Top-ranked Mercy gets scare but edges John Carroll, 58-56 Patriots' last-gasp shot to tie game falls off rim

Girls basketball

December 16, 1997|By Kevin Eck | Kevin Eck,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

After winning its first six games by a average of more than 31 points, top-ranked Mercy needed a test against tougher competition.

No. 12 John Carroll, which has been inconsistent in its first five games, needed to prove it was capable of playing with the area's top teams.

Both teams accomplished their goals yesterday.

The host Magic held an 11-point lead early in the fourth quarter, then weathered a late John Carroll rally to hold on for a 58-56 victory in the Catholic League opener for both.

After Jen Westervelt's baseline jumper pulled the Patriots within two points with 39 seconds remaining, Mercy was unable to get off a shot before the 30-second clock expired, giving John Carroll possession with 7.9 seconds left.

Sarah Oktavec then drove the lane for the potential game-tying basket, but the ball rolled around the rim and out. A jump ball was called as the players battled for the rebound, with the possession arrow pointing to Mercy with 0.1 second remaining.

"This is a big win," Mercy coach Mary Ella Marion said. "It's our first test, and we came through with flying colors."

"Being No. 1 is a lot of pressure," said the Magic's Jamie Vogtman, an All-Metro junior center. "When you play some weaker teams and you win by 30, you don't really know if you are No. 1 or not. But a win like this gives you the confidence that you can stay there."

Vogtman scored 20 points to lead the Magic (7-0), and Becky Wilson (12) and Ashlee Courter (10) also scored in double figures.

Mercy guards Katie Schuyler (eight points) and Abby Pyzik (eight points, two three-pointers) also played well, matching up perhaps better than expected against John Carroll's quick, talented guards.

"They have a lot of weapons," John Carroll coach Kathleen Shannon said. "My hat's off to Schuyler. She handled the ball well under a lot of pressure. And Abby [Pyzik] hit some nice shots. They earned my respect today."

The Patriots (3-3) earned some respect as well, bearing no resemblance to the team that was so flat in last week's 13-point loss to Western in the Greater Baltimore Mixer.

"The message we got versus Western is that we always have to come ready to play," Shannon said. "Today, the kids showed a lot of heart and poise. This tells us that we're right there."

The Magic took its biggest lead at 40-28 midway through the third quarter, and held a 56-47 edge with 3: 39 left.

John Carroll, which was led by Westervelt's 21 points, then tightened its defense, scoring seven unanswered points and forcing three turnovers to pull to 56-54.

But the Patriots failed to tie the score by committing turnovers on three straight possessions, including Vogtman's steal of an inbounds pass that Courter converted into a layup to give the Magic a 58-54 lead with 1: 03 left.

In the first quarter, Mercy trailed 16-10 before going on a 17-4 run to seize a lead it did not relinquish.

No. 11 St. Frances 68, No. 17 Woodlawn 60: Freshman Shanika Wallace collected 16 points and eight rebounds to help lead the visiting Panthers (7-0) to victory over the Warriors (1-2). Senior Nillion Lambert chipped in 12 points and nine rebounds and sophomore Charity Lee 12 points and seven rebounds.

Junior Stacie Allen scored 20 points and senior Anita Smith 17 for Woodlawn.

No. 2 McDonogh 71, Milford Mill 47: Vicki Brick scored 26 points to power McDonogh past Milford Mill. Mary Urban added 14 to the Eagles' cause. Chante Alexander had 23 points for Milford Mill.

Pub Date: 12/16/97

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