GREENVILLE – Members of the Padua basketball community knew this season would be a learning experience during which the young Pandas would get a whole lot of on-the-job training. They passed one test on Dec. 13, overcoming foul trouble and some spotty shooting to take a 32-24 win at Tatnall.
The teams ended the first quarter tied at 6, with fouls outnumbering points. Padua guard Bella Julian picked up two fouls in the first two and a half minutes, and Tatnall’s Kennedy Brown and Aryana Easterling each had two before the quarter ended. Padua was able to go to its deep bench, playing a dozen girls, but Tatnall had just three substitutes available.
The Hornets continued to struggle with subpar shooting and turnovers throughout the second quarter, allowing Padua to put some distance between the teams. Junior Katie Szczerba opened the scoring with an eight-foot jumper, and classmate Camryn Scully added a pair of free throws. Padua’s scoring streak reached 10 points, with the lead growing to 15-6 before Tatnall scored its first points of the quarter on two free throws by Kashari Henry. It was 19-10 at the half.
Tatnall hurt itself with its free-throw shooting. The Hornets made just two of 12 in the first half and seven of 25 for the game. Padua converted less than half its attempts, making 14 of 29 for the game.
Both offenses struggled in the third quarter. Padua scored three points, on a field goal and a free throw from Szczerba. Her layup came with 59 seconds remaining in the stanza. Tatnall, however, saw its deficit increase to 10 points heading into the fourth, as the Hornets managed just a pair of free throws from Brown.
The Pandas’ lead grew to 30-17 with less than two minutes remaining, but Tatnall found some offense after that to shrink the final margin to eight points.
Scully and Szczerba each scored eight apiece to lead the Pandas, who evened their record at 1-1. Padua opens its home schedule on Thursday by welcoming top-ranked Ursuline to North Broom Street for a 7:30 p.m. tip.
Shelby Bailey-Smiley had eight points and Brown seven for the Hornets (2-2). They are off until Dec .29, when they will participate in the Patriot Holiday Classic at Newark Charter School.