HAMMOND — Detroit Edison walked out of Bishop Noll with championship T-shirts and a trophy taken from the host Warriors in the inaugural Hoops4Pink Tournament.
Given that ESPN ranks the Pioneers No. 16 nationally while the Warriors sit on The Times’ area Top 10 bubble, the 85-55 result wasn’t particularly shocking.
But the scoreboard doesn’t quite do the game justice, Detroit Edison coach Monique Brown said. Her Pioneers beat up on the Warriors 76-27 just two weeks ago up in Michigan, and one of her takeaways postgame was that the former was more a fluke while the latter showed Noll’s potential.
“They didn’t look like the same team,” Brown said. “When we were at home, it was really one-sided throughout. I told the girls, ‘I think we kind of shocked them.’ They didn’t think that our defense would be like that. They responded better to that today.”
Bishop Noll (9-6) hung around with Detroit Edison as long as it could. They were within a possession after eight minutes but saw the deficit grow as time wore on. In the second half, especially, the visitors proved too much to overcome.
“The way we played, I’m proud of their effort today,” Bishop Noll coach Vanita Golston said. “Detroit is a very, very good team, and we showed them something.”
Detroit Edison’s 14-0 run to begin the game was quickly erased once Bishop Noll found its footing defensively and began stringing stops together. The pressure the Warriors put on the Pioneers to overcome adversity in the middle of the opening half was some of the toughest competition Brown said her team has faced so far this season.
But a single-digit game quickly ballooned to a 15-point game in the final two minutes of the first half. Over the last minute alone, Detroit Edison rallied off six quick points to build a comfortable lead and never looked back in the closing stages of the game.
“The way we ended the first half hurt us,” Golston said. “It opened the game, and we were never able to put the defensive stops together that we needed.”
Junior wing Rickea Jackson led Detroit Edison with 21 points and eight rebounds. Freshman guard Damiya Hagmann chipped in 20 points, seven rebounds and swiped five steals.
Bishop Noll freshman Courtney Blakely finished with 20 points to lead the Warriors in the losing effort.
“She played aggressive,” Golson said of Blakely. “She worked hard and ran the floor well. She’s really doing the things we want to see out of her as a point guard. At the same time, she’s learning how to manage a few freshman mistakes.”
Brown said Detroit Edison was happy to make the journey to Northwest Indiana to play in Bishop Noll’s tournament thanks, in part, to her program’s occasional struggles to find opponents given their independence. The home-and-home tradeoff with the Warriors heading to Detroit before the Pioneers came to Hammond proved to be a successful tradeoff.
Despite the loss, Golston said she hopes her team uses the result as a learning experience given the quality of the opponent. With more games ahead, including the tournament season, she thinks the holiday tournament should help them be ready for what’s to come.
“This speaks to our potential we have here,” Golston said. “We lost to a really, really good team.”
Plainfield East 73, Lighthouse 58: Daijah Smith scored a game-best 32 points, including 10 of 12 from the free-throw line, to lead Lighthouse.
The Lions led 31-26 at halftime before Plainfield East scored 47 points in the second half with four players in double figures to take third place.
West Side 59, Bowman 32: Dash Shaw scored 30 points to lead the Cougars in the fifth-place game. The sophomore hit five 3s in the game as her team used a 20-4 third quarter to pull ahead after falling behind 22-21 at halftime.
Dashaie Williams scored 13 to lead Bowman.