The new-look Marist Red Foxes appeared very much like last year’s squad in an 83-55 road win over Army on Saturday. It was Marist’s third consecutive season-opening win and their 13th straight victory dating back to last season. It had been two-hundred and sixty nine days since the Red Foxes left Atlantic City after their season came to a premature end because of COVID-19.
“It felt terrific to get back on the court against an actual opponent,” said Marist head coach Brian Giorgis. “The way these kids performed after nine practices since March was amazing. I was impressed with their demeanor, and it was a great team win.”
The Red Foxes (1-0) employed a balanced attack that had four players finish in double-figures. Sarah Barcello scored a game-high 15 points, buoyed by a three-for-five day from beyond the arc. Trinasia Kennedy finished with 14, and Willow Duffell and rookie Caitlin Weimar chipped in 12 apiece. Emma Wax, another freshman, had a perfect shooting day and finished with nine points.
There was plenty of intrigue heading into the game, as it was a meeting of the two winningest coaches in Marist basketball history. Dave Magarity, Army’s head coach, spent 18 seasons at the helm for the Marist men’s basketball team. He coached in Poughkeepsie from 1986-2004, overseeing the 1987 NCAA Tournament team that included Rik Smits. His 253 career wins at Marist are second only to Giorgis.
“I coached his daughter Maureen (who is now the head coach at Holy Cross) in high school, and he was one of the best parents I’ve ever had,” said Giorgis. “If anyone could have stepped in and said something, it could have been him, but he was always so supportive. At that time, he had forgotten more basketball than I knew.”
The Red Foxes got their first basket courtesy of Weimar, who is the first true freshman to start a game since Willow Duffell in 2017. Marist jumped out to an 11-0 lead in the first five minutes thanks to contributions from Duffell, Barcello, and more Weimar. The Black Knights started zero-for-six from the field but quickly took the lid off the basket, hitting four threes and closing the quarter on a 14-2 run to take a one-point lead into the second quarter.
Alisa Fallon connected on a layup to give Army a 16-13 lead early in the second. From there, the Red Foxes began to reassert themselves and take control. Allie Best hit a deep three late in the shot clock to cap a 7-0 run and give the Red Foxes a four-point lead, which they would not relinquish control for the rest of the game. The defense, which looked shaky at the end of the first, clamped down, forcing 12 first-half turnovers. A Weimar layup gave Marist a 31-22 lead heading into the break.
“We took a punch in the mouth from them at the end of the first, but we came back really well,” said Giorgis. “We played better on defense and started to wear them down.”
The Red Foxes had some key third-quarter performances last season, and the trend appears to have carried on. Marist shot 11-of-15 from the field and a perfect four-for-four from beyond the arc. Barcello, Kennedy, and Wax hit threes to give the Red Foxes a 47-31 advantage with three-and-a-half minutes left in the third. Weimar sank a mid-range jumper to close a 26-point quarter for Marist, who led 57-38 with ten minutes to play.
Giorgis cycled in his reserves all day but gave his younger players some more runs with his team in control. Things began to open up as Anabel Ellison hit a three to put the Red Foxes up 69-43 with under six minutes to play. The freshmen continued to shine and helped put to finishing touches on an impressive 28-point win.
“We knew we had a talented freshmen class but they really stepped up today,” said Giorgis. “They really established themselves after their first time in the game.”
The Red Foxes shot an astounding 34-of-61 (56 percent) from the field and 10-of-20 (50 percent), considering they had barely two weeks of practice time prior to stepping on the court today. They only got to the free-throw line six times but connected on five of them. After getting outrebounded by seven in the first half, Marist came back to win the glass battle 34-31. The Red Foxes dished out 20 assists compared to 11 turnovers and scored 23 points off 18 Army giveaways.
Army’s leading scorer Alisa Fallon was held in check going three-of-13 from the field but still leading her team with 10 points. The Black Knights could only manage a 17-of-52 (33 percent) performance from the floor, with nine of those made field goals coming from long range. Army is now 2-2 this season.
Marist will be back in action on Friday, December 11, when they begin conference play with a two-game home series against Canisius at the McCann Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 5 p.m.
Edited By Mackenzie Meaney
Photo By Mike Cahill (Via Marist Athletics)