Panthers maul Mercy, 78-48

No. 1 St. Frances uses 18-4 start to fuel romp

Girls basketball

High Schools

February 05, 2000|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

For 4 1/2 minutes last night, No. 1 St. Frances played near flawless basketball and that was plenty to carry the Panthers to a 78-48 win over No. 12 Mercy in an Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference contest.

The host Magic scored first, but the Panthers began running up an 18-4 lead just 30 seconds into the game. From that point until three minutes remained in the period, they hit eight of nine shots from the field, converted four steals and outscored the Magic 18-2.

"They had a lot of pressure and we didn't react well," said Mercy guard Kaitie Schuyler. "They came right out in our faces and we collapsed a little bit."

The St. Frances defense sparked the rally and Shanell Watson, who scored eight of her 25 points during the run, made back-to-back steals and hit both layups to push the lead to 16-4. Latanya Blue then grabbed a defensive rebound and hit Brooke Campbell with the outlet pass for the 18-4 advantage.

"When we're playing on the road, we emphasize getting off to a good start, getting the crowd out of the game and keeping the intensity level up," said Panthers coach Jerome Shelton.

The Panthers' defense made it easy on the offense. Seven of the eight shots they hit during the run were layups. Several of them were uncontested.

"We got a lot of easy baskets off our defense and that made me feel real good," said Shelton. "I knew [Mercy was] going to be tough defensively, so the easy baskets gave us a push early and got them a little unsettled."

After the Panthers extended their lead to 23-8 by the end of the quarter, Mercy rallied to start the second. But it could only pull within 25-16, before the Panthers turned it up again. Watson banked in a 20-footer, hit a layup and fed Denae Kennedy for a three-pointer before Campbell nailed a 15-footer to run the lead to 35-16.

The Magic never closed the gap within 15 points.

Blue finished with 17 points, Shanika Wallace had 15 and Campbell added 11 as St. Frances (19-2) remained atop the IAAM A Conference at 13-1.

The Panthers stand just ahead of No. 2 Seton Keough, which suffered its second conference loss in an upset to No. 19 St. Mary's earlier this week.

The Magic (10-8), which got 15 points from B. J. Banjo and 12 from Schuyler, drops to 6-6 in the conference.

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