One of the ways senior guard Jenna Ryan led Marist past Mother McAuley on Monday was by simply staying several steps ahead.
While a teammate was pulling down a rebound, Ryan was already three quarters of the way down the floor anticipating the long outlet pass.
For Ryan, it's a matter of trust.
“If I see M.C. (Mary Clare Brusek) or Syd (Affolter) or any of the bigs boxing out, I know that they’re going to get the rebound,” Ryan said. “Once we get it, I just go.”
She was most definitely in “go” mode all night during Marist’s 59-31 victory.
Ryan led the RedHawks (16-3) with 23 points. Kira Chivers added nine points, Brusek contributed seven points and five rebounds, and Affolter grabbed 13 rebounds.
Jenna Badali scored 16 points for Mother McAuley (12-8).
Ryan’s big game was another example of the RedHawks sharing the spotlight.
During Marist’s run to the title in the Grow the Game Tournament at Glenbard West, Affolter scored 27 points in one game and Le’Lani Harris produced 22 in another.
“Everyone on our team scores,” Ryan said. “It just depends on who’s on that night.
Ryan found other ways to beat McAuley in Monday’s annual neighborhood rivalry game.
She had three steals and turned one of them into a fast-break layup. She was 3-for-4 from 3-point range.
Racin’ Ryan kept the accelerator down.
“That girl is irreplaceable,” Marist coach Mary Pat Connolly said. “She just has energy and keeps going and going. And she knows when to take off.
“Of course, she relies on her teammates to get the rebounds. And the minute they go up, she’s taking off down the floor. Her speed is amazing.”
Another big contributor for Marist was Brusek, who’s hitting her stride after making the transition from volleyball season.
Sparking Marist’s 71-46 win over Whitney Young in the championship game at Glenbard West, the 5-foot-11 forward scored a season-high 15 points.
“Coming off of volleyball, I was obviously in a little bit of a slump,” Brusek said. “But then my teammates picked me up and everybody came together at practice. We’re all jelling well together.”
Brusek was the starting middle hitter as Marist finished third in Class 4A. She took no time off between volleyball and basketball.
It took time, but ...
“The light switch kind of went off two or three games ago,” Connolly said. “Ever since then, she has been taking the ball to the hoop, rebounding, defending — everything that a basketball player should do.”
For McAuley, the rivalry game was a struggle from the outset. The Mighty Macs fell into a 20-2 hole and couldn’t recover.
“We learn and we get better,” McAuley coach Keisha Newell said. “This wasn’t the championship game. We still have room to improve, a lot of season left.”