Kayla Solomon, St. Mary's freshman, right, gets pressured by Emma...

Kayla Solomon, St. Mary's freshman, right, gets pressured by Emma Frohne of Sacred Heart during a CHSAA girls basketball game at Sacred Heart on Friday. Credit: James Escher

Kayla Solomon yelled “boom” at halfcourt after swishing a deep three-pointer in the fourth quarter for St. Mary’s. She gave the Gaels a four-point lead.

Next possession, she lined up another triple, extracting a roar from teammates and fans as the team increased its lead to seven.

“As soon as I shot it, I knew it was going in,” Solomon said. “So I just got ready to say 'boom' again.”

Solomon, a freshman, scored 29 points to lead St. Mary’s to a 56-46 CHSAA win over Sacred Heart on the road. Taryn Barbot added 17 points for the Gaels.

St. Mary’s (19-4, 13-0) never trailed, but Sacred Heart (12-6, 7-5) did tie the game 37-37 late in the third quarter. Excluding the first quarter and second half of the fourth, the Gaels’ lead was at most six points.

“We were talking to them during the timeout that you have to play defense,” St. Mary’s coach Kevin White said. “We were allowing them to do whatever they wanted. For the two- to three-minute period at the end of the first and the two- to three-minute period at the end of the fourth, they locked down defensively. Our defense generates our offense.”

The Gaels moved the ball swiftly around the perimeter and into the low and high post. Taylor Barbot, Taryn’s twin sister, conducted the offense, remaining poised no matter the lead. Even when shots weren’t falling, Taylor Barbot generated consistent chances to go with her six points.

Solomon took advantage of each opportunity. Her two momentum-shifting three-pointers from well behind the arc exhibited her booming confidence. She knocked down a total of five three-pointers.

White said Solomon has the green light to shoot whenever and wherever as long as she has her feet under her and is in rhythm.

“Once Kayla makes one, it’s downhill,” White said. “She’ll step back another foot every time, and I’m fine with that.”

Solomon doesn’t just shoot three-pointers, she’s adept at driving to the rim and finishing with either hand. She’s aware of her abilities, which adds to her confidence.

“The older I get, I just know that my talents and skills are very high,” Solomon said. “So, I just need to keep shooting even if I’m missing. I just need to keep my head up high.”

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