75-41 for their sixth consecutive victory in seven games.
“Those are the tough ones,” Collignon said. “You’re happy with the result and with the score, but you’re not happy with the way we played overall. I thought we were very sloppy on the offensive end and never really got into a rhythm and our groove. Kudos to (Dwenger). They did a good job on that end. I did think we came out a bit sluggish. I think our weeks of practice have finally caught up to us.”
The Blazers have played in just four games since Nov. 16 — including Saturday’s win — and Collignon noted a lack of energy compared to the past few games for a reason they only led 20-11 after the opening frame ended following a lightning-quick 9-0 start inside of the games opening three minutes.
On top of the sluggish finish to the first quarter, star forward Emma Nolan picked up two early fouls, leading to Collignon calling on state title game hero Ally McConnell to provide a spark off the Blazer bench and she delivered with 10 points and eight rebounds.
“She always does a good job of bringing energy and running the floor for us,” Collignon said. “She’ll work hard for you every time out and she does a good job making the extra passes and scoring the ball down low when the ball goes into her. She’s done a good job all year so far coming in and helping when (Emma and Sophia) are in foul trouble or their legs are tired.”
The uber-bubbly and energetic McConnell was simply excited not only to play extended minutes to provide a burst, but was happy to just be playing in a game again after a couple of long layoffs between games.
“It’s really exciting to be back out here again,” McConnell said. “We didn’t have games all week again this week after (last) Saturday and it was just great to be playing in an actual game. It’s nice because we’re able to see what we need to work on in game situations in practice and just get ready for next week and so on.”
With McConnell providing her enthusiasm and spark in the second, Emma Nolan returned to action in a big way, scoring a game-high 27 points, while sister Sophia continued to build on her lead atop the school’s all-time scoring list with 25 more points after her 38-point explosion last weekend. It wasn’t just scoring 52 of Marquette’s 71 for the twin towers. They did it all for the Blazers, racking up 18 rebounds and eight assists betweeen them to go along with Emma’s four steals.
“I thought they both had a very good box score night overall,” Collignon said. “They’re always going to fill that sheet up every night pretty well. I thought they did a good job after we talked about some adjustments we made after the first quarter. I thought they both did a great job. I don’t know how many steals Emma had, but to be able to get that kind of production from your scorers is fantastic.”