Jacqueline Schoninger couldn’t wipe the smile off her face. Her beaming grin had as much to do with the final score as how her team got there.
“We felt like [Dalton] was the team with the most energy, for us to beat them with our heart it means a lot to me,” the Eagles star senior said. “Especially since we had a meeting about that, this is crazy.”
Fieldston put together its most balanced and determined performance of the season in a 58-38 rout of host Dalton in Ivy League girls basketball Wednesday afternoon. It was the Eagles’ second straight win with a tweaked starting lineup and one that meant a lot to Schoninger after the death of her grandmother, who began coming to games this season, last weekend.
“She was supposed to be at this game,” she said. “It means a lot to me that we won and my teammates knew that.”
The Brown-bound guard scored 23 points, 12 at the free throw line, but none in the third quarter in which she sat for a little more than four minutes. She added seven rebounds and five assists. Schoninger, unlike in past games, didn’t need a huge performance. Her supporting cast is showing stark improvement since its inconsistent start to the season.
“I think our underclassman have realized their potential and are stepping up and playing their hearts out,” junior guard Chelsea Dale said.
Dale, who was moved to the bench in place of taller freshman Anne Fernandez, scored 14 points, connected on three 3-pointers and dished out six assists. Athletic sophomore forward Kalijah Terilli scored eight points and grabbed 10 rebounds and freshman Larissa MacPhee added eight points.
“If [Terilli] can hit that shot consistently we will be right where we were last year where we were tough to stop because you got to play that inside presence,” said Fieldston coach Randy Slaughter, who was without co-coach Rock Rosa because of a death in the family.
After Schoninger scored the game’s first six points being closely guarded by Dalton’s Alexa Yurick, Terilli began scoring in the post and knocking down her foul line jumper to help the Eagles (8-7, 3-2) grab a 13-2 first quarter lead. She also wreaked her usual havoc in the passing lanes and on the boards. With Fernandez at the top of the 1-2-2 zone, Fieldston is much longer and athletic and it helped cause numerous turnovers for Dalton (12-2, 3-1).
“She has these arms,” Dale said of Terilli said. “They are ridiculous. I feel like she can reach both sides of the court with her arms.”
Dale put the finishing touches on a dominant start, from which the Eagles never looked back. Schoninger hit a step back 3-pointer from the left side and Dale completed a 4-point play before knocking down another trey to put Fieldston up, 23-4, with 5:34 left in the first quarter. The Eagles went up 37-17 midway through the third.
Stephanie Lechich scored 11 points for Dalton, which struggled shooting the entire night.
The win was one of the best of the season for the defending Ivy League champion Eagles.They lost tight games to both Poly Prep and Hackley and are hoping they are playing their best at the right time.
“We have a lot of these teams coming to our house down the stretch,” Slaughter said. “We are looking forward to taking care of that.”
©2010 Community News Group