A young St. Edmund girls’ basketball squad struggles to gel against Monsignor McClancy on Dec. 14.

Young Eagles still learning to fly: McClancy hands St. Edmund first league loss

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St. Edmund got a reminder of how much it must improve to defend its diocesan title.

The Eagles girls’ basketball team lacks depth, and it showed in a 67–52 loss to division rival Monsignor McClancy on the road on Dec. 14. Outside of star Kelly O’Donnell’s 43 points, St. Edmund (4–1) received very little offense from the rest of its experienced squad.

Coming off its first Brooklyn-Queens Division II title since 2002, St. Edmund is a team in transition after losing four key seniors. The Eagles squad won their first three league games this season before falling to the Crusaders.

The young guards struggled in the half court, but McClancy played solid defense. It used double-teams to force turnovers and spark points in transition.

“We just have trouble with guard play — can’t bring the ball up, not going to be able to score,” said St. Edmund coach Frank Kelly.

O’Donnell was the lone star for St. Edmund. She got the Eagles off to a good start and was a constant factor even though it went down big.

“We have people who can handle the ball, we got nervous,” O’Donnell said. “We just need to work on collecting ourselves. The only thing you have to do is, you can’t give up no matter what the score is. You just fight to the finish.”

St. Edmund held the lead early in the first quarter before McClancy (3–1) began to win the battle of the backcourts. Still, the Eagles trailed by just one about a minute into the second quarter before the game started to get away from them. The Crusaders team pulled away with its defense. An 8–0 run by McClancy put it up by 12 at halftime.

Taylor Aybar led McClancy with 14 points.

After falling behind by 18 midway through the third quarter, St. Edmund used a 7–0 run to get within 11. McClancy closed the final 1:17 of the quarter on an 8–0 run to go up by 19. St. Edmund never got closer than 17 in the final quarter.

St. Edmund didn’t see its first defeat of the season as a setback — rather a way to assess what it needs to once again win the championship.

“I think it’s a learning experience,” O’Donnell said. “We’re still growing as a team. We’ll get better from it.”

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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