Irish improve to 6-1Several times this season, Rosemount girls basketball coach Sam McDonald has praised his team’s composure and ability to close out games. So when the Irish were struggling early against St. Paul Johnson last week, there was no panic. Rosemount had overcome tougher stretches already this season.
By: Brian Hall, Rosemount Town Pages
Several times this season, Rosemount girls basketball coach Sam McDonald has praised his team’s composure and ability to close out games.
So when the Irish were struggling early against St. Paul Johnson last week, there was no panic. Rosemount had overcome tougher stretches already this season.
When the Irish got to the locker room for halftime, McDonald just reaffirmed what the team was trying to do and to stick with what has worked so far this season.
“We were struggling with our shooting and defense in the first half,” McDonald said. “We were rebounding OK, taking care of the ball for the most part. We just couldn’t get the ball to go in. I was kind of surprised we had 27 points the way we were shooting.
“We have good enough shooters that I knew we would turn it around. We needed to keep everything else in check. We had to step up our defense to help our shooting woes.”
The players and coaches were calm at halftime, facing a 31-27 deficit. It was calm, but there was certainly intensity. The Irish came back to win 68-53 last week at St. Paul Johnson.
“I was extremely impressed with our second half,” McDonald said. “I challenged them at half. The second half was very important for us in proving to ourselves that we can overcome low shooting through defense, rebounding and keeping the turnovers low.”
Rosemount outscored Johnson 41-22 in the second half to win for the sixth time in seven games this season. The Irish overcame a 38 percent shooting night from the field. They shot 18 percent from three-point territory.
Rosemount helped make up for poor shooting from the field by shooting 17 of 24 from the free throw line.
Elaine Warner had her second straight 20-point outing with 24 points, 12 rebounds and three steals.
Sara Feeser scored 18 points. Ashley Roup added seven points, four rebounds, and two blocks.
“Our man-to-man, half-court defense really turned the game around in the first five minutes of the second half and we took off from there,” McDonald said.
It was just another sign of the poise his players exhibit.
“They are very composed and do a good job with that,” McDonald said. “I am very pleased with the leadership in those areas.”
At 6-1 heading into one final game this week before the holiday break, McDonald believes his team has surpassed expectations.
“They certainly have, record-wise, exceeded our expectations to a certain degree,” McDonald said. “For me personally however, I believe they can play at this level all along and strive for them to play at their full potential and they’re doing that at a high level. We’re doing a really good job of taking that momentum and trying to roll into the conference play, which is by far the best girls basketball conference in the state.”
In the Dec. 16 coaches’ association poll, Lake Conference teams held the top four spots and five of the top eight positions in the rankings. That doesn’t even include the 6-1 Irish, which have a better record than No. 8 Eastview (3-2).