Mei-Lyn Bautista helps balanced St. Mary's stay unbeaten
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St. Mary's put its entire arsenal on display in the first quarter of Thursday's game at Kellenberg, showing why the Gaels remain unbeaten atop the CHSAA.
Exhibiting balance on both ends of the court, St. Mary's scored 15 unanswered points through the first five minutes of the game and cruised to a 67-43 victory.
"I like when we play like a team. We move the ball around and everyone gets shots up," St. Mary's forward Jordan Agustus said. "We're a defensive team and our hard work paid off."
Agustus and Alyssa James' dominance in the paint, Jasmine Bryant's and McKayla Hernandez's tenacious defense and hustle and Mei-Lyn Bautista's impressive ball skills set the tone for St. Mary's (9-0).
Hernandez opened the game with a putback after a miss and a steal and layup in the first minute to make it 4-0. Bautista then nailed a three-pointer and from there started feeding Agustus in the post with an array of pinpoint passes that inflated the Gaels' lead.
Agustus scored eight of her 10 points in the quarter and Bryant also scored each of her 10 points before the break. Bryant's quick hands on the perimeter and James' ability to block shots forced eight Kellenberg turnovers during the 15-0 run and helped give St. Mary's a 24-6 lead after one quarter and a 44-21 advantage at the half.
"We work hard in practice and wanted to show it on the court," Bryant said. "Everybody played together and we're about defense. We're a defensive team and we showed it."
Bautista remained in control in the third quarter, giving St. Mary's its largest lead on a no-look pass in transition to a cutting Elizabeth Limonta, whose layup made it 59-29 with 2:11 to go in the period.
Bautista finished with nine points, six assists and five steals, Hernandez had 10 points and four steals and James had 11 rebounds and three blocks. Agustus added seven rebounds and three blocks and Bryant had a team-high five steals.
Candace Belvedere had a game-high 14 points for Kellenberg (5-4).