In 16 years, Phil Stinnie has missed a grand total of four games while coaching the St. Anne’s-Belfield’s girls basketball team. Twice for sickness and twice this season to travel and watch his son Aaron Stinnie play in the FCS playoffs for James Madison University’s football team.
Friday night with STAB squaring off with Collegiate, Stinnie was in Frisco, Texas for the FCS title game, putting lead assistant Meredith Park in charge of the Saints. With a little help from a senior-laden lineup.
“What it makes me realize is how strong (the players) are as a group and how much I can rely on them to see what they’re in and call the right kind of offense,” Park said. “It’s just how strong our leadership is, that’s enough.”
The Saints cruised past the rebuilding Cougars 51-19 for STAB’s 10th win of the season, with Bri Tinsley scoring 17 points while Jayla Davis notched 15 points and seven rebounds.
Tinsley also had three assists and three steals while taking on an expanded leadership role in the win.
“It puts a lot more pressure on the captains and the seniors to show more leadership because we have a lot of young girls out here,” Tinsley said. “Of course I miss him coaching but I get to show my teammates that I can help my team and show leadership.”
STAB jumped out to an 18-3 lead in the first quarter thanks in part to a fast start by Sierra Smith who scored a bucket and then yanked down a rebound before feeding a charging Vanessa Woodfolk for a lay-in.
“She’s our energy player, when she gets going everybody just shows more energy,” Tinsley said. “If she’s down then we’re down. She’s the center of our team.”
Woodfolk finished with nine points and nine rebounds in the win. Jovia Winkey had four steals and Audrey Antesberger had four rebounds.
Collegiate struggled to match the Saints as the Cougars continue to break in a large group of young players with just one senior on the roster.
“We have a young team with good potential,” said Collegiate coach Rives Fleming. “I thought we competed with them well even though the score doesn’t show it, especially in spots and I think that was a good step for our young team. But that’s where we need to be to be competitive in our league.”
Tierra Morris, Taylor Thackston and Abby Freeman each had four points for the Cougars.