The St. Bernard High School girls basketball team found a spark in the third quarter after a slow start against Bishop Montgomery High School, but the Vikings couldn’t keep up the momentum in a 63-34 loss at home Thursday, January 6th.

The Vikings (4-6, 0-1) opened Del Rey League play the tough way, having to face the Knights (9-6, 1-0), who were ranked number two in the Daily Breeze pre-season poll and are currently at the top of the league standings.

St. Bernard got an early look at why the Knights received the high ranking, after being overpowered in the first quarter and falling behind 16-2.

The Vikings came out slow on offense and Bishop Montgomery took advantage with aggressive defense that forced a number of early St. Bernard turnovers.

“We turned over the ball way too much and it hurt us,” Vikings coach Ed Aronin said.

After more of the same type of play in the second quarter, the Vikings, who forced shots against the tough Knight defense, went into halftime trailing 33-8.

St. Bernard left halftime with a new attitude and came in ready to play with a quicker, more aggressive effort in the third quarter, which resulted in a 16-9 run.

Junior guard Raquel Prieto, who finished with a team-high 12 points, led the way for St. Bernard’s charge in the third quarter, scoring eight points.

The Vikings got the boost by hustling on both sides of the court. Senior center Sacha Johnson, who also finished with 12 points, lifted the defense with a couple of blocks.

Junior forward Diamond Lee, who scored six points and grabbed seven rebounds in the game, also helped St. Bernard cut the deficit to 42-24 heading into the fourth quarter.

“That’s the team we really are,” said Aronin, who was referring to the third-quarter effort. “But we were not consistent for four quarters.”

“We played well for a while in the second half, but we lost our intensity and started playing sloppily again.”

The spark that the Vikings had found seemed to fade in the fourth quarter, as St. Bernard slowed down and reverted back to early mistakes in the game.

Bishop Montgomery stretched its lead and put the game away after junior guard Ashley Mayeaux scored six of her ten points. The Knights were led by senior forward Roney Friend, who had 13 points and ten rebounds in the victory.

“The turnovers hurt us tonight,” Aronin said. “They’re too good a team to give them the ball.”

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