Talk about rude greetings.
Back from its holiday trip to Walt Disney World in Florida, the Solvay girls basketball team sought to solidify its hold on the OHSL Liberty division lead.
Instead, Bishop Ludden took that lead away Thursday night, running its own win streak to seven by frustrating the Bearcats in every possible manner while taking a 54-40 victory.
Undefeated at 8-0 when it went to Florida, Solvay went 1-2 in the KSA Tournament at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex, splitting its first two games before falling to Summit Country Day 54-36 in the tournament finale on Dec. 28.
Solvay head coach Shawn Mitchell said his team loved the experience of the trip and the challenge of playing against top teams. But Mitchell added that they struggled adjusting to the different game rules -- which included the lack of a 30-second shot clock and a 10-second rule to get the ball past midcourt.
Another difficulty, said Mitchell, was the fact that his team didn't get much time to practice, with the Christmas and New Year's holidays and the flights to and from Florida.
While all this was going on, Ludden had completed a perfect 6-0 run through December by crushing Bishop Grimes and Watertown IHC to win the Grimes Holiday Tournament. The Gaelic Knights came into this showdown fully confident in its ability to handle what Solvay could throw at them.
Really, the game was decided in the first half. Ludden confounded Solvay with a wide variety of defenses, from a zone to a full-court press, leading to a rash of turnovers. Also, the Bearcats were cold from the field for most of the night, unable to hit shots with consistency.
On offense, Molly Byrne again set the tone, getting 10 of her 12 points in the game's first nine minutes. Midway through the second quarter, Ludden carried a 25-10 lead, and would spend the rest of the night protecting it.