Crawley sparks St. Ignatius past short-handed Lowell

St. Ignatius had three players score in double figures as the Wildcats cruised past visiting Lowell High School 62-48 in nonleague girls’ basketball action Tuesday.

Kaitlyn Crawley led the way for the Wildcats (7-1) with 22 points on 9-of-18 shooting from the floor and 4-of-6 from the free-throw line.

A third-quarter rally by Lowell cut the deficit to seven points, but the height advantage St. Ignatius had was just too much for the much smaller Cardinals (10-2), who never led in the game.

Lowell was without its normal power forward Lorna Tuufuly, who was not able to play after she suffered her third concussion since June. Cardinals coach Aki Kuwada decided it was in Tuufuly’s best medical interest not to play her, and let her rest over break before Academic Athletic Association play starts in early January.

“We are a young team out there and we were missing some of our taller players today,” Kuwada said. “Some of our tall girls have already left for break. But our girls didn’t quit out there and they stayed with the system.”

St. Ignatius got 45 of its 62 points from Crawley, Maria Kemiji-McDonald and Raquel Avila.

“The biggest thing was that we did a great job getting offensive rebounds,” St. Ignatius coach Mike Mulkerrins said. “Lowell did a good job running their offensive sets and they hit some big shots in the third quarter, but we stepped it up in the fourth and limited their big shooters.”

Despite only losing their second game of the season, Kuwada feels that even with less experience, Lowell is going to be a challenge in the AAA.

Lowell starts AAA play at home on Jan. 5 at home against International Studies, and St. Ignatius  starts West Catholic Athletic League play on Jan. 5 at home against Notre Dame (Belmont).

“[Lowell] beat our rival, St. Francis, earlier this season by six points,” Mulkerrins said. “Today’s game makes us better and really shows us where we can improve for the future. We need to communicate better on defense and choose our shots more wisely. There is no need for us to grab an offensive rebound and put it right back up when there are defenders everywhere. We need to pull the ball down and look for the best opportunity to score.”

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