"Our team played together this time," Dominique Mills said. "Last game, I wasn't ready to play. I tried harder this game. We knew we had to win. We worked hard on defense, and that was our main focus."
Judge Memorial stunned Juan Diego 55-42 in their first meeting Jan. 10, getting 15 first-half points from Sadie Sewell. This time, Sewell was held to nine points, including three in the first half. The difference was in aggressiveness, according to Soaring Eagle coach Natalie Williams.
"We attacked, played great defense and boxed out," Williams said. "We knew we had a really good team. We were not happy with our effort last time. The things we've been working hard on in practice are now starting to happen" in games.
The Soaring Eagle embodied their coach's teaching, driving to the basket instead of settling for jump shots. The Mills sisters, in particular, were difficult to handle on the drive, while Lancee Whetman created space underneath.
The Mills sisters had outscored Judge 17-16 at halftime, holding the Bulldogs to only four field goals in the process.
"We're really preparing for those teams we have to beat if we want a chance to win the whole thing," Williams said. "We did a good job of containing them."
Despite trailing by as many as 15 points in the second half, Judge kept clawing back. Kailie Quinn's 3-pointer made it 40-32 with five minutes remaining to play before Juan Diego answered with a quick 7-0 run. The Bulldogs didn't get closer than 10 points down the stretch, as the Soaring Eagle's defense tightened.
Dominique Mills finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds to lead Juan Diego (6-1, 15-2), while Monique Mills had 16 points and Whetman 13 points and six rebounds. The trio combined to make all 10 of its free-throw attempts.
Quinn had 19 points and eight rebounds to lead Judge (5-2, 13-5), which had its four-game winning streak snapped. Julia Wheatley added 11 points and seven rebounds for the Bulldogs, who committed 19 turnovers.