Missed opportunity for St. Paul girls in loss to Holy Cross

Brigid Johndrow knocks down a three-point shot late in the fourth quarter. Johndrow led St. Paul with 16 points.

At the end of the first quarter of Friday night’s game inside The Pit, St. Paul girls basketball led the hosts from Holy Cross 21-12.
Several times, the Falcons beat the Crusader press down the court. St. Paul was also making Holy Cross work for its shots while getting relatively easy looks on the offensive end.
The last three quarters provided several problems that comprised a 24-minute nightmare. A lack of made field goals, some costly turnovers and too many offensive rebounds given up brought about an end to St. Paul’s undefeated start to the season. Holy Cross won the game 59-50 and improved to 12-1. The Falcons fell to 10-1, but had to feel like they could have been 11-0.
Brigid Johndrow led St. Paul with 16 points, including a blistering 11-of-12 at the foul line. Janessa Gonzalez had 10 points, but struggled, something that hasn’t happened often this season so far for the freshman. Still, at points Gonzalez showed why she will be a terror in the NVL for the next three-plus years.

Janessa Gonzalez may have struggled Friday night, but she will
be a terror in the NVL over the next three-plus years.

St. Paul led 29-26 at halftime and seven players had scored, led by six points from Chantell Lopez. Gonzalez and Alexandria Mourges had five points while Johndrow and Amelia Sanchez added four points apiece.
A disturbing trend started in the second quarter that helped Holy Cross get back into the game. The Falcons couldn’t buy a basket, be it a lay-up or an open three-point look. St. Paul didn’t make a field goal in the second quarter, scoring all eight of its points on free throws.
The trend continued in the second half, where the Falcons made just three field goals. Molly Hooks grabbed an offensive rebound and scored in the third quarter. Gonzalez made a lay-up with 2:46 left in the fourth quarter, then Johndrow drained a 3-pointer in the final minute.
During those three quarters, St. Paul did get to the foul line and convert 14 shots. The problem was they couldn’t get any other points.
Give credit to the Holy Cross defense, which turned up the intensity. St. Paul fans would also argue that their team got the raw end of the deal on some calls. Still, three field goals in three quarters doesn’t help win a game, and neither does giving the other team second and third chances.
The Falcons weren’t happy with the result, but they did play with a whole bunch of energy throughout. When St. Paul gets out and runs, it is an absolutely dangerous basketball team. Gonzalez and Johndrow are a dangerous 1-2 punch pushing the ball up the floor. Both are aggressive at attacking the basket, and so are others like Mourges, Sanchez and Lopez.
The Falcons also have some good size.
Another point: A bunch of St. Paul players are young in terms of varsity experience. The Falcons are going through some growing pains, and you can bet they will be better because of this loss.
You can also bet St. Paul will work on lay-ups and boxing out in practice at it gets ready for next week’s games. The Falcons host Derby on Tuesday, travel to Wolcott Friday, then play at home against Pomperaug in a makeup game on Saturday.