HARD TO HANDLE — Delone Catholic’s Gianna Hoddinott takes a shot in the paint during Monday’s home game against Bermudian Springs. Hoddinott finished with 22 points in a 63-34 Squirette victory.

Though it was far from picture perfect, the Delone Catholic girls’ basketball team laid down a marker on Monday night.

Despite struggling to shoot early and some uncharacteristically sloppy play, the Squirettes pulled away from visiting Bermudian Springs in the second half for a commanding 63-34 YAIAA victory.

“We just kept pushing the pace and the shots started to fall,” Delone guard Giana Hoddinott said after the game. “The more we scored the more their guards got a bit defeated. We just kept scoring and kept getting turnovers and kept building the lead.”

Hoddinott finished the contest with a game-high 22 points to go along with nine rebounds, five steals and four assists.

Early in the contest it appeared the Squirettes (1-0 YAIAA-3, 2-0 overall) would run away with it. They forced four turnovers on Bermudian’s first four possessions and jumped out to an 11-2 lead midway through the quarter.

That lead ballooned out to 20-8 after the opening frame before Bailey Oehmig began to take initiative for the Eagles.

Oehmig and senior Avery Benzel, who was the first player off the bench for Bermudian, did everything they could to will Bermudian back into the contest. The pair combined for 15 first-half points, including Benzel’s four-point play to pull the visitors within eight at 28-20 at half.

“They settled in a little bit there in the second half and we just missed too many easy ones,” Delone coach Gerry Eckenrode said. “I was extremely happy with everything we did in the first half, we just missed too many layups. It seemed like last year when we played them we did the same thing. I told them at half, I said ‘we’ve got to finish those layups.’”

Not only did the Squirettes start making layups in the third quarter, they started to make seemingly everything.

It began with four quick points for Makenna Mummert, who finished the game with eight. Then Hoddinott went on a spurt of her own, and Abby Jacoby notched five of her eight points in the frame. Before you knew it the scoreboard read 41-22 after a 13-2 run to start the second half.

“We started making layups and I think that gave them a lot of confidence,” Eckenrode said. “That’s when the shots really started falling and when we’re hitting shots it’s tough to play against because of how aggressive we are on defense.”

Eckenrode also praised Hoddinott’s efficiency, as the junior’s 22 points came on just 13 field goal attempts, including a 4 for 4 performance at the foul line.

“She’s just a really solid basketball player,” he said. “She lets the game come to her and on top of that I thought her defense was fantastic tonight.”

By the end of the third quarter, Delone had built a 48-26 lead on the back of a 20-6 run over the course of the eight minutes.

From there, the Squirettes saw it out comfortably, pushing the lead out for 53-32 before pulling their starters with just under four minutes to play.

The win gives Delone two in two to start the season against 2020 state qualifiers, something Hoddinott says is import in this condensed season.

“It’s definitely a great start to have these games against good competition,” she said. “It gets us ready for districts and some of the better teams we’ll see moving up a class. We definitely these good games.”

Kaitlin Schwarz and Meredith Wilson both provided strong minutes for the Squirettes off the bench, combing for 14 points. Meanwhile, the hosts held Eagles star Hannah Chenault to just one point in the contest.

Oehmig’s 13 paced Bermudian, while both Benzel and Lillian Peters followed with six points apiece.

Delone will try to make it a perfect 3-0 start on Wednesday when it heads to Hanover, while the Eagles will look to bounce back as it plays host to Fairfield.

Bermudian Springs 11 9 8 6 — 34

Delone Catholic 20 8 20 15 — 63

Bermudian Springs (34): Avery Benzel 2 1-1 6, Leah Bealmear 1 0-0 2, Lily Labune 0 4-4 4, Lillian Peters 2 2-2 6, Bailey Oehmig 4 4-5 13, Hannah Chenault 0 1-2 1, Sarah Keller 1 0-0 2. Non-scorers: Speelman, Durbin. Totals: 10 12-14 34.

Delone Catholic (63): Abigael Vingsen 2 0-0 5, Abby Jacoby 3 0-0 8, Giana Hoddinott 8 4-4 22, Ella Hughes 1 0-0 2, Meredith Wilson 2 2-2 6, Makenna Mummert 4 0-0 8, Maggie Hughes 1 0-0 2, Kaitlin Schwarz 3 2-4 8, Emily McCann 1 0-0 2. Non-scorers: Miller. Totals: 25 8-10 63.

3-pointers: Bermudian: Oehmig 1, Benzel 1. Delone Catholic: Hoddinott 2, Jacoby 2, Vingsen 1.

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