Scotus Central Catholic girls basketball found a shooting touch in the second quarter, two players scored in double figures and the Shamrocks snapped a brief two-game skid with a 46-24 win over visiting Norfolk Catholic on Tuesday night.
Scotus ended 2018 with an eighth straight Columbus Holiday Tournament championship but went cold in two losses to begin the New Year, losing at York and then Wahoo Neumann.
But the 'Rocks managed just 30 points in one loss and 23 in the other, had trouble handling the basketball and then turned it over fewer than 10 times and hit on 43 percent of their shots in a bounce back win Tuesday night.
Three 3-pointers in four straight possessions proved to be the crucial stretch early in the second quarter. It was part of 11 straight points that gave SCC the lead to stay.
Scotus stretched it to a 33-22 lead for the final eight minutes, then only allowed two fourth-quarter points. Though that put the game away, hitting better than 10 for 25 from the free throw line would have ended it much quicker.
"We played two really good teams, and we probably didn't play our best those two games. We played really good the first half in the Neumann game, and we needed to carry that over to this game," senior Abbie Zoucha said. "We knew Norfolk had a good team, and if we played good defense we'd shut them down and get the win."
Zoucha had nine, coming one point short of three Shamrocks in double figures. Camille Pelan led with 17, while Courtney Kosch had 10.
Kosch started the second-quarter surge with the first 3 from the left wing. Pelan followed with another on the next possession. Kosch swiped away a steal, forced a foul and sank the two free throws. Then Pelan sank another 3 to turn an 11-6 Norfolk Catholic lead into a 17-11 Scotus advantage midway through the second quarter.
"It was a big win because we've had a few rough games. It was a great, get back right kind of game," coach Jarrod Ridder said. "I thought that we played well too, which is important.
"We played well defensively, and did some nice things offensively, too."
Defensively, Scotus forced 16 turnovers, only converted those into six points, but limited Norfolk Catholic possessions and only allowed four made shots after halftime.
It was a third straight game without starting sophomore Kamryn Chohon, who is still recovering from an illness. Her main replacement, Chloe Odbert, has filled Chohon's defensive role nicely, according to Ridder.
"Chloe's been taking her spot on the post, and she's done a really good job down there," he said. "She's done a nice job the last few games and rebounded the ball well."
With Chohon expected to be out at least another week, Scotus will likely face the road game at Lincoln Christian on Jan. 11 without her, and may miss her as well four nights later at North Bend.
Regardless, those with Scotus are confident the best is still ahead, regardless of who is or is not in the lineup.
"We definitely have stretches that we play well, but other than that, the first half against Neumann, we always come back to that as one of our best," Zoucha said. "We've just got to carry that into a full, 32-minute game.
"We're still working toward our best. There will be games to come where we'll find it."
Nate Tenopir is the sports editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org