WOODSTOCK – Jacobs coach Joe Benoit has been searching for consistency from his team, and the start of Thursday's game against Marian Central suggested the Golden Eagles were headed for a long night.
Jacobs struggled to hold onto the ball while the Hurricanes did whatever they wanted offensively in building an eight-point lead. But after Benoit called a timeout with 3:40 left in the first quarter, with Jacobs still searching for its first points, the Golden Eagles settled down and started finding a flow on offense.
The result? A Jacobs run that ultimately led to a 56-48 nonconference win. Jacobs went on a 31-12 run to create the momentum and gave the Golden Eagles the lead. Although Marian came back to tie the game midway through the third quarter, a young Jacobs team never fell behind in the second half.
Jacobs (5-17) was nearly unstoppable behind the 3-point arc against Marian's 2-3 zone defense. The Golden Eagles made as many 3-pointers (nine) as 2-point field goals.
"Our theme is about believing and working hard," Benoit said. "Our kids were dialed in tonight. They were focused. When we do that we're a pretty good basketball team. We believe in ourselves in terms of that, but right now it's finding consistency in that and we've seen that in spurts."
Marian (11-7) scored eight points in the first minute and a half of the third quarter to cut into Jacobs' 11-point halftime lead. The Hurricanes didn't stop there, tying the game at 33 after holding the Golden Eagles scoreless with improved defense. However, Jacobs never allowed Marian to take the lead. Freshman Carly Sidor's two layups in a one-minute span late in the third quarter put the Golden Eagles back ahead by four points, and they led the rest of the game.
"Everyone on our team can shoot so it's really just working as a team and not carrying about yourself and caring about the team," said Sidor, who finished with 12 points. "Whoever's open is open."
Marian had no trouble finding open looks early while the defense forced Jacobs to commit six turnovers in the first four minutes. The Hurricanes took a 10-2 midway through the first quarter, led by senior forward Hannah Davis who the Golden Eagles had no answer for inside. Davis scored seven of her game-high 16 points in the first quarter to help Marian to a 14-11 advantage.
But the Golden Eagles began to solve the Hurricanes’ 2-3 zone defense. Jacobs made more 3-pointers in the first half (six) than 2-point field goals (three), which fueled their comeback. Senior Nicole Cook came off the bench to score 12 first-half points on four 3-pointers.
"You've just got to keep shooting," Cook said. "If it doesn't fall the first time, keep trying."
The Golden Eagles’ defense also buckled down in the second quarter, holding Marian scoreless for the final 4:31. Ellen Koscielniak and Sarah Benigni finished with 10 and eight points, respectively, for the Hurricanes.
"I wasn't that disappointed in our defense," Marian coach Jackie Budmayr said. "I thought we played well defensively. ... Offensively obviously we didn't shoot our best, but I think we could have spread the floor a little better."