The St. Edmond girls showed signs of improvement over the second half here Tuesday night in their season opener vs. Perry.
While it wasn’t enough to overcome a tough start, it did present a strong case moving forward.
Behind 31 points from Drake University softball commit Lydia Olejniczak, the Jayettes improved to 2-0 with a 56-35 victory inside the SEHS gym.
Olejniczak, who had 22 points in a 58-11 victory for Perry over Des Moines Hoover on Monday night, accounted for 14 of her points from the free throw line and scored 18 in the first half.
For the Gaels (0-1 overall), Josie Harvey had 11 points and Anna Kolacia eight, as they outscored the Jayettes 16-10 in the third and 24-23 over the final 16 minutes.
“We definitely did a lot of really good things,” SEHS head coach CJ Tracy said. “We really pressured them on defense and when we were patient on offense, we got good looks. I thought our second half play was very consistent with how we had performed in the preseason.
“I’m not sure if it was just adjusting to the game or first night jitters, but we didn’t come out strong. Once we got settled in, though, we had a lot of really good performances.”
Perry, who earned a 41-22 victory over St. Edmond last year, raced out to a 20-5 advantage after the first quarter as Olejniczak scored 11. Freshman Reagan Baldwin added 17 points, a night after scoring 21 vs. Hoover.
“We struggled to keep her from getting good looks,” Tracy said of Olejniczak. “I thought the girls we put on her made her work for her shots, but we just couldn’t keep her from getting to the line.”
The Jayettes return four starters from a year ago when they won nine games, which was the most since 2016-17 and matched the win total from the three seasons combined.
St. Edmond, meanwhile, put several new faces out on the court for extended minutes including Harvey, as the sophomore had a 3-pointer in the first and tallied six in the third.
“She is just a competitor like all of her family members,” Tracy said. “She gets after it and isn’t afraid of contact.”
Harvey also had five rebounds, five steals and blocked a shot, while Katie Flaherty grabbed six rebounds and scored six points. Kolacia, a senior returning starter alongside Flaherty, had all eight of her points in the second half.
St. Edmond is now off until Friday, Dec. 2 when they travel to Clarion-Goldfield/Dows to begin North Central Conference play.
“We’ll take a few days off and then after four practices to get ready,” Tracy said. “I think it will be good for the girls to have that time, look over film and come back stronger.”
PERRY 56, ST. EDMOND 35
St. Edmond — Silvia Heldorfer 1-4 0-0 2, Anna Kolacia 3-5 2-3 8, Kaili Henning 1-12 0-0 2, Katie Flaherty 3-8 0-0 6, Lauren Gibb 2-4 0-0 4, Michaela Leiting 0-2 0-0 0, Abby Lawler 0-1 0-0 0, Josie Harvey 4-7 2-2 11, Maya Neverman 1-1 0-0 2, Anna Lursen 0-3 0-2 0, Payton Bradley 0-2 0-0 0, Maggie Flaherty 0-0 0-0 0, Braelynn Rees 0-0 0-0 0, Ava Underberg 0-0 0-0 0, Ava Andrew 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 15-50 4-7 35.
Perry — Maria Aguilar 0-3 0-0 0, Lydia Olejniczak 8-13 14-19 31, Kathryn West 1-6 2-4 4, Callie Steva 2-2 0-2 4, Reagan Baldwin 6-15 4-4 17, Litzy Ramirez 0-0 0-4 0. Totals: 17-39 20-39 56.
Quarter scores: Perry led 20-5, 33-11, 43-27. Three-point goals: St. Edmond 1-11 (Harvey 1), Perry 2-11 (Olejniczak 1, Baldwin 1). Total rebounds: St. Edmond 33, Perry 23. Steals: St. Edmond 9, Perry 20. Blocked shots: St. Edmond 2, Perry 2. Personal fouls: St. Edmond 25, Perry 8. Turnovers: St. Edmond 28, Perry 20.