WILMINGTON – Paige Kenton scored eight points in the first quarter as Padua took a commanding lead early and never looked back in a 51-22 win over Tatnall in girls basketball on Dec. 10. It was the Pandas’ first game of the season.
The contest pitted two contrasting teams against each other. The Pandas return most of their roster from last season and started four juniors and a senior. Tatnall, on the other hand, opened with three eighth-graders, a freshman and a single senior on the floor.
The Hornets struck first on a field goal by the freshman, Sophie Kirby, but the Pandas roared back after that. Kenton picked up the team’s first points of the season on a layup as a teammate found her cutting to the hoop. Padua hounded the young Hornets all over the place, causing several turnovers, and the Pandas’ defense prevented Tatnall from getting many opportunities to score. Kenton stole a ball at midcourt a few minutes into the quarter and took it in for a transition layup, giving the Pandas an 8-2 lead and prompting a Hornets timeout.
The Pandas remained in constant motion, collecting a number of second and third chances on offense. By the end of the first, they had extended their lead to 16-2.
Tatnall took better care of the ball in the second, scoring for the first time in more than eight minutes of game action at the 6:30 mark on a free throw from Emma Kirby. Sophie Kirby took a nice outlet pass from Aryana Easterling shortly thereafter and laid it in. But the Pandas, going deep into their bench, got a bucket each from five players during the second and went into the break with a 26-10 advantage.
Pandas senior Haley Scott found the groove in the third quarter, hitting back-to-back three-point shots, including one off glass. Kenton returned to the scoreboard as well, adding an old-fashioned three-point play. The fourth quarter featured the first high school points for Padua freshman Skylar Salvo, who hit a three-pointer, and Lauren Kim, and Kate MacLennan, another freshman, added her second field goal of the afternoon in the final quarter.
All told, 11 Pandas scored, led by Kenton’s 14. Michelle Kozicki added nine for Padua (1-0) which hosts Catholic Conference rival Ursuline on Wednesday at 7:15 p.m. Several Raiders were on hand to scout the Pandas.
Sophie Kirby had six to lead the Hornets, who dropped to 1-3. They travel to Red Lion on Thursday at 4 p.m. for their final game until the Christmas break.