Defense sparks Lady Villains past Wildcats

Feb. 01, 2013 @ 12:12 AM

When their offense wasn’t hitting, the Bishop McGuinness girls made up for it with their defense.

The Villains forced 16 turnovers and held the Wildcats to just four field goals in the first half in building a double-digit lead in the second quarter en route to a 43-27 win Thursday at home against West Stokes.

“A win at this point in the season is very important,” Bishop coach Brian Robinson said. “It keeps up in the top half of our conference and comes against a team that’s playing really well right now, even though its record might not show it. So, I’m glad we got this win. …

“I just thought we got in their passing lanes, deflected some passes and that got us into our offense and allowed us to get some layups," he said of building the early lead. "And in a game like this, where you’re having trouble scoring, any layup that you can get at any time is like gold.”

Olivia DeFrancesco scored 13 points to lead the Villains (11-6, 8-2 Northwest 1A/2A), who have won seven straight NCHSAA 1A state titles. Tia Cappuccio scored 12 while Julia Brown added 11.

Bishop McGuinness scored nine of the game’s first 10 points and forced West Stokes into turnovers on its first eight possessions. It led 9-5 after the first quarter and outscored the Wildcats 20-6 in the second — including an 18-2 run — to lead 29-11 at halftime.

“We played really well on defense,” DeFrancesco said. “We were hustling a lot more, we played hard the entire game, and it really benefitted us. … It felt really good because we really haven’t played as well in the first half as we have been.”

The Villains stretched their lead to as large as 20 midway through the third quarter, leading 35-20 heading to the fourth. West Stokes (7-10, 3-8), which was led by Chris Madigan with 11 points, got as close as 13 early in the fourth before Bishop closed it out.

“We’re starting to get things on track,” DeFrancesco said. “We’re still working on things in practice. But we’re getting there.”

Bishop plays again tonight at home against Winston-Salem Prep at 6:15.