Villa Angela-St. Joseph was impressive on both ends of the floor and continued a strong start to the 2014-2015 campaign in a home win over rival Cleveland Central Catholic, 52-29, on Jan. 17.
Behind a suffocating defensive effort and an effective offensive attack, VASJ improved to 10-3 on the season.
It was the Vikings’ second in a row after losing a tough game to league opponent St. Thomas Aquinas on Jan. 10.
The Ironmen didn’t score their first point until the 1:42 mark of the first quarter, on a pair of free throws by Claire Foley. By that point, multi-sport standout senior Toni Beuck had fueled the Vikings offense, pushing them to a 9-0 lead. Her pair of 3-pointers in the first quarter helped VASJ to a 12-2 lead.
“Toni has been solid for us all year. When she gets it going, she can fill it up a little bit. Usually if she hits the first couple shots, it’s going to be a good night for her. It kind of transitions and leads to more motivation on defense for her,” VASJ coach Anthony Redding told the News-Herald. “It was nice to see. What can I say? She’s a big-time player for us.”
While Beuck finished with nine points, the Vikings were paced by McGhee, who had 14.
McGhee keyed a second-quarter run to held VASJ to an 18-point halftime lead.
“(Mariah) is a catalyst for us. She’s a four-year starter, leading scorer, one of our team captains. It’s kind of been most of the time, as she goes, we go. I think it’s something about Cleveland Central Catholic that brings out a little more fire in her as well,” Redding said.
“We had a little setback at Aquinas. I’m a little disappointed that we let a league game go. When they made a push we lost our composure. We’re still trying to regain that. We’re just trying to regain some composure and grow up as a group. We’re definitely loaded with a ton of talented girls. We have to continue to roll up our sleeves and go to work every day and continue to try to get better defensively.”
Aysia Kemp added six points in the win for the Vikings.