Mercy drops Spalding, 72-59

After slow start, Magic puts away Cavaliers

IAAM basketball

February 16, 2000|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Even with her team trailing host Archbishop Spalding by as many as 11 points in the early moments of yesterday's Interscholastic Association of Maryland quarterfinal, Mercy coach Mary Ella Marion remained the picture of tranquillity.

"It seemed like we were getting good looks at the basket," Marion said. "They just weren't dropping."

Once they began to fall, however, the No. 11 Cavaliers fell right with them, as the Magic shot 52 percent from the field over the final 2 1/2 quarters in a 72-59 win.

Mercy (17-8) advances to tomorrow's semifinals, where it will play host to Roland Park, a 49-47 upset winner over top-ranked St. Frances, at 4 p.m. In their lone meeting this season, the Magic edged the Reds, 38-36.

In the early moments yesterday, however, it looked as if the Baltimore City team might not get that far.

"I was trying to encourage them to keep taking the shots," said Marion, whose team missed eight of its first nine shots and trailed, 15-4, after the first five minutes.

Led by forwards Kaitie Schuyler (20 points) and B. J. Banjo (14), and guards Colette Hailey (18) and Abby Pyzik (14), the No. 12 Magic began hitting their shots and quickly changed the complexion of the game with a 20-5 run over the next 6: 30 to take a 24-20 lead.

After Spalding (18-8) regained the lead, 31-29, on a pair of free throws by Kylie Bestul, Mercy took it back for good on a three-pointer by Hailey in the final minute of the half. The Magic put it away by scoring 13 of the first 18 in the third quarter.

Defensively, the Magic used a 1-3-1 zone to force Spalding's offense to the perimeter. The strategy proved effective, as the Cavaliers shot 4-for-18 beyond the three-point line and committed 24 turnovers.

Spalding's offense also became one-dimensional, with Lauren Schaech (23 points) and Bestul (18) combining to score all but three of their team's field goals through the first three quarters.

"All year, the reason we were successful was because we typically had five kids average somewhere around 10 points," said Cavaliers coach Deb Taylor. "Today, they didn't get their shots. I give Mercy credit -- they play hard and they're a good team -- but it's a very discouraging loss because we thought we were ready."

No. 5 John Carroll 54, No. 16 St. Mary's 32: Kristin Jasper scored 17 points and Elizabeth Octavec added 12 to help the host Patriots (18-6) roll over the Saints (13-12) and into the semifinals.

No. 4 Seton Keough 42, McDonogh 24: Keisha Blackwell and Denise King had 11 points apiece as the host Gators (22-4) won their A Conference quarterfinal.

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