Buzzer shot caps rally that lifts St. Frances

Panthers score final 8 to edge John Carroll, 50-49

Girls basketball

High Schools

January 08, 2000|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Ruffled by an uncharacteristically poor shooting night, St. Frances guard Shanell Watson said she was half hoping one of her teammates would take the final shot last night against John Carroll.

With her team trailing by two and less than two seconds left, however, the senior picked a good time to regain her confidence.

Watson took a pass about 20 feet from the basket, whirled and fired a high, off-balance prayer that found nothing but net at the buzzer, as No. 2 St. Frances scored the final eight points to shock the 10th-ranked Patriots, 50-49, in an Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland game at the College of Notre Dame.

"I just turned and shot," said Watson, who finished with 12 points but hadn't made a field goal since the second quarter.

It was an improbable end to a game that John Carroll had controlled, using 48 percent shooting in the second half to erase an early nine-point deficit before building a 44-33 lead with 6: 49 left.

"We played a fabulous game," said John Carroll coach Kathleen Shannon, who dressed only eight players due to illnesses. "Our defense was excellent, we made good decisions with the ball and handled the pressure very well. We deserved a better fate."

Down the stretch, however, the Patriots' game fell apart just as the Panthers' came together.

St. Frances (11-1, 5-0) began forcing turnovers with its pressure defense, giving offensive threats Brooke Campbell (14 points), Watson and Venus Jones (nine) easy looks at the basket.

John Carroll (7-4, 3-1) also helped the Panthers, missing four straight foul shots in the final 18 seconds and seven of eight overall in the fourth quarter.

"We were fortunate to win because we didn't play our game," said St. Frances coach Jerome Shelton. "You have to credit John Carroll for that, but we gave ourselves a terrible scare."

Both teams shot poorly early, but the Panthers' more aggressive rebounding helped them score seven of the first 10 points.

Down 19-12, the Patriots got jumpers by Mary Kate Sullivan and Sarah Oktavec to cap an 8-0 run that gave John Carroll its first lead, 20-19, 2: 23 before halftime.

St. Frances led 26-25 at the break.

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