The Priory Rebels seemed to be sleepwalking through the first half of play against Metro League rival Mary Institute/Country Day School.
MICDS, who was playing without the services of star forward/guard Alec Spence, gave the Rebels headaches with their pressure man-to-man defense early as the Rebels held just a 24-22 lead at halftime.
In the third quarter, it all turned Priory’s way as sophomores Dan Kacmarek, John Forshaw, and senior big man Nate VonderHaar, found their shooting touch and the Rebels pulled away for a 55-44 victory Tuesday night at Priory.
“I think we started off a little slow,” VonderHaar said. “Especially since they didn’t Spence playing for them but fortunately we had a couple of sophomores step up and do a lot of good things.”
Kacmarek and Forshaw bailed the Rebels out of a tight spot as the third quarter rolled around.
Forshaw had a strong night with 14 points, nine of them coming on three-pointers and Kacmarek stepped up with a big night from the perimeter pumping in 12 points by knocking down four of four shots from beyond the three-point arc.
“Johnny Forshaw and Danny Kacmarek really stepped up and I was really proud of our sophomores the way they stepped up, especially in a conference game,” Priory coach Bob McCormack said.
MICDS (4-10, 1-2) briefly led four times in the first half. Matt Roper paced the Rams with 12 points.
After struggling to hit shots in the first half, Priory (10-3, 2-0) opened the quarter with a blistering 10-0 run keyed by a Kacmarek jumper and topped off by pair of Forshaw free-throws as the Rebels led 34-24 with 4:51 left.
VonDerHaar, the Rebels 6-7 senior post, added six points to the back of the quarter and Priory was comfortably ahead 43-31 after three quarters.
“That third quarter was really important for us,” VonderHaar said. “We came out strong in the third quarter and it was rough with a guy in front of me and a guy behind me but I just kept working hard and did the best I could.” Vonderhaar led Priory with 17 points, 16 rebounds, and blocked six shots.
Priory continued the spread the floor well and knock down shots inside, outside, and from the free-throw line as the Rams never got closer than nine points.
“We had three guys step up and hit in double-figures and we just wanted to handle their pressure and we hit some free-throws late,” McCormack said. “It’s a fun rivalry no matter where you go in this conference and the kids all know each other well and know their tendencies, so you just have to play four quarters and hope for the best.”