Glendale Adventist basketball

Holy Family's Alexandra Mata and Glendale Adventist's Harley Federici battle for possession in the first half of a nonleague girls' basketball game at Glendale Adventist Academy on Thursday. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer) (December 5, 2013)

GLENDALE — When Holy Family’s basketball team traveled the short distance within their home city for a nonleague contest against host Glendale Adventist Academy, there were a lot of firsts to be had for both squads.

Some guaranteed firsts were that it was the season opener for the Cougars, as well as new coach Joseph Naguit’s debut. The Gaels opened the season Tuesday with a loss, so for both teams a win Thursday afternoon would be the first victory of the season that has just gotten underway.

One first the Cougars did not give up until the second quarter was a point, as Holy Family went scoreless in the first quarter and trailed by 11 points at the break on the way to a 32-21 win for Glendale Adventist Academy.

“New season, new coach,” said Cougar Madison Federici, who had a game-high 11 points, “and we definitely need to be able to pick up the game and that is definitely what we did today. Practice was kind of essential and we didn’t really have that, so we’re glad we played the way we did today and got the win.”

Glendale Adventist Academy (1-0) led, 6-0, after the first quarter. In the period, Holy Family (0-2) missed all 22 of its shots. Eighteen were shots from the field, including 11 misses from beyond the arc, and four were free throws.

“We held our ground in terms of what we wanted to do throughout the week [of practice] running our zone offense and challenging them defensively,” said Naguit, who was an assistant for the boys’ team last year, “so I think we were pretty successful today.”

In the second quarter, the Gaels got on the board after the home team pushed its advantage to 10-0 when Melissa Chan hit the a free throw with 5:24 left in the opening half. The senior then hit two more from the charity stripe. This was soon followed by the Gaels’ only field goal of the half, coming after they had missed their first 28 attempts from the field. Kiara Ardines caught the ball on the block and then swished a turnaround jump shot to cap a 5-0 run.

“For some reason these rims were cursed or something,” Holy Family Coach Ernest Siy said. “We just couldn’t get any shots to go in.”

The Cougars responded with a 7-0 run. The final two came on a steal and driving lay-in by Federici, who had six points in the second quarter, all coming on the fast break. Glendale Adventist led, 17-6, at halftime and the 11-point advantage would equal the final margin.

“We dug ourselves a hole we just could not get out of because you can’t go scoreless in the first quarter and have six points at the half and expect to be competitive. It’s just not going to happen,” Siy said.

The Cougars, who came into the game with very little practice time under their belts due to overlapping school activities, were led on offense and defense by Federici, who was a catalyst on both sides of the court throughout.

“[Madison] played a couple of vital positions when I subbed her,” Naguit said. “She filled in the three, four and five and sometimes the two, so that helped us with a couple steals as well.”

Cougar senior Melisa Lopez had nine points, including three of her team’s six points in the fourth. Madison’s sister Harley, a junior, chipped in with eight points, including four in the third quarter, where she also got an assist.

“We came out really strong,” the junior Federici said.

Holy Family, who played the Cougars to a 15-15 draw in the second half, was led in scoring by Chan. The senior guard had eight points before fouling out with 2:10 left in the fourth. Charisse Talaro, who was not shy throughout about taking any shot available, had all five of her points in the third quarter. Ardines finished with four.

“I saw us playing as a team,” the elder Federici said, “and that’s not something we’ve seen so often, especially in previous years. So I was proud to see my team as a team.”

Holy Family will continue searching for its first win of the season when it plays St. Genevieve Tuesday as part of the Providence Tournament.