SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- With No. 9 Archbishop Williams missing three starters and playing national power Mater Dei Friday at the Hoophall Classic, few expected the local team to come out victorious.
To lose 86-37 as it did, though? That kind of offensive efficiency is why Mater Dei is ranked No. 3 in the latest ESPNW high school basketball power rankings.
“We kept it within 50, but they could have beat us by 100 if they kept their starters in the game,” said Archies coach Jim Bancroft. “We are just shorthanded, missing three starters, and Alan Gilmer is only about 50 percent because she dislocated her thumb.
“We made the schedule early in April and May when everybody was healthy and we thought everybody would be back. We just had some knee injuries over the summer, and surgeries, and was hoping that some of them would be back by now, but it’s just taken a little longer than we thought.”
Mater Dei is lead by the ESPNW No. 2 junior in the country Katie Lou Samuelson. The 6-foot-3 wing had what was considered a quiet first quarter for her, but still ended the half with 21 points while shooting 9-of-15 from the field. She single-handedly outscored Archies in the first half 21-15. She ended the game with 34 points and 5 rebounds.
“Starting off my team did a great job of helping out,” she said. “Andee Velasco (9 points) came out shooting great and Alli Resenblum (14 points) put up points, so I wasn’t too worried about scoring out there because I knew my team was doing great.”
Samuelson is not an easy matchup for most teams, let alone Archies. With her height, she was easily the tallest player on the floor. However, she is a wing player who seems more comfortable shooting from outside than playing in the post. She was 5-of-12 from beyond the three-point line Friday, and never shied away from shooting.
“Once she starts throwing up the threes, she turns it on pretty well,” said Mater Dei coach Kevin Kiernan. “She’s very gifted. We run a lot of stuff for her, we’re built around her. She gets inside, outside, in transition, in the press. She’ll find ways to score. We don’t worry about her getting points or shots.”
Mater Dei put up 51 points in the first half off creating turnovers and getting out in transition. It outscored Archies 32-2 off turnovers in the first 16 minutes. The Monarchs went to a full court press and made the game difficult on the young Archies backcourt. When it could not move the ball, its guards often dribbled into corners and into traps, which played right into Mater Dei’s hands.
One player Archies was without was Jaylen Wiliams, the junior Penn State commit, who is still recovering from offseason ACL surgery. Even if the team had its full lineup, Bancroft was not confident the result would have been dramatically different.
"I don’t think we got a whole lot out of it,” he said. "You hope when you play better competition you learn something and you help develop your game. They were just too much better than us. They completely shut us down. If we were healthy, maybe it would’ve been different. Maybe it would’ve been a 30-point game, I don’t know. I know even when we’re healthy, we’re nowhere near that kind of talent."