McDonogh tops Mercy by 8

Nelson scores 27

Unranked Eagles avenge loss to No. 9 Magic with lots of teamwork

Girls basketball

High Schools

January 12, 2001|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

McDonogh senior Katie Nelson said her team's early-season basketball loss to No. 9-ranked Mercy was "all that we were thinking about," heading into last night's rematch.

Nelson certainly had her head in the duel, scoring a game-high 27 points that led the unranked Eagles to a 56-48 revenge upset of the visiting Magic.

The difference in this one - the supporting casts.

While Nelson got offensive support from players such as forward Natalie Sylvester (eight points), center Camrell Gholston (seven) and forward Mariah Daly (six), Mercy was forced to rely almost exclusively on big guns B. J. Banjo (22) and Colette Hailey (18). While the two combined for 40 points - thanks in large part to eight three-pointers - the rest of the Magic scored eight.

"There wasn't anybody else on our team [who] stepped up and helped out in any way offensively," said Mercy coach Mary Ella Marion. "That was key for us tonight. They had people helping out Nelson and hitting shots when they were open. We didn't have that luxury."

For McDonogh (9-4 overall, 6-4 Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland), another key was preparation.

In the earlier loss, Mercy had used a 1-3-1 zone defense to throw the Eagles off their game and hold them to less than 20-percent shooting. This time, however, the contrast was striking, as McDonogh continually used extra passes and offensive rebounds to create good looks at the basket, and shot 37 percent.

"This time we definitely were ready," said Nelson. "We knew what we had to do, and we shot really well."

Nelson, in particular, shot well, especially in the second half, when she scored 16 to help turn a 24-24 game early in the third into 41-29 lead by late in the period.

"Katie always gives us what we need, whether it's points, or assists, or whatever else it is," said McDonogh coach Katie Cooper, who had high praise for several other players, as well. "Mariah Daly also did a great job rebounding, and Camrell [Gholston] did a good job underneath. I think, all around, we did a pretty nice job."

McDonogh got off to a quick start, pulling out to a 15-7 lead after the first 6:17 following a pair of three-pointers by Nelson. Mercy (7-7, 3-4), however, fought back, getting four straight three-pointers from Banjo as part of a 13-2 run that put the Magic on top 20-17 by early in the second quarter.

In the second half, McDonogh pulled away, using man-to-man defense to embark on an 8-0 run of its own, taking a 32-24 lead on Daly's put-back midway through the third quarter.

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