SPRING VALLEY — This season, Mt. Carmel’s Casey McWilliam has seen just about every special defense thrown her way.
A year ago, McWilliam and Ali Engelhardt were the most potent tandem in the San Diego Section. With Engelhardt now in college, leadership of the Sundevils offense falls to McWilliam.
The 5-foot-10 guard has been up to the task, though she’s tired of all the “junk” defenses.
On Saturday afternoon, McWilliam tied her career high for points in a game as well as 3-pointers as the Sundevils outlasted Santa Fe Christian 59-52 in the MLK Hoopfest at Mount Miguel High.
McWilliam finished with 32 points after scoring 10 in the first quarter and 13 in the second. She led the Sundevils (10-6) to a 31-24 halftime advantage before the Eagles (9-7) slowed her down a bit with a box-and-one defense after the break.
“I’ve seen a box-and-one, a diamond-and-one and a triangle-and-two this year,” said McWilliam, who will attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. “I hate the box-and-one the most. Other people have to score to beat it. In the first half, they weren’t in any junk defenses.” Teams in San Diego who know me come right out and junk it up right off the bat.
“They did it to Ali and me last year. This year it’s just me.”
McWilliam also nailed five of her six 3-pointers in the opening half.
“Casey is the best pure shooter in the county,” Sundevils coach Jeff Jones said. “We’d put her up to shoot for lunch money any day of the week.
“Once Santa Fe decided to slow her down, it was up to the other players to take up the slack. We did a better job of that in the fourth quarter.”
While McWilliam scored five points in the third quarter, her teammates were just 2 of 13 from the field as Santa Fe Christian crawled back into contention at 41-39 by quarter’s end.
“I did my job well enough in the first half to get Santa Fe out of their normal game,” said McWilliam. “I guess a junk defense is kind of flattering,” McWilliam said. “But it’s a lot rougher out there when teams are in something like that.”
A 6-of-12 shooting effort from the floor in the final quarter helped clinch the victory for the Sundevils.
Alyssa Quidachay, who nailed a pair 3s in the final quarter, finished with 13 points and seven rebounds for Mt. Carmel, which led 53-40 before a final push by the Eagles closed the gap a bit but not enough to make the Sundevils nervous.
Santa Fe Christian was led by 6-1 sophomore center Emma Dudley’s 21 points to go with nine rebounds. Ashley Kowak, also a sophomore, had 12 points and seven rebounds as well.
The loss snapped Santa Fe Christian’s four-game winning streak.
Monahan is a freelance writer.