The Archbishop Carroll girls' basketball team came out complacent in the second half against Episcopal Academy on Saturday. There were missed layups, sloppy ballhandling, and lackadaisical defense.
Coach Chuck Creighton told his players as much after their 43-33 win.
Heading into the third quarter up by seven and having been in control for most of the game, the Patriots didn't think they had anything to worry about. But the Churchwomen (2-2) came roaring back, outscoring Carroll (3-1) by 10-3 in the third and knotting the game at 26.
It was then that Julia Gantz decided she had to do something.
You name it, and the junior guard did it for the Patriots in the fourth period.
In the final eight minutes, she scored 14 points, grabbed four rebounds, and racked up four steals. The only blemish on Gantz's record was two missed free throws, but she did finish 6 for 8 from the line in the last quarter, hitting four straight to seal the game.
"I think we went into the second half thinking that we had the game under wraps, and I think it really hurt us," said Gantz, who led all players with 19 points. "We didn't play as good on defense as we usually do."
While Gantz was dynamic on both ends for Carroll - especially with the ball in her hands and penetrating the lane - she credited an M.J. Valeri three-pointer with igniting the Patriots to start the fourth.
The shot, hit with 6 minutes, 58 seconds remaining, put Carroll up by three - a lead the Patriots never surrendered.
"M.J.'s shot was definitely big for us," junior guard Lexi Stover said. "That was a big momentum changer."
Besides the enormity of Valeri's shot, Stover and Gantz also agreed that the contest against the Churchwomen was an important one with the Catholic League season starting on Friday.
"I think we have a lot to prove, and we are excited to do it," Stover said of her team's league chances.
There's no time for complacency in the Catholic League.
Archbishop Carroll 10 13 3 17 - 43
Episcopal Academy 1 15 10 7 - 33
AC: Julia Gantz 19, Lexi Stover 11, Jess Carney 5, MJ Valeri 3, Keara McNulty 3, Ann McKnight 2.
EA: Sarah Abbonizio 11, Meghan Pickell 8, Lily Kuntz 7, Maria Kilcullen 3, Reilly Wright 3, Margaux Paolino 1.