By TONY EIERDAM
GRAFORD – Santo head girls basketball coach Tony Raffaele saw the big picture as he and the Ladycats began Graford Tournament play Thursday afternoon with an easy 74-15 win over Forestburg in a first-round game.
Raffaele wanted his starters – who would play limited minutes – to stay on top of their game and stayed focused even against a lesser opponent.
Raffaele also got a chance to see his bench perform as he mixed and matched with several combinations that included starters and role players.
“I told all of the girls to stay intense throughout the entire game, no matter the score,” he said. “I wanted some of the girls to play a little more to develop more confidence because the games we have coming up won’t be this way. I want them to always stay intense.”
The Ladycats were led by senior post Sarah Van Remmen, who scored a game-high 15 points and grabbed six rebounds. Sophomore guard Megan MacPherson turned in a solid performance with 14 points, while junior point guard Breeana Raffaele added nine.
The Ladycats jumped out to a 20-0 lead as Van Remmen scored eight points in the run with junior wing Chloe McGlaun adding a pair of jumpers.
Forestburg finally got on the board with 2:03 left in the opening period.
But Santo finished the quarter on a 7-0 run as MacPherson connected on a three-point bucket and another jumper, with junior guard Courtney Flanagan ending the run with a layup off a steal as the Ladycats led 27-2 after eight minutes.
Raffaele got hot in the second quarter. She scored on a layup, and a minute later canned a trey from the top of the key. She then connected on a pair of free throws to increase the lead to 38-3.
A bucket each by junior guard Payton Billue and senior post Kristy Trammell closed the first-half scoring with the Ladycats well in front, 46-6.
Forestburg, which never scored back-to-back buckets in the contest, did score seven points in the third quarter.
But Santo ended the period on a 6-2 run as Flanagan nailed a three and a free throw, and McGlaun added a baseline jumper as Santo led 61-13 after three quarters.
Santo senior wing Alyssa McKennon began the fourth period by stealing the ball and scoring on a layup, and junior post Taylor Nemeth – who finished with six rebounds to match Van Remmen – swished a pair of early jumpers.
Van Remmen nailed a three from the top of the key later in the quarter, and the Ladycats closed the scoring on a put back by Trammell.
“I liked the way our starters came out and took care of business,” Raffaele said. “They were serious about the game, and they made the opponent try to come up to our level. They didn’t, and this is what happens.”
F’BURG 2 4 7 2 – 15
SANTO 27 19 15 13 – 74
MWHS – Sarah Van Remmen 15, Megan MacPherson 14, Breeana Raffaele 9, Courtney Flanagan 8, Alyssa McKennon 8, Chloe McGlaun 6, Taylor Nemeth 6, Payton Billue 4, Kristy Trammell 4.