No. 3 St. Mary's stifles Annapolis, 66-47 Guards Lipton, Smear spark Saints' defense, score 18 points each

Girls basketball

January 25, 1998|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

A couple of miles -- only a five-minute drive -- separates St. Mary's and Annapolis High.

The big question everyone had at a packed Annapolis High gym last night was what separated the two schools' respective basketball teams?

It didn't take long to find an answer.

No. 3-ranked St. Mary's relentless defense was simply too much for the No. 9 Panthers to handle, causing turnover after turnover, as the Saints took control early and coasted to a 66-47 win.

The Saints' guard play was the difference with juniors Maria Smear and Emily Lipton responsible for most of the disruption. Both had five steals and 18 points -- most of Smear's coming on 7-for-11 shooting from the field.

"Our defense set the tempo of the game. That gets us in our transition game and we're a better team when we push the ball," said Lipton. "With the public school against the private, Annapolis our big rivalry and how much this game was built up in the papers, we were pretty fired up."

Annapolis guard Kia Green scored with 5: 43 left in the first quarter to provide the Panthers (9-3) with a 6-4 lead, but the Saints (14-6) responded with a 10-0 run. A long jumper from Smear started it and six more points from Lipton carried the Saints to a 14-6 lead.

The Panthers didn't make another field goal until the 3: 08 mark of the second quarter and committed 13 of their 18 first-half turnovers in between.

When Smear got a steal and a layup with 18 seconds left in the half and then came right back to hit a jumper at the buzzer, the Saints had a comfortable 32-16 lead.

"In the first half we didn't take care of the ball," said Annapolis coach Dave Griffith. "Teams are starting to muscle up on us up top on our guards. We had 18 turnovers in the first half, you can't do that against a good team and expect to win. St. Mary's is very quick and they run the floor real well. With basically five guards, I was also real surprised how physical they were."

The key going in was who would win out -- St. Mary's guards or the strong inside play of Annapolis which features three strong post players in Jackie Edwards, Cammi Cottrell and Emily Dammeyer.

Edwards finished with 21 points and Cottrell added 13, but the Panthers were never able to establish anything in their half-court game for any extended period.

The Saints, with plenty of balance, got 14 points and nine rebounds from Jodi Davidson and 10 more points from Tiffany Schummer to claim bragging rights.

The two teams continued their rivalry after not playing last season.

"We love to play them," said St. Mary's coach Harry Dobson. "Our defense really did a great job denying the ball. We knew our guards had to beat their guards and if we can do that, we'd win. Maria was excellent tonight and it was a great effort from everyone."

Pub Date: 1/25/98

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