Tomahawks come up short against Cardinals

Jeremy Faulkner and Courtney Cheetham were trying to teach their basketball players lessons Thursday night, but in different ways.

Faulkner has been trying to get his Bishop Guertin High School girls out of a funk that started over the holiday break, going as far as to bench his top seven players for most of the second half against Merrimack.

Despite that, the Cardinals were still able to get a 44-32 win over the Tomahawks.

Meghan Cramb led Bishop Guertin with 10 points while Lauren Wyllie and Caroline Hoffer had six points apiece.

“We didn’t play well at all,” Faulkner said. “The last three games, things have just gone downhill. Practices are up-tempo and we’re doing all the things right, but we’re having a hard time translating all that into games. I’ve got to find a better way of helping the girls figure out how to do the right things on the floor.”

Merrimack held a 10-9 lead at the end of the first quarter, and although the Tomahawks never led again, they never went away.

Bishop Guertin led by five points with three minutes to play before pulling away.

“They played with a ton of heart, which I love,” Cheetham said of her Merrimack team. “We’re 0-6 (after last Thursday), but the combined record of the teams we’ve played, taking away one away game, is 21-5.

“We’re playing solid teams and we’re competing with them. It’s hard when that’s your record, coming out and competing against a team that has one loss. They were hustling after everything.”

Amanda D’Amico led Merrimack with 10 points, including two 3-pointers, and Jolie Jacoby and Abby Yuan each added six points.

But the Tomahawks struggled to make shots, going the entire third quarter without a field goal, and finished the night 10 of 21 from the free throw line.

“The win isn’t there, but in these games, we’re not judging ourselves on win-loss,” Cheetham said. “What we’re looking to do is keep competing now, build that fight, work through some emotional stuff and stay mentally tough.”

Faulkner is hoping he can get the same out of his Cardinals.

“We’re not playing with passion right now,” he said. “Merrimack could easily have a winning schedule right now. Courtney has done a fantastic job with that team. They play with passion.”