No. 1 St. Frances cuts suspense short

Late run tops John Carroll for division title, 50-43

Girls basketball

February 12, 2000|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The last time the St. Frances girls basketball team played John Carroll, the Panthers needed a last-second three-pointer to pull out the victory.

Last night, with an Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland division title on the line, the Baltimore City power put an end to the drama early, using a 7-0 run late in the fourth quarter to vault to a 50-43 win over the host Patriots.

With the victory, No. 1 St. Frances (21-2 overall, 15-1 league) wrapped up a division title and the top seed in next week's IAAM tournament.

In terms of tournament seedings, the game meant little, since the top two teams in each division draw first-round byes.

The teams could meet again in Thursday's semifinals, with the final set for Saturday at Loyola College.

St. Frances led this one nearly wire-to-wire, running out to a 10-2 lead and, after No. 5 John Carroll tied the game at 33 with an 8-0 run to end the third quarter, regained control by holding the Patriots without a basket for the first 6: 25 of the fourth quarter.

"All we talked about was intensity in our defense," said Panthers guard Shanell Watson (17 points). "We play defense and our offense will come."

Playing pressure, man-to-man defense, St. Frances held John Carroll (17-6, 13-3) to 26 percent shooting, including 2-for-14 in the fourth quarter.

"We just weren't hitting our shots," said John Carroll coach Kathleen Shanna, who kept her team in a zone defense most of the game in an attempt to slow down the run-and-gun Panthers.

"We felt like we had to play a zone to try and contain their running game -- slow it down a little bit. In the end, they made the shots.

Leading 39-37 with four minutes to play, St. Frances sealed the win with a 7-0 run over the next two minutes, including consecutive layups by Shalynn Harrison, Watson and Shanika Wallace.

After shooting just 26 percent during the first three quarters, the Panthers hit six of their first 12 in the fourth, including a key three-pointer by Watson.

"We had confidence in our shot," said Watson. "Just keep taking it until you make it."

Kristin Jasper led John Carroll with 16 points and Jennifer Biscoe added nine.

St. Frances dominated play early, using half-court pressure defense to create turnovers, pushing up the ball at every opportunity and controlling both the offensive and defensive boards.

The Panthers led, 26-17, at halftime, holding the Patriots to 22-percent shooting from the floor and forcing 11 turnovers.

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