Chase carries McDonogh to AIS A title, 49-34

February 18, 1994|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,Special to The Sun

With 37 seconds remaining in last night's Association of Independent Schools A Division championship game, McDonogh forward Sonia Chase turned to the capacity crowd at Bryn Mawr and took a full bow to a thunderous ovation.

It was a well-deserved moment for the All-Metro senior.

After a sluggish beginning, Chase took the game upon her shoulders, scoring 19 of her game-high 35 points in the second half -- to go along with 20 rebounds and three assists -- in leading No. 13 McDonogh to a 49-34 victory over Roland Park.

Her effort mirrored that of her team, as the Eagles (18-3) turned up the intensity on defense after halftime and virtually turned off the Reds' offense.

"In the first half I felt like everything was going against me," said Chase, whose team was tied at 20 with Roland Park at halftime. "The fouls were going against us, the shots weren't going in and it seemed like Roland Park was getting all the breaks.

"In the second half, I just tried to reverse it. I came outand played my game like I know how to play it. I tried to hustle for every ball and play more intense."

And the effort made all the difference.

After Roland Park (8-4) cut the lead to 26-24 on a jumper by Kim Shuey with just over three minutes left in the third quarter, the Reds went completely cold, hitting just one of their final 25 shots.

"The team got a little tired and the focus just drifted a little bit," said Roland Park coach Mary Hain. "They hung in there and fought, but they were just so tired."

Chase and McDonogh took full advantage.

Chase got the ball on nearly every possession, doing the bulk of her damage on the offensive glass, rebounding and scoring on second-chance opportunities.

"I was a little off on my shot today," said Chase. "I tried to make up for it by making good passes. I get my motivation from my passes. When I see my teammates' shots go through the basket, that's what pushed me on."

For first-year coach Seth Kushkin, the true measure of his star forward's performance was how she played even when her shots didn't fall.

"This wasn't one of her best performances, but she played hard the entire way," said Kushkin. "It was her last game and she knew it was do or die."

Chase, who will attend and play at the University of Maryland, said the final moments of her high school career were bittersweet.

"I started thinking about late in the fourth quarter when we had the game wrapped up and everyone came over to me and said, 'I enjoyed watching you play,' " said Chase. "Right now I feel happy, overjoyed, excited for the next four years."

"I took a bow because I just felt the need to thank everybody."

As for Kushkin, he faces the prospect of preparing for next season without Chase. "I think I'll take a few days off and worry about that when summer comes around," he said. "Hopefully we'll be just as competitive."

For this first-year coach, topping this season's performance will be quite a chore.

"Right now I'm just speechless," said Kushkin. "I never thought that when we were 2-2 that we'd go 16-1 the rest of the season and win the championship. How do you top that?"

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