No. 5 Good Counsel has played the first month-plus of the season without starting point guard Lindsey Spann and with only one reliable double-figure scorer but has won nine of 11 games, with two high-quality losses.
The Falcons largely followed that same formula Saturday night, particularly early, in winning the National Title IX Holiday Invitational Classic at Trinity University with a 62-50 victory over Columbia (Ga.).
Senior forward Amanda Fioravanti, the tournament most valuable player, scored 27 points and was the only Good Counsel girl to manage a field goal until well into the second period. The Falcons committed 20 turnovers without the Penn State-bound Spann, who remains sidelined with a foot injury.
Good Counsel was supposed to meet Hoover (Ala.) in the Platinum Division final, but Hoover could not play the Falcons because they are only allowed to face opponents that are fully sanctioned by their state’s high school association, a tournament official said.
So Hoover swapped brackets with Gold Division finalist Columbia, a team that Good Counsel beat in a holiday tournament in Florida last year.
“It’s a tough situation coming in here expecting to play a championship game against a team we prepared for and all of a sudden show up and not be playing them,” Good Counsel Coach Tom Splaine said. “You didn’t know if it would have a championship game feel or not, but Columbia came in and made it feel like a championship game.”
Good Counsel trailed entering the second period but held Columbia to only one field goal the final 6 minutes 53 seconds of that quarter. Before junior guard-forward Stacey Koutris nailed a three-pointer with 4:49 left before halftime, Fioravanti was 5 of 7 from the floor and the other Falcons 0 for 8.
Spann’s return date is unknown. She sat on the bench in a sweatsuit and might have worn the widest smile in the championship photos taken afterward. In her absence, though, other players have performed more prominently than they would have otherwise, and that should help the Falcons defend their Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title.
“It was hard in the beginning because everybody needed to step up to their places,” said Fioravanti, who pulled in a team-high 11 rebounds. “Once everyone learned their new role to help out with the loss of Lindsey, it turned out pretty good and we’ve been playing better as a team.”
Koutris scored 12 points and sophomore forward Nicole Enabosi 11. Enabosi made nine of 10 free throws.