Eagles' role players take center stage McDonogh gets clutch play from unexpected sources to stop John Carroll, 64-44

January 27, 1998|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

Aisha Mason, Jazmine Norton and Katie Nelson don't often get a chance to shine in No. 1-ranked McDonogh's offense, but they seized their moment last night.

The trio combined for 10 points in a fourth-quarter run that finally cracked open a close game at No. 5 John Carroll and sparked the Eagles' 10th straight win, 64-44.

All along, Mason, Norton and Nelson have been supporting cast members playing in the shadow of high profile teammates Vicki Brick, Shani Moore and Mary Urban. It wasn't any different through most of last night's game. Brick (25 points) and Moore (20 points, 10 rebounds) posted their usual big numbers although Urban, nursing a sprained ankle, did not score.

"We just let them do what they do and we help them out," said Mason, who had seven points and seven rebounds last night. "But we knew Ellen [Haller] was in foul trouble and Mary's ankle hurt, so we wanted to step up. We're always waiting for our chance."

Their chance came after the Patriots cut an 11-point Eagles lead to 46-40 on Sarah Oktavec's buzzer-beating 22-footer to end the third quarter and Jenn Westervelt's three free throws early in the fourth.

But in just 43 seconds, the Eagles' edge grew to 12 points. Nelson cut inside and connected with a Norton pass for a layup. On the next possession, Nelson found Mason for another layup. Brick made it 52-40 by snatching a loose ball and converting the layup.

The blitz continued after Westervelt, who scored 19 -- including rTC all seven of the Patriots' fourth quarter points -- converted a three-point play. Norton hit a follow, Nelson canned two free throws and Mason added another put-back to run the lead to 58-43.

Through the final six minutes the Eagles outscored John Carroll, 18-4. Mason, Norton and Nelson combined for 12 points, seven rebounds and two assists and shot 4-for-4 from the free throw line and 4-for-6 from the field.

"Vicki, Shani and Mary are the ones who scored the points," said McDonogh coach Katie Keating, "but without those other three, we wouldn't have the opportunities [to score] that we have and we wouldn't play as well as we do."

For the Patriots (12-5), trouble at the foul line proved as costly as the Eagles' late run. They started out 2-for-9 and finished 9-for-17.

"We have been shooting almost 70 percent as a team from the foul line, but they just didn't drop for us," said Patriots coach Kathleen Shannon. "That certainly could have changed the complexion of the game."

The Eagles have now beaten seven ranked teams by an average of 19.7 points. They likely will not face another threat to their top ranking until the Association of Independent Schools tournament when the two-time defending champs could face a showdown with No. 2 Roland Park, which they beat, 62-47, on Jan. 5

Pub Date: 1/27/98

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