In addition to playing some outside competition on the December break to make his team better, Fontbonne Coach Steve Oliver was also looking to energize his team in order to make it through the second half of the season at the Tempe, Arizona Cactus Jam Tournament. By the end of the tournament, Oliver not only found that his team had found their energy, but gained a spirit of team unity in the process.
“The 11 girls were together all the time just having fun,” said Coach Oliver. “There was a lot of singing on this trip.” In fact, Oliver related how he believed that his team even “out psyched” another team with a barrage of songs as the Bonnies took the same bus to the game to play an oversized team from Washington State.
Fontbonne 53 Cesar Chavez 46
In the opening game, the Bonnies played one of the local scrappy Arizona teams that took a first half lead with its signature three-point (60 percent) perimeter shooting. However the Bonnies were able to make a comeback in the second half for the win led by Katie Marquardt (19 points), Breanne McDonell (14 points) and Natalie LaCognata (10 points).
Fontbonne 50 Hockinson 38
For the second game of the tournament, Fontbonne met the towering Hockinson team from Washington State whose members simply looked like giant Redwood trees matching up against the undersized Bonnies. Having gained confidence from their previous game with Chavez, the Bonnies played fast and loose against their oversized opponents, while connecting on 15 out of 20 critical foul shots to advance to the finals. For this game, Breanne McDonnell was high scorer with 19 points, while Katie Marquardt scored 12 points along with seven points from Emily Lind.
Cold Spring Harbor 29 Fontbonne 25
After both teams fought to get to the finals, the Bonnies oddly enough met another team from Long Island for the tournament title. Since both teams had had time to scout the other during the competition, the final game resulted in a defensive battle where only Katie Marquardt could muster 12 points while her teammates were kept in single digits.
Both Katie Marquardt (43 points) and Breanne McDonnell (31 points) were named to the Cactus Jam All Tournament Team for their efforts over the three-game span.
“We had a lot of fun out there and this tournament really brought us together,” said McDonnell, who re-established her patented baseline jumper during the competition.
“It was good competition for us,” added Marquardt. “But it was really strange to go all the way out to Arizona only to play another New York team in the final.”