Mehlville High girls’ basketball team captures South Side Classic crown

By STEPHEN GLOVER

After starting the 2008 season with a disappointing 75-27 loss at Cor Jesu, the Mehlville Senior High School girls’ basketball team bounced back with a three-game winning streak that rocketed the Panthers to the South Side Classic championship with a 56-50 win over Lutheran South.

“Things are definitely looking better than they did,” Mehlville head coach Laura Bishop said. “We’re definitely off to a more positive note than we started with.”

Over the course of the three-game tournament, the Panthers held their opponents to just 48 points a game, a much-improved effort compared to the 75-point outburst by Cor Jesu during the season opener.

“Our defense has picked up tremendously and although we’re not shooting the best, we’re not turning the ball over,” Bishop said. “I thought that we matched up with Lutheran South really well and we really picked up our scoring.”

Mehlville’s Stephanie Herbert and Chanese Washington led all scorers with 21 points each.

Herbert added to her 21-point showing with seven rebounds, two steals and one assist in the win over Lutheran South. The junior forward is averaging 17 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.

“There’s only one word I can use and it’s all about her being confident,” Bishop said. “She’s really picked up her game tremendously this season.”

Washington’s 21-point game was complemented with two steals and two assists.

The sophomore guard leads the Panthers with 20.7 points per game and a total of 13 steals.

“Chanese did a good job in the second half picking up her game,” Bishop said. “She got some steals and forced some turnovers.”

The Panthers return to action when they play host to 2-1 Notre Dame at 6 p.m. Monday.

The Panthers faced Notre Dame in the second round of the South Side Classic and came away with a 60-52 win as Herbert, Washington and Erin Anderson each scored 18 points.

“We played them in the second game of the South Side Classic and did a good job in shutting down their post player,” Bishop said. “We shot the lights out in the first half of that game, but we’ll have to do a better job rebounding against them.”