Like most tight basketball games, last night's final of the 13th annual Noel Classic girls basketball tournament at Archbishop Spalding was decided at the foul line.
No. 4 St. Mary's (8-2) sank seven of 10 foul shots down the stretch to hold off No. 6 Broadneck, 49-42, and repeat as $H tournament champions.
"We made our foul shots when we had to," said St. Mary's first-year coach Harry Dobson. "We make them shoot 50 foul shots a day, and tonight it paid off."
The Saints struggled against Broadneck's half-man, half-zone defense in the early going, and trailed by four at the half, 23-19.
Broadneck's 1-1-3 defensive scheme was effective in denying the ball to St. Mary's prolific scorer Randall Goldsborough, but the senior guard still managed to notch 14 points.
The Bruins (5-1) got some help from the bench in the first half as 5-11 senior forward Kennita Kirby-Jones checked in and tallied six of her eight points.
St. Mary's, which finished 20-9 a year ago, opened the second half with an 8-2 run that gave it a 27-25 lead with 3 minutes, 39 seconds remaining in the third quarter. When the Saints needed a bucket in the second half, Goldsborough, Bridget Smith or Missy Holmes was there to supply it. Smith finished as the game's leading scorer with 15 points, including the contest's only three-pointer.
In the consolation game, No. 13 Mercy slipped by the host
Cavaliers, 48-45, to claim third-place honors.