RIVERDALE BHC WZB — RIVERDALE -- Top-ranked Mount Hebron and No. 3 Old Mill will cross paths in the final of the IAABO Christmas Invitational.
The Vikings (5-1) defeated Springbrook of Montgomery County, 62-50, and the Patriots (5-0) won over Bowie, 54-34, in the semifinals last night at Parkdale High. The two will meet in the championship game at 8 tonight.
With Erica McCauley scoring 18 points and adding five steals and assists, Mount Hebron avenged last year's tournament defeat to Springbrook, ranked No. 5 by The Washington Post.
McCauley, a 5-foot-2 junior point guard, was doubtful for last night's contest due to a case of bronchitis. Her condition worsened after Thursday's quarterfinal win over Oxon Hill. But last night, she was in the starting lineup.
"It was up to me to play or not, but I was going to play," said McCauley, who wore a T-shirt and black spandex under her uniform. "We were a lot more composed. We went out there and played our game, and didn't do what the other team did."
The Vikings displayed their tenacious man-to-man defense, which had lacked intensity the previous game. They limited Springbrook's front line, led by 6-footers Lora Aggour and Cecilee Campbell, to 25 points.
Junior forward Kris Bryant added 12 points and seven rebounds for Mount Hebron. Forward Tierney Clark scored 11, and Sandra Benson had 10.
The Vikings' control of the game was threatened seriously only once in the second half, when Springbrook pulled within 47-39 with 5:35 remaining. But Mount Hebron outscored Springbrook, 9-3, to extend its advantage to 56-42, with 3:49 left.
"We played more up to our potential," said Mount Hebron coach Dave Greenberg. "We played great defense in the first half. That's what our program is based on and why we were upset yesterday."
With McCauley hitting a three-pointer to open the scoring, Mount Hebron scored the game's first eight, setting the tone for a 16-10 first-quarter advantage.
Mount Hebron extended its lead to 29-16 at halftime, continuing doing a good job defensively in their man-to-man and collapsing inside on Campbell and Aggour.
There was some good and bad news for Old Mill yesterday. The good news is that the Patriots advanced to the finals, but the bad news is that they haven't yet assembled a consistent performance.
Yesterday in its semifinal victory over Bowie, ranked 14th by The Washington Post, Old Mill shot terribly, hitting only 15 of 76 attempts from the field.