GIRARD - Despite one year away from coaching, McDonald coach Jeff Rasile looked as though he didn't skip a beat.
In a high tempo affair, the Blue Devils pressured Girard from beginning to end, wearing out the Indians en route to 94-85 win over the Indians.
"It's what I do," Rasile said. "We're going to hope over the course of the game that a couple of things are going to happen: We're going to wear you down, and everybody's going to be in foul trouble.
"So, let's make it one of those games."
Call Rasile a soothsayer, as that's exactly what happened.
The Indians (0-1) took an eight-point lead into halftime, but McDonald (1-0) came flying out of the break. The Blue Devils erased that lead by the end of the third quarter, dumping 29 points on their opponents.
Stephen Politano had a huge quarter for McDonald in the third. The senior recorded 12 points, including two 3-pointers and a three-point play the old-fashioned way.
"Stephen Politano was huge in the third quarter," Rasile said. "He knocked down some shots. That's what we expect from a senior leader."
By the end of that quarter, both teams were already in the bonus, with Girard in the double bonus.
Although both teams were struggling with fouls, McDonald's defense wasn't affected by it in the fourth quarter. The Blue Devils continued their full-court pressure on defense, bugging the Girard ballhandlers and forcing turnovers.
Girard committed nine turnovers in the final four mintues, and the team scored only 13 points in the final quarter.
"That's always the gameplan, especially with coach Rasile," senior Christian Rusinowski said. "We just go at them every day with the press every minute of every quarter. Just try to wear them down and hope that we outlast them, which usually, we do."
The McDonald defense put a lot of effort in slowing down Girard's Craig Randall in the second half. The sophomore guard poured 20 points on the Blue Devil defense in the first half, hitting four 3-pointers.
In the second half, however, Randall drained only one from beyond the arc, with the Blue Devils double-teaming him anytime he got the ball. Randall wasn't given any breathing space, even during pauses in the game.
"Even at the coaches' table... and I don't think they liked that very much," Rasile said. "But that's a part of the game. We're going to face guard him wherever he goes, but the kid still came through."
Despite slowing down in the second half, the sophomore still finished with 31 points.
"Craig (Randall)'s a tremendous talent," Girard coach Craig Hannon said. "Craig's the one who stepped up for us tonight, but we need our other guys to step up... He's going to do a lot of good things here."
Back to Rasile, by the end of the game, he said it was odd to be back on the bench.
"A lot," said Raise of whether it was weird. "I'm dying, my wife's yelling at me to calm down, but we'll take the victory."