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Friars Freeze Cougars
Jay Mumford


As cold as it was outside on Wednesday, ice skating would’ve been a perfect activity. Inside the St. John the Baptist gym, there was plenty of skating and slipping going on, but only on the hardwood. St. Anthony’s floor general Tyla Parham was to blame.

“We look to Tyla to get her teammates involved,” said St. Anthony’s Head Coach, Ken Parham. “She’s a pass first point guard and those are hard to find.”

Whether setting up her teammates for 9 assists or burning defenders with her killer first step for 16 points, the scrappy, slick, and speedy sophomore was in full control - the Friars pounced on the Cougars for the second time this season, 56-34.

What has been the must-see game of the regular NSCHSAA season for the last few years became an old fashioned blow-out in the second half. But for the first four minutes, the game was close - at 0-0. St. Anthony’s on-the-ball pressure turned the Cougars over, but missed chip shots haunted the Friars and it took half of the first quarter for both teams to get off the donut. Once they did, the Friars went on a 7-0 run, capped by a Parham trey that made it an 11-2 game. Production in the paint from Farleigh Dickinson commit, Anastasia Williams, helped SJB put a dent in the lead, but she racked up early fouls and was seated with three before first half’s end. In her absence, future college teammate, Brianna Thomas (who scored a team high 10 points) carried the load for the Cougars, but as a unit they struggled to score and rebound.

“I wasn’t pleased [with how we played],” said SJB Head Coach, Ted Oberg. “We were missing a lot of point blank stuff and Anastasia going out [with fouls] didn’t help us.”

Meanwhile, Symone Kelly’s ownership of the boards (the Sienna-bound senior snagged a whopping 19 for the game) kept the Cougars at bay and Parham’s speedy penetration picked them apart. Extra scoring punch from Chastity Taylor (who scored a game high 17 points) helped push the Friars’ lead open in the second half, and by the time she picked off a pass for a fast break lay-up, St. Anthony’s had amassed an 18 point lead, 44-26. They would lead by as many as 23 points and held the Cougars to a mere two field goals for the second half (and none in the fourth quarter), both scored by former Friar, Lauren Williams (8 points).

“[Defensively], we just wanted to keep pressure on the ball and keep [SJB] out of the paint,” Coach Parham said. “They’re a very athletic team.”

The Cougars did get the ball inside for a few trips to the charity stripe in the fourth quarter, but their offense was stifled for the remainder of the game.

St. Anthony’s remains undefeated in league play.


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