In close, meaningful games, coaches often choose to shorten their bench.
It is nice to know, however, that one has the option to go to others when needed.
Sage Hill School’s girls’ basketball team was in control from the start, and the second unit got extended run in the Lightning’s 53-25 victory over visiting St. Margaret’s in Friday’s Academy League game.
Eight different players scored for the Lightning (12-6, 5-0 in league). Freshman forward Emily Elliott paced Sage Hill with 11 points and 11 rebounds. She has posted a double-double in every league game.
In the second unit, junior forward Nadia Akbari had seven points and 12 rebounds, while sophomore guard Joyce Jogwe added three points, eight rebounds and three assists.
“Our second group brought so much energy tonight,” Lightning coach Kerwin Walters said. “They decided to move their feet and just play defense, and that’s what I’m really asking for them to do right now.
“Joyce Jogwe, I can’t say enough about her. She plays strong. She’s physical. She sees the floor and tries to get everyone involved.”
The Lightning struck as quickly as their nickname suggests. In a flash, Sage Hill jumped out to a 14-0 lead with just 2:31 off the clock.
Sophomore point guard Trinity Cha and senior shooting guard Kate Knollenberg each had six points in the opening frame.
Senior small forward Kenna Knollenberg played distributor with a team-high four assists. She also blocked a three-point shot and made a reverse layup without using the backboard.
Asked which play she enjoyed more, Knollenberg said, “The three-point block. Sometimes, I need that to get my confidence up a little bit, take an extra shot here or there, or going for a rebound a little bit harder.”
Knollenberg said she gets up for the matchups against the Tartans (7-7, 2-2) because she has been playing against the St. Margaret’s name since she was in middle school.
Center Maddie Barkate had eight points and 14 rebounds for St. Margaret’s, with guard Nicole Miles adding seven points and nine rebounds.
In its next game, Sage Hill begins its potential season-defining series against Oxford Academy (17-1, 4-0) when the Lightning visit the Patriots on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
“Oxford is the top of the class for us,” Walters said. “We have to be prepared for them.”
Oxford Academy is the defending Academy League champions.
Sage Hill 53, St. Margaret’s 25
SCORE BY QUARTERS
St. Margaret’s 2 – 8 – 5 – 10 — 25
Sage Hill 17 – 11 – 12 – 13 — 53
SM – Barkate 8, Miles 7, Korolev 6, Ko 3, Mok 1.
3-pt. goals – Ko 1.
Fouled out – None.
Technicals – None.
SH – Elliott 11, Cha 9, Ka. Knollenberg 9, Shayan-Smith 8, Akbari 7, Ke. Knollenberg 4, Jogwe 3, Bahri 2.
3-pt. goals – Cha 3.
Fouled out – None.