For two quarters, and maybe even three, it looked like College Avenue might avenge a 28-27 loss to the Glendale High School junior girls basketball team in Woodstock Sept. 29.
"We knew they would be coming back really strong," said Gemini point guard Leia Carroll after Tuesday's rematch. "We knew it would be a harder game than the last one."
They were right, CASS led by as much as six points in the third quarter, although Glendale went to work whittling that down to just three points going into the fourth.
"They were playing really hard defence," said Carroll.
The Gemini continued to roll in the final quarter, equalizing at 32-32 with six minutes left to play.
"I think it's because we started cheering more, believing in ourselves. We started saying 'we're going to win.' It helped us get our confidence up.
"We still knew we had a long time," she said, figuring the juniors weren't nervous trailing three quarters.
Less than a minute-and-a-half later Glendale led by four and never looked back winning 41-36, fueled by a higher second-half shooting percentage. Seven different Gemini players registered second-half points.
"A lot of people started getting it in," Carroll nodded, "in the second half. I feel like the first half was a huge warmup for the second half. By the second half everybody was in it together and we were all shooting better."
"We talked about playing more aggressive defence," said Gemini coach Dee Kirwin. "And focusing on our half-court defence, not extending past that, and then getting offence off that."
Rebounding was much better Tuesday, said Kirwin, comparing it to last Thursday's 43-22 loss to WCI, a team that was on Glendale's radar again this week. The Gemini were scheduled to host WCI on Oct. 13, and hoping to have a better second half.
"I think we were so overwhelmed that we were beating one of the best teams, we were like 'oh my gosh we're beating them!'" said Carroll. "And then we started kind of taking it easy. We need to realize WCI has really good players and they save their really good players' energy for the last. I think we all kind of lost our energy after the first half, so I think we need to save it a little bit more. Still play good, but...
"I also think we need to cheer a lot more and have a lot more people in the stands cheering," said Carroll. "That's what got everybody pumped up, and that's how we all played harder."
Breaking WCI's full-press would be high on the Gemini agenda, said Kirwin.
"Passing the ball to get behind the press, and breaking it enough that they have to take it off. They unleashed it (last Thursday) and I knew the second they stepped on it..."