If last year's final of the Noel Classic was any indication of how the two teams involved would fare in the months ahead, Broadneck girlsbasketball coach Bruce Springer would be sporting a smile from baseline to baseline.
And St. Mary's coach Harry Dobson would probably be begging for his old junior varsity coaching job.
Unfortunately for Springer and his Bruins, that prediction could prove as accurate as Broadneck's shooting percentage Saturday night. The previously unbeaten visitors converted a dismal 17 of 46 from thefloor and a paltry 6 for 16 from the foul line, while losing to defending champion St. Mary's, 49-42, in the finals of the 13th annual Noel Classic at Archbishop Spalding.
Last season, St. Mary's cruisedthrough the tournament before slipping by upstart Old Mill, 43-41, in the finale. The Saints went on to flounder in February and March, while the runner-up Patriots made it all the way to Catonsville Community College, where they captured the Class 4A state championship.
"If you ask any of my players, I don't think any of them felt like they were going to be undefeated this year, so the first loss had to come some time," said Springer. "It's a shame it came now, but I don't think we should be ashamed of our effort."
The Bruins (5-1) came out with one thing on their minds -- denying Randall Goldsborough the ball. Broadneck was able to do that in the first quarter, as the Bruins held the senior guard scoreless and stayed even with the Saints, 8-8.
St. Mary's (8-2) struggled against the Bruins' custom-made defense throughout the first half and trailed at the intermission, 23-19.
But containing Goldsborough became a more difficult task for a tiring Broadneck defense in the second half. Goldsborough opened the period with a driving layup. Then, following a turnover, she fed teammate Kristine Manning to even it up at 23-23. Goldsborough finished with 14 points.
"When she gets hot she's hard to stop," Springer said of Goldsborough. "She can throw it in from anywhere, like you saw on that one where she didn't even look at the basket. It's hard to defend something like that.
"We tried some things on defense to focusin on Randall, and then one or two of their other players would hit some baskets and that changes your whole defensive thinking. When youhave three guards who can shoot the ball, its tough to defend."
Dobson, who refers to Goldsborough as Gus, said, "She's clutch coming down the stretch. When they go man-to-man and we go to the clear, nobody is going to stay with Gus. Nobody can stay with Gus one-on-one. All we had to do was get her to go to the hole, and if she doesn't make the shot, she gets fouled."
Bridget Smith's baseline jumper with3:39 left in the third quarter put the Saints out front, 27-25. Despite Michelle Meyer (10 points), Sarah Bannat (9) and Kennita Kirby-Jones (8), Broadneck would not lead again.
Smith, a 5-4 sophomore guard, led all scorers with 15 points. St. Mary's senior forward AmeliaMikula netted 10 points, while Manning and Missy Holmes tallied six and four, respectively.
In the consolation game, Amy Langville, voted the tournament's most valuable player, recorded 15 points and seven assists in Spalding's 48-45 loss to Mercy (7-2).
Carrie Parsonsscored a team-high 17 points for the host Cavaliers (5-7), while junior center Gayle Belz led the way for Mercy with a game-high 18 points.