ABSECON - Tenisha Mobley hit a jumper one minute into the game to give Holy Spirit High School, ranked No. 4 in The Press' Elite 11, a lead over St. Joseph that it never gave up.
The Spartans (9-1) won 38-22, thanks to its pressure defense.
Holy Spirit held the Wildcats without a field goal in the third quarter, outscoring them 16-2. Jade Howard and Melissa Senese each made a foul for St. Joseph.
"You can't expect to do well (with that many turnovers)," said St. Joe coach Dan McGettigan, whose team had nine turnovers in the first quarter.
Holy Spirit coach Larry DiGiovanni came into the game looking to pressure the Wildcats and cause turnovers.
"We played well defensively and kept up the pressure," Spirit point guard Sarah Marakos said. Marakos, who scored seven points, aggressively pressured the ball with the help of a full-court press for most of the game. Marakos is one part of DiGiovanni's three-guard attack.
According to DiGiovanni, she runs the offense well as the on-the-court general, and also is skilled a driving to the basket. Mobley (10 points) and Joanna Persiano round out that trio.
Persiano, a good perimeter shooter, led the Spartans in scoring with 16 points. After each of her four 3-pointers, the home crowd erupted in cheers. Persiano is a key element in the Spartans' offense and scored 11 of their 16 points in the third quarter.
DiGiovanni also stressed the importance of ball control, especially late in the game, simply stating, "If they don't have the ball, they can't get back in [the game]."
Howard scored a team-high nine points. St. Joe also got points from Molly Spadaro, Natasha Tonia, Senese, and Noel Vadino.
In spite of the disappointing loss, McGettigan said he is pleased with the progress his team has made.
"We're going to keep grinding," McGettigan said of his upcoming schedule. The Wildcats have two games with Sacred Heart, as well as ones against Wildwood Catholic and Buena in the coming weeks.
The Spartans face Pleasantville tonight in a Cape-Atlantic League National Conference Division I matchup, then travel to Middle Township on Friday.
St. Joe 6 6 2 8-22
Holy Spirit 10 9 16 3-38
SJ-Howard 4 1-5 9, Spadaro 2 0-0 4, Tonia 2 0-0 4, Senese 0 3-4 3, Vadino 1 0-0 2. Totals- 9 4-9 22
HS-Persiano 6 1-1 16, Mobley 4 2-3 10, Marakos 3 0-2 7, Bell 1 0-0 2, Clark 1 0-0 2, Sacco 0 1-2 1. Totals-15 4-8 38
3-pointers-Persiano (4), Marakos HS.
Records- St. Joe 7-2, Holy Spirit 9-1.
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