Reds win game, bit of respect Roland Park pulls away from Seton Keough, 51-43


December 19, 1997|By Kevin Eck | Kevin Eck,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Sixth-ranked Roland Park knocked off another perennial basketball power yesterday in what is quickly becoming a breakthrough season for the Reds.

Junior guard Betsy Gaines scored 18 points to lead host Roland Park to a hard-fought, 51-43 victory over No. 9 Seton Keough.

The win over a strong Catholic League team such as Seton Keough helps to give the Reds, who play in the lightly-regarded Association of Independent Schools, the respect they seek.

Roland Park (6-1) went 21-3 last season, but it did not beat a ranked team and was soundly defeated twice by rival McDonogh. The Reds had scored an upset win over Bladensburg's Elizabeth Seton, which was then the top-ranked team in the state, earlier this season.

"This is bigger for us than the Elizabeth Seton win," Roland Park coach Scott Buckley said. "To beat someone local gives us a little more credibility. I think we could compete in the Catholic League, but a lot of people still don't know who Roland Park is."

Before yesterday's contest, Buckley said he was concerned about the timing of the game -- one day after Seton Keough had suffered a humbling 46-point loss to St. Mary's. He expected the Gators would be itching to get back a little respect of their own.

Seton Keough (2-3), which has been playing all season without ** projected starters Denise King (heel injury), Nikki Brown (knee injury) and Nessa Klein (academics), did exactly that.

Roland Park led most of the way, but they could not put Seton Keough away until the final minute.

"The good part is that we didn't play well against St. Mary's, and we came out and competed hard today," Seton Keough coach Jim Stromberg said. "It's not like we lost the game, as much as their kids won it."

The crucial play of the game occurred with 48 seconds remaining and the Reds clinging to a three-point lead. Seton Keough's Keisha Blackwell was called for an intentional foul as she attempted to stop Gaines from converting a breakaway layup.

Gaines made both free throws and the intentional foul call allowed the Reds to maintain possession. Meghan Kelly then converted both ends of a one-and-one to boost Roland Park's advantage to 48-41 with 42 seconds left.

"It wasn't the difference in the game, but it's a big call at a crucial part," Stromberg said. "I thought our kid went for the ball. But if I was on the other side, I'm sure I would have seen it the other way."

Guard Meghan Allan (team-high 14 points) helped to keep the Gators close by making four three-pointers, and Seton Keough took its only lead (22-20) on Amanda Foster's basket to open the second half.

Pub Date: 12/19/97

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