Loughlin’s girls on the rebound

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An ugly win said volumes about Bishop Loughlin’s girls’ basketball team — the Lions are growing up.

Players spoke in the preseason about learning from mistakes they made in last year’s disappointing finish. They can’t get down on themselves and lose focus when things get tough and don’t go their way.

But the team is showing a new level of maturity by not letting that happen this time around.

The group didn’t crumble through missed layups, unconverted free throws, and poor rebounding in an eventual 53–45 victory over host Staten Island Academy on Jan 20. The Lions trailed 37–35 going into the fourth quarter and 40–39 with 6:21 remaining, but never let the game get away.

Loughlin is learning how to win.

“I think we are in a better frame of mind,” Lions coach Chez Williams said. “I think we are in a better frame of playing basketball. We might not have won this type of game last year.”

It was the second-straight contest in which Loughlin had to grit out a victory amid a recent five-game winning streak.

“They are finding ways to win even when we are not playing well,” Williams said. “So for a coach, that is a good sign.”

Loughlin got a big, 15-point night from Skydajah Patterson with star Milicia “Mimi” Reid (eight points) struggling to find her scoring touch. Patterson, who is playing out of position at center, has come into her own during the current winning streak. She is putting the ball on the floor, attacking the basket, and leading the team in rebounds.

“What coach wants coach gets,” Patterson said. “He wants me to go in there and get a rebound, run through a wall, I’ll do it.”

The turnaround started with a win over Archbishop Molloy after a league loss to division leaders Mary Louis and Christ the King. The players took the defeats tough, but instead of breaking them apart, it drew them closer.

“In the morning we went to practice and we said ‘We are not going to lose again,’ ” Patterson said.

Loughlin is confident its defensive execution will get it through any offensive struggles. The Lions limited Staten Island Academy’s two stars to a combined 23 points — all while its budding freshman Laysha De La Santo dropped in 10 points. Turnovers keyed a 7–0 run that put the game away in the fourth quarter.

“We are emotionally strong, as opposed to last year,” Reid said. “When things aren’t going well, we are doing better with keeping our head.”

Loughlin’s last two wins are proof. They are ready for the second half of the season, where a league title is still within reach.

“We pulled out wins, but it hasn’t been pretty,” Reid said. “I think it’s just us staying strong minded.”

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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