The last time the Allen Park Cabrini Monarchs and the Pioneers of Riverview Gabriel Richard hooked up, it was a 28-point steamrolling by Cabrini on its home floor. On Monday, the scene shifted to Richard for the two Catholic League Rivals.
It was a much closer game than the first meeting, but it the Monarchs pulled away in the second half and went on to win by a score of 50-33, sweeping the season series from the Pioneers.
It was a relatively close contest for much of the first half, aside from a late Cabrini run to give the team a nine-point lead, 28-19, at halftime.
The third quarter ultimately proved to be the difference, where the Monarchs held Richard to just a single field goal and increased their lead to 18. The two teams basically played to a stalemate in the fourth, with the Pioneers being +1 in that frame, but the damage had been done.
Cabrini Coach Mike Rozanski talked about after the game how his team was able to get going right from the opening tip.
“We typically rely on generating offense, off our defense,” Rozanski said. “In the first half, I thought we were able to pressure them and open the lead up some. The best part was having one foul, so we played well position-wise.”
“This is a natural rivalry given the proximity of the two schools,” Rozanski said. “(Pioneers Coach Laura Guzman), she has a very young team. A part of me was worried our team would not be totally focused mentally coming in, playing on this floor is challenging enough for anyone.”
Rozanski said he especially liked what Abigail Burke did down low. Burke, the only senior on the floor for either team, was the only one in double-figures, with 14 points. Her teammate Rebecca Cwiek chipped in with eight points.
Despite the outcome, Guzman said she was pleased with the way her team fought on Monday night.
“I thought from the first time we played Cabrini to now is 100 percent improvement,” Guzman said. “Their press game gave us a lot of trouble in that first meeting, thought we handled it much better. Tonight though, was just a matter of making shots and staying under control.”
“Playing for confidence has been a huge thing for us,” Guzman added. “Slowing down and letting the game come to us. I think sometimes being young, you tend to force things and panic – It’s just about getting better as a team, starting with all 13 players. Every night, every girl has to do something positive. We’re getting there, just maybe not as fast as I would like.”
For Gabriel Richard, Annie Payette led the way with nine points, while Tanya Moaikel added eight points.
The two teams could meet again this season, if they both advance to the March 3 Class C, Division 72 championship at Richard.