St. Mary's, St. Frances to meet for Catholic title

February 28, 1994|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,Special to the Sun

The semifinals of the girls Catholic League tournament yesterday at the College of Notre Dame produced few surprises as the top two teams advanced to the championship.

The defense of top-seeded and third-ranked St. Mary's stifled the offense of Mount de Sales, and the Saints took advantage of a big performance from Annetta Davis for a 68-39 victory in one semifinal.

Defense played a big role in the other semifinal as second-seeded and fourth-ranked St. Frances kept No. 13 Seton Keough quiet and had four players score in double figures in a 60-49 victory over the Gators.

St. Mary's (25-2) will meet St. Frances for the third time this season -- the first two games went to the Saints -- in the championship tonight at 8. This will be the Saints' seventh straight trip to the title game, and they've won the past two.

Seton Keough and Mount de Sales play in the 6 p.m. consolation game.

The victory was St. Mary's third of the season over Mount de Sales (15-8). The Saints' defense turned out to be too much for the Sailors.

Staying in a straight man-to-man, St. Mary's continually disrupted Mount de Sales' offense. The Sailors were 3-for-27 from the field in the first half as the Saints took a 26-15 lead.

"Our defense was great in the first half," said St. Mary's coach Harry Dobson. "They only got three baskets. I can't ask for any better defense than that."

The second half was not bad, either. The Sailors finished 13 of 68 from the field.

The Saints broke the game open in the second half. Davis (18 points, 17 rebounds) controlled the boards despite missing seven minutes because of foul trouble.

St. Frances (22-3) also relied on tough defense. Seton Keough (17-8) stayed close early, but the Panthers caused trouble when they switched to a 2-3 zone.

The Gators hit only 18 of 60 from the field, as St. Frances often pressured them in half-court situations and made passing inside difficult. The two teams had met three times -- all St. Frances victories -- and were familiar with each other.

"We didn't want to go out there and take them for granted," said St. Frances guard Kristi Webb, who had a game-high 17 points. "We put pressure on them more and changed the defense more [after the first quarter]."

St. Frances led 16-11 after one, but took command in the second quarter. The Panthers scored 12 of the final 15 points of the half, including a three-pointer by Webb with two seconds left for a 34-19 lead.

The biggest problem for St. Frances was fouls. Webb fouled out with 4:10 left and the Panthers on top, 52-35. The Gators made one last run, scoring 12 straight to slice the lead to seven, but could come no closer.

L "Those girls can play," said Seton Keough coach Mike Mohler.

"We had to play flawless, and we didn't. We played hard, and we didn't quit."

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