Roland Park paints loss on St. Mary's Reds' strength inside sinks No. 1 Saints, 49-41

Girls basketball

January 11, 1998|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

To beat No. 1 St. Mary's, third-ranked Roland Park needed the inside scoop.

Kelsey Twist, Elizabeth Ryan and Lauren Miller proved such a dominant inside force that the Reds pulled off a 49-41 upset yesterday at Villa Julie College.

Twist, Ryan and Miller combined for 33 rebounds as the Reds out-rebounded St. Mary's 45-36. The Reds' dominance was especially clear on the offensive boards.

"They had second, third and fourth shots and we just didn't rebound with them," said Saints coach Harry Dobson.

Twist, a 5-foot-10 freshman and AAU Under-13 Co-Player of the Year last year, had 15 rebounds while 5-6 junior Ryan had 10 and 6-0 senior Miller, eight.

"I thought we would have the advantage inside," said Reds coach Scott Buckley. "Their two post players are really &r converted guards. The only teams that have beaten us have been teams with a dominating center."

One of those teams was second-ranked McDonogh, which beat the Reds, 62-47, Monday and will play host to St. Mary's tomorrow. McDonogh likely will become the first Association of Independent Schools team to assume the No. 1 ranking in The Sun's next Top 20 girls basketball poll.

This will be the second time that the Saints (12-5) have slipped from the top spot this season.

"We've been playing inconsistently," said Saints point guard Emily Lipton. "We have a great game one game and the next game, we'll be awful. Today, we were just rushing our offense. We need to relax and let the game come to us. We're trying too hard."

Lipton, the All-Metro Player of the Year last year, didn't help the Saints when she picked up three fouls in seven minutes and had to sit until the middle of the third quarter. She finished with only nine points but scored five in the fourth quarter to help rally the Saints, who never led after the first 12 minutes.

The Reds took the lead for good when Ryan's buzzer-beating follow gave them a 24-22 halftime lead. They pulled away with a 10-3 run to open the second half.

The Saints turned the ball over twice in the paint in the first minute of the half and three more times as Reds Betsy Gaines and Stasia Thomas scored four points each. Twist converted Gaines' long outlet pass for a 34-25 lead, the widest margin of the game.

Lipton returned just before Twist's basket and she, Maria Smear (12 points) and Tiffany Schummer (10 points) helped rally the Saints.

"No lead is ever enough against them," said Reds guard Meghan Kelly. "We knew if we let up for a second, they would come back and take the lead."

The Reds didn't let up, but the Saints rallied to within 41-38 by the time Lipton hit a short jumper with 4: 12 left in the game.

"The way they can shoot the ball, I knew they were capable of putting in two, three, four threes in a row," said Buckley, "so we stayed with it. I really liked our chances in a close game. This year, we won three close games in Louisiana and the [Elizabeth] Seton game that we won was close the whole way, so we've learned to play in close games."

Gaines, who scored 11 of her 17 points in the fourth quarter, kept the Saints at bay with her clutch play. She scored eight straight and answered Lipton's basket with two free throws and a short jumper to put the Reds ahead 45-38.

Lipton's three-pointer cut the margin to 45-41 with 2: 14 left, but the Saints missed their last three shots while the Reds converted four of six free throws in the final 1: 05.

"We had good opportunities to score and we just didn't score," said Dobson. "We're up and down in shooting and turnovers. Today we had a lot of turnovers [18], a lot of unforced errors."

Dobson has never lost two games in a row in 13 years as St. Mary's head coach and the Saints will try to keep that going when they travel to meet McDonogh tomorrow at 5: 30.

Pub Date: 1/11/98

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