John Carroll puts away Spalding

Patriots climb within half-game of St. Frances

Girls basketball

February 07, 2000|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

With her drives to the basket and underhand scoop shots, John Carroll's Kristin Jasper has emerged in recent weeks as one of the area's top scoring threats. Yesterday against Archbishop Spalding, the junior helped the host Patriots emerge unscathed from Round 1 in a battle for supremacy among area private schools.

Jasper scored 14, and John Carroll held the Cavaliers to 11 first-half points in a 43-29 win.

The sixth-ranked Patriots' ninth straight victory moved them within a half-game of first-place St. Frances atop their division in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland. No. 11 Spalding fell a half-game behind Seton Keough in the other division. The league will further shake out today when John Carroll (16-4, 12-1) plays host to Seton Keough and Spalding (17-5, 10-3) plays host to St. Frances.

The top two teams in each division receive first-round byes when the playoffs begin Feb. 14.

Jasper has been a key reason for her team's surge to the top, averaging 20 points over her past four games. Yesterday she scored 12 in the first half, helping the Patriots build a 21-9 lead after 15 minutes.

The Cavaliers, meanwhile, struggled on offense, shooting 4-for-24 from the field and committing 13 turnovers in the first two quarters.

With 6-foot-1 center Elizabeth Oktavec (five blocks) patrolling the middle, they couldn't take the ball inside on half-court sets. John Carroll, led by forward Megan Sparks (10 rebounds), did a good job rebounding, holding Spalding to one shot on most possessions.

"We didn't score. You're not going to win a lot of basketball games scoring 29 points," said Spalding coach Deb Taylor. "Their defense was good and they were physical, but we've seen that before. We just weren't aggressive on offense; we were tentative."

Led by Carlisa Howard (eight points) and LaToya Strong (seven), Spalding rallied early in the second half, using an 8-0 run to cut the lead to 25-19. But that would be as close as the Cavaliers would get. The Patriots answered with a 10-2 run to build the lead to 35-21 by the end of the third quarter.

John Carroll coach Kathleen Shanna said the win should give her team added confidence heading into today's matchup with top-ranked St. Frances.

"Every time you win, it builds your confidence," said Shanna. "Spalding is a ranked team and always a tough competitor. Certainly, you take pride when you beat a team like that. Hopefully we'll peak at the right time."

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