Seton Keough overwhelms Spalding

Gators turn 1-point deficit at halftime into 56-30 win

Girls basketball

High Schools

January 08, 2000|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

First came the swarming defense from No. 1-ranked Seton Keough last night.

The baskets soon followed, one after another in a near-flawless third quarter that turned a tightly contested first half against No. 5 Archbishop Spalding into a 56-30 win for the Gators.

Just how dominant was Seton Keough after going into halftime down 24-23 at home?

The Gators, now 12-2 overall and 5-0 in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland's A Conference, forced 10 turnovers to start the third quarter with hassling double teams that made inbounding the ball a difficult chore for the Cavaliers.

Offensively, the Gators hit eight of their first 14 field-goal attempts to turn the deficit into a 42-24 lead.

"It's just a great feeling, and nothing you can say can describe what that feels like," said senior guard Nikki Brown, who scored a game-high 15 points. "We just wanted to keep up the intensity, come out hard on defense and let the offense take care of itself."

Brown's driving layup gave the Gators their first lead at 25-24 on their opening possession of the second half.

A Cavaliers turnover was followed by Denise King's three-pointer at the other end. Then came a steal and layup by Jackie Valderas. Another turnover was followed by a baseline jumper by Meaghan Allan.

The only field goal for the Cavaliers (10-3, 4-1) in the second half came with three seconds left in the third quarter, a basket inside from Kylie Bestul that sent them into the fourth quarter down 44-28.

"It's disappointing, because we've been playing so great and together. I think their defensive pressure was something we haven't seen, and it really took us out of our game plan," said Spalding coach Deb Taylor. "I think the kids will respond fine -- we're still a very good basketball team. They were relentless, but it was little things on our part that we didn't do, like setting screens to get open."

Junior point guard Keisha Blackwell finished with 11 points for the Gators and also did a good job of distributing. King added 10 points with Valderas supplying nine points and a strong rebounding effort.

"[Spalding] came out pumped up in the first half thinking they could win, but we weren't going to let that happen," Seton Keough coach Jim Stromberg said. "We just did what we do best, and that's pressing teams. And when we make shots, we're real good. I think this game is going to get us over the hump."

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