It isn’t apparent by looking at the final score, but the Aquinas High School girls basketball team didn’t get its season off to the best of starts on Saturday.
But an abundance of talent and focus turned things around quick enough to right the ship for an impressive 76-38 victory over a Kewaskum team that returned just about every player from a team that won 23 games last season.
“They jumped on us really early and were up 10 or more on us after three minutes,” Aquinas coach Dave Donarski said of the Indians. “They were hitting everything, our defense was lousy, and I called a timeout to challenge the kids.
“Wow, what a run they put on.”
It was a good lesson for the Blugolds (1-0), who have a very big weekend ahead in a season filled with expectations. Aquinas travels to Saint Thomas Academy in Mendota Heights, Minnesota, to play a team that won the MSHSL Class AA state championship last season on Friday and another that lost to that team in a section final on Saturday.
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Up first is Providence Academy, which is led by freshman point guard Maddyn Greenway, who has already scored 1,000 points as part of the varsity team and has scholarship offers from the likes of Iowa State, Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and others.
Greenway also scored 58 goals during the girls soccer season — Providence Academy placed third in the state tournament — and is the daughter of Chad Greenway, who played linebacker for Iowa and the Minnesota Vikings.
That fires up the Blugolds, who have prepared for big matchups in past years against the likes of UConn’s Paige Bueckers when she played at Hopkins (Minn.) and Iowa’s Caitlin Clark when she played at Dowling Catholic (Iowa).
Aquinas senior Macy Donarski, who is committed to play at Montana, will likely play a key role in containing Greenway and is ready for that challenge.
“She’s called me twice today to talk about game film she’s watched,” Dave Donarski said Tuesday morning. “She’s like, ‘I don’t know if we can zone or I don’t know if we should do this or that.’
“In truth, Macy and Autumn Passehl have watched more film on (Providence) than I have. You’ve got to love kids who are that into it.”
Macy Donarski started her season with 26 points, eight steals and five assists against Kewaskum. She averaged 17.4 points per game last season, but offensive production likely rises this winter after the graduation loss of Jacy Weisbrod (21.2 ppg).
The Blugolds showed plenty of balance behind their point guard against the Indians. Passehl made five of the team’s 12 3-pointers and scored 17 points, while senior Shea Bahr added 15. Freshman Sammy Davis scored 14 points, grabbed nine rebounds and recorded five steals in her debut.
“There is so much of her that is unrefined, and I can’t imagine where she is going to take herself,” Dave Donarski said of Davis. “She is so incredibly athletic. Her hands are incredible, and she can finish around the rim like no kid we’ve ever had in the last nine years.
“She’s already special.”
Aquinas follows that up with a game against Holy Family Catholic, which was 25-5 last season after the section loss to Providence.
“They’re good and, from what I’ve heard, very athletic,” Dave Donarski said. “Now, we’re pretty athletic, too. It’s all relative to some degree.
“We’ll have to control the ball and not turn it over. We’ll need the ball in the right kid’s hands at the right times.
“If they want to pressure us, I think we can handle the ball pretty well.”
Todd Sommerfeldt can be reached at email@example.com or via Twitter @SommerfeldtLAX
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