Confidence is contagious.
And right now for a Quince Orchard Lady Cougars girls’ basketball team that has won seven of its last eight games, confidence appears to have reached an epidemic stage.
The girls defeated Seneca Valley, 70-41, on Monday night, raising their record to 12-7 in a game that was never in doubt. The Lady Cougars took a 19-7 lead in the first quarter, bumped it to 36-23 at the half, and pulled away in the second stanza.
Twelve players scored for QO—three in double figures—and such was the confidence throughout the lineup that third-string players who don’t often see action were nailing threes and barreling down the lane for driving layups in the game’s closing
Senior guard Lindsey Michaels and junior forward Paige McNeal led QO’s balanced attack with 12 points each. Senior forward Destini Kelley had 10, sophomore guards Anaya Badmus and Alex Boggs each had eight, and junior guard Makayla Wright had seven, with five steals.
First-year coach Bobby Bishop attributed the team’s success to balance, depth and teamwork. The team has an 11-player rotation and gets contributions from different players virtually every game.
“Everybody’s been playing so well together,” Bishop said. “We’re sharing the ball. Using the whole team is key. Because we have rest, our starters have energy at the end of games to finish games. So, I think that’s what’s helping us, because we’re
using everybody and most teams are not as deep as we are.”
The Cougars showed similar depth and balance last Friday in beating Springbrook, 59-46. QO took a slim 17-16 lead into the locker room after Badmus made a steal and layup at the buzzer.
But they took over midway through the third period behind Wright and Michaels, with Wright sandwiching 10 points off steals and layups around a Michaels three-pointer to open a 40-26 lead, and preserved the lead in the fourth.
“I think we’ve really learned to work together more as a team,” said Michaels, echoing her coach. “Everyone played a part and that’s crucial in winning, and I think we did a great job in moving the ball, which we didn’t always do in the past but now we’ve got it down to a rhythm.”
Michaels had 18 against Springbrook, including five three-pointers, and Wright had 13.
“They’re killing it,” Bishop said of his guards. Senior forward Izzy Nicolaou contributed eight off the bench against Springbrook and Badmus seven.
Senior forward Jenna Williams had 15 rebounds for QO, continuing her year-long dominance on the glass (she had 10 rebounds against Seneca).
Wright, who’s shown an uncanny ability to finish fast breaks with driving layups, credited Bishop for his insistence that the players do fast break layup drills at every practice.
“He makes us more aggressive going up into our opponents when we get our layups,” Wright said. “All credit to Bobby.” “We get it now,” Bishop said of his team, which opened with a 5-6 record before the lightbulb seemingly ignited. “We understand how good we can be.”
The girls have three more regular season games before the playoffs begin March 1. “I think we can go as far as we want to go in the playoffs,” the coach said. “It’s up to us.”
“We just need to keep working as hard as we can,” said Michaels. But for now, it’s understandable that they are enjoying themselves.
“I was having fun,” Badmus was heard to say with a smile as she was leaving the court in the fourth quarter on Monday night.
So, it would seem, is everyone else involved with QO girls’ basketball.