St. Mary’s Girls Basketball coach Jason Kline has wanted to run a fast-paced offense for a long time.
Unfortunately, they haven’t had the point guard to really pull it off.
At 5′ 9″, freshman Shay Ciezki has filled in the missing piece for the Lancers and is now leading one of the most prolific offenses in the area.
Ciezki, along with a returning core that has loads of varsity experience, has been an unstoppable force starting the season 10-0.
“She could be one of the best ball-handlers in the WNY,” Kline said of Ciezki. “I don’t know anyone that can handle the ball like her, under pressure, at varsity speed, at 14-15 years old. She has natural instincts. She sees the floor at a different level than most people her age. She’s an all-around great player.”
Wednesday night, Ciezki topped her season average of 23.7 points per game netting 28 as the Lancers opened up Monsignor Martin play by outpacing the Mount St. Mary’s Thunder, 83-53.
The freshman has been the floor general for an offense that has scored at least 50 points a game, even reaching the 90-point mark on a couple of occasions.
“It’s kind of crazy coming in as a freshman and having great success,” Ciezki said. “After a couple games, my shot was good, I could drive; I just felt it.”
Kline was expecting his team to improve on last year’s 20-10 record, but he didn’t think things would be going this well so quickly.
“It certainly wasn’t the start we were expecting,” Kline said. “I knew we had a good team but we were young. I knew we had a good player coming in (Ciezki) but I didn’t think it would change the chemistry of the team that much. Did I expect to come out 10-0? No, not really.”
St. Mary’s offense caught fire early on at home on Wednesday hitting four-straight threes to take a 14-4 lead less than halfway through the first quarter.
MSM quickly responded by going on a 9-0 run to come within one of St. Mary’s with 1:30 left in the quarter.
However, Ciezki came back on the following possession, making a layup to spark a 19-0 run that lasted until the five-minute mark of the second quarter. Caitlin Bish (15 points) capped off the run with a three-pointer.
The Thunder fought back but trailed 46-30 at the half.
Mount St. Mary’s scored on their first two possession to the start the second half, cutting the deficit to 11 but the Lancers quickly retook control with buckets from Ciezki and Caroline Zanghi.
St. Mary’s finished the third quarter on a 17-2 run, taking a 69-44 lead into the fourth.
Grace O’Brien led the Mount with 15 points, teammate Lauren Mucica had 14.
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