The growth continues – in very encouraging fashion.
Cathedral High School 2022-2023 girls basketball has the feel of a program on the rise – and that’s true even beyond a solid early-season start.
The Irish, after a 15-10 season in 2021-2022, started the 2022-23 season with a record of 4-3 as of early December. And Head Coach Lisa Finn said while the schedule likely will get more difficult as the season continues, the ’22-23 Irish are a young group that is growing by the week.
“We have a good base,” said Finn, now in her fourth season as the Irish’s head coach. “They want to play for their school. They play hard and that has been really refreshing. Our big thing is just get one percent better every day. If we get better every day, we’ll be ready by sectional.”
Finn said the Irish in 2022-2023 will depend largely on defense, with senior guard/forward Layla Gold providing consistent offense – and with a young team growing around her.
“Defense is definitely our identity and we’ve strived to make it that,” Finn said. “Our whole preseason, that’s what we really worked on – our defense and the ability to switch up. We don’t have a lot of scorers right now and we’re going to need to have some people step up.
“We have to finish and they know that, but our identity is definitely going to be defense.”
Gold, who averaged 15.4 points and 5.5 rebounds per game as a junior, averaged 25.2 points and 8.2 rebounds through six games in 2022-2023.
“She can score anywhere on the court,” Finn said of Gold, who will play collegiately at Valpraiso. “If the opposing team puts a guard on her, we put her inside. If they put a post on her, we bring her out. She can handle the ball, too. That has been nice, but we do need some additional scoring and the girls know that.”
Sophomore guards Abby Beasley and Jaeda Wilson have handled ball-handling duties at times early in the season. Beasley was averaging 7.0 points and three assists through six games with Wilson averaging 5.0 points and 1.8 assists per game.
Junior forward Taylor Lewis averaged 9.3 points and 8.5 rebounds through six games, with junior forward/guard Catherine Cline averaging 2.2 points and 5.2 rebounds. Senior Nya Huff averaged 2.3 points and 4.3 rebounds in the post and sophomore guard/forward Reagan Gilmore has played strong in a reserve role with 3.0 points and 1.7 rebounds per game.
Finn said the Irish again will play a difficult schedule in 2022-23. It was ranked 19th-toughest in the state in an early-season Sagarin rating, and Finn said the goal is to prepare for a difficult Class 4A Section 10 tournament that will include Lawrence North, Warren Central, North Central, Indianapolis Attucks, Lawrence Central and Indianapolis Tech.
Warren Central and Lawrence Central were ranked in the Top 20 of the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association poll in early December. The Irish beat No. 14 Warren Central 45-44 in November and also play No. 2 Zionsville, No. 3 Hamilton Southeast and No. 5 Noblesville in the regular season.
“It’s a battle every year when we go to add teams and delete teams from the schedule,” Finn said. “We have to play tough teams or we won’t be prepared. We added Hamilton Southeast and Noblesville this season. We added some tough teams and that will be helpful for sectional.”
Finn said the difficult schedule and eye on building for the long-term is part of a strong culture that continues to strengthen in her fourth season.
“It’s so hard to get it the way you want it, and we’re by no means perfect,” Finn said. “But I do love where we’re headed. It has been a little better each year and this year our seniors are kids who have been here four years with us. That makes a big difference. It has been great.
“I’m always striving to be better. I’m never satisfied. But I feel good about where we are.”
Finn said participation is highest in 2022-2023 than at any time in recent memory, with 30 players and three teams in the program. Finn said the Irish’s junior program also is developing.
“The girls in our program are enjoyable,” Finn said. “They’re fun. They want to play for each other. We have some youngsters who are really, really into playing basketball.
“It makes it really, really nice.”