HONOLULU – For Marshall County, it was a trip to paradise.
The Lady Marshals basketball team steamrolled local opposition in pool play and then took care of another visitor from the mainland, St. Thomas Aquinas of Lindsay, Ontario, to win the championship of the St. Francis Merv Lopes Classic in suburban Honolulu on the island of Oahu.
In the title game Saturday at Manoa Valley District Gymnasium, Marshall County dispatched the Canadians 54-36.
That was as close as the Lady Marshals came to getting beat. In pool play Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, Marshall County won by scores of 53-25, 66-10 and 67-26.
“It was a good experience,” coach Joseph Simmons said. “I’m proud for our girls. Our theme was ‘capture the island’ and we were able to do that.”
The Lady Marshals move on to another holiday tournament later this week, the Dairy Queen Classic in Owensboro.
In the championship game Saturday, tournament MVP Taylor Meadows got the Lady Marshals off to a quick start with a three-point shot just 15 seconds into the game. The rest of the contest was not exactly a runaway like the three pool-play victories, but Marshall County never lost the lead.
It was 11-8 at the first quarter stop, 26-19 at halftime and 44-27 after three periods. Meadows led the way with 18 points, followed by Mariah McKenty with 11 and Alyssa Barnard with 10.
But the Fighting Saints hung tough early. Tessa McDonnell cut the lead to 3-2 shortly after Meadows’ game-opening trey and after McKenty nailed a three-pointer, Vanessa Botteselle scored to make it 6-4, a mere two-point margin with nearly half the period gone.
Twice more St. Thomas Aquinas cut the lead to two, the last time on a jumper by Kathryn Mockler that made it 10-8 with 1:40 on the clock. Bailey Greer hit one of two free throws with 34 seconds left to give the Lady Marshals their three-point margin at the buzzer.
The Lady Marshals began to pull away, but in small increments. McKenty drove the baseline and scored to make it 13-8 just 20 seconds into the period and Meadows added a steal and layup to push the lead to 15-8 at the 7:18 mark.
Kyra Butalid hit one of two free throws and a putback by Valerie Schmidt drew STA back to within four, and the sequence continued, with Marshall County pulling out to a lead and St. Thomas surging back to cut away some of it, but gradually slipping further and further behind.
The Lady Marshals outscored their opponents by 10 in the third period to run the margin to 17 and then coasted to the win in the final eight minutes.
In contrast to the first three periods, when Marshall County struck within seconds after the clock started, the Lady Marshals opened the final period in a deliberate offense, refusing to attack the Saints’ zone defense.
After 2-1/2 minutes, Saints coach Anthony Beyrouti was whistled for a technical foul, apparently because he threw water onto the floor to get the clock stopped.
Meadows missed both technical free throws, but the lead never shrank below 14 points the rest of the way. A pair of free throws by Meadows made it a 20-point bulge at 52-32 with 1:32 left in the game.
Schmidt was the leading scorer for STA with eight points.
Meadows scored 50 points in four games despite getting only five in the second pool game to earn MVP honors. She also won the free-throw contest in the skills competition that opened the event.
McKenty won the three-point shooting competition and was named to the all-tournament team, along with Alex Brown.
Marshall Co. 11 26 44 54
St. Thomas A. 8 19 27 36
MARSHALL CO.: Taylor Meadows 18, Mariah McKenty 11, Toni Fehrenbacher 2, Alex Brown 3, Alyssa Barnard 10, Bailey Greer 5, Claire Waggoner 1, Maryanna Frazier, Melissa Ross, Niki Fehrenbacher, Michaela Manley 1, Amanda Bailey, Kinslee Cross, Rachael Reed 3
ST. THOMAS: Vanessa Botteselle 6, Valerie Schmidt 8, Tessa McDonnell 7, Amelia Williams 4, Angela Clarke, Kyra Butalid 1, Kathryn Mockler 2, Emily Thorpe 2, Celine Reyes 2, Cammie Tioseco 4, Taylor Prescott
MC 67, Punahou 26
The Lady Marshals wrapped up pool play with a perfect record with an easy win over Punahou, the alma mater of President Barack Obama and Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o
The Punahou squad included Te’o’s sister, Eden, who scored four points.
Taylor Meadows hit two three-point shots and Toni Fehrenbacher had a steal and a layup to push the Lady Marshals to an 8-0 lead. Hollianne Kaheke Martinson got the first points for Punahou with a pair of free throws at the 7:05 mark.
Martinson scored back-to-back baskets to pull the Buffanblu to within four points at 10-6 near the midway point of the opening quarter, but that was as close as they would get, as Marshall County ran out to a 27-6 lead at the quarter stop with 17 unanswered points.
Meadows was again the leading scorer for Marshall County with 10.
Punahou 6 12 20 26
Marshall Co. 27 37 51 67
PUNAHOU: Kelly Honda 5, Marquez Lauren Lakea 1, Arianna Hashimoto 2, Hollianne Kaheke Martinson 6, Eden Te’o 4, Melissa Nakamoto, Tayler Higgins, Megan Lau 4, Ashley Mae Talion, Kayla Amano, Juliet Von Rohr, Amy Gangloff, Kasey Li, Emily Young, Vanessa Va’a 4
MARSHALL CO.: Taylor Meadows 10, Mariah McKenty 5, Toni Fehrenbacher 8, Alex Brown 8, Alyssa Barnard 10, Bailey Greer 7, Claire Waggoner, Maryanna Frazier 3, Melissa Ross 3, Niki Fehrenbacher, Michaela Manley 3, Amanda Bailey, Kinslee Cross, Rachael Reed 3
Christian Academy 10
All 14 players on the roster scored in the Lady Marshals’ second game Thursday. Rachael Reed led the parade with 11 points.
In contrast, Christian Academy had a short bench and only three of eight players put points in the scorebook. Briana Rodrigues was high scorer with six.
Marshall County led 17-2 after one quarter and shut out their opponents in the second period 18-0 to lead 35-2.
Marshall Co. 17 35 46 66
Christian Acad. 2 2 6 10
MARSHALL CO.: Taylor Meadows 5, Mariah McKenty 4, Toni Fehrenbacher 4, Alex Brown 6, Alyssa Barnard 8, Bailey Greer 2, Claire Waggoner 4, Maryanna Frazier 6, Melissa Ross 3, Niki Fehrenbacher 4, Michaela Manley 4, Amanda Bailey 3, Kinslee Cross 2, Rachael Reed 11
CHRISTIAN ACADEMY: Rhea Elcock, Claudeth Ann Teruel, Charanne Bonilla, Heavenlee Asato 2, Briana Rodrigues 6, Andrale Domligan 2, Bethany Agcaoli, Rebecca Abergas
Hawaii Baptist 25
The Lady Marshals rolled to a 53-25 victory in the opening game Wednesday morning.
Marshall County led 23-14 at halftime, expanded the advantage to 10 points midway in the third period at 29-19 and outscored Hawaii Baptist 17-3 in the final period to win going away.
Taylor Meadows scored 17 points for the winners. Hayley Dixon led Hawaii Baptist with 10.
Marshall Co. 12 23 36 53
Hawaii Bap. 6 14 22 25
MARSHALL CO.: Taylor Meadows 17, Mariah McKenty 8, Toni Fehrenbacher, Alex Brown 1, Alyssa Barnard 6, Bailey Greer 5, Claire Waggoner 2, Maryanna Frazier, Melissa Ross, Niki Fehrenbacher, Michaela Manley 4, Amanda Bailey 2, Kinslee Cross 1, Rachael Reed 7
HAWAII BAPTIST: Sara Utsugi, Stephanie Dang 3, Hayley Dixon 10, Megan Horita 4, Jenee’ Brown 6, Jennifer Gonsalves, Kelsey Bajet, Nicole Lopes, Torie Miyoi, Kainani Gruspe, Rylie Wada, Lauren Sumida, Dominique Hart, Jaryn Ramos, Hailey Chong, Kelly Lum