No. 3 Keough pushes back Mercy

Stifled early on by zone, Valderas, Anger break out against No. 5 Magic, 42-32

Girls basketball

January 10, 2002|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

Fifth-ranked Mercy's zone defense stifled No. 3 Seton Keough's inside game for the first 27 minutes yesterday, limiting 6-foot Jackie Valderas and 6-1 Jessica Anger to a collective six points.

Midway through the fourth quarter, however, the Gators' senior duo scored all the points in a 7-0 run that boosted host Seton Keough to a 42-32 victory in an Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference contest.

While Mercy (9-5, 3-3 conference) held off the Gators' post game, Magic junior Colette Hailey ran wild, scoring 20 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.

Hailey's follow shot with 5:16 left in the game gave the Magic a 29-27 edge, its first lead since 7-5. Then the Gators started looking inside.

"We said at halftime that we needed to go inside," said Anger, who finished with nine points. "We didn't do it as much in the third quarter but in the fourth quarter, we did it a lot. We knew we were bigger than them."

At 5:03, Anger started the run, picking up a foul on a layup attempt and hitting one free throw.

Valderas (nine points, 10 rebounds) followed with back-to-back layups. First, she got open under the basket for an inbound pass from Kaitlin Keene. On Mercy's next possession, Valderas swatted Hailey's shot out of the air and Anger grabbed the rebound. She fed Valderas off the long pass for another layup.

"They kept swinging the ball to the wing," said Mercy coach Mary Ella Marion, "so we were telling our forward on that side to pull out. She pulled out a little too early and they had a good look inside. The girl was there and she was taking a layup."

After a Magic turnover, Kerry O'Connell hit Anger for a 12-foot jumper, pushing the lead to 34-29.

The Gators (8-4, 5-2) might have run away with the game right then, but Sara Franz fouled Hailey on a three-point attempt. Hailey nailed all three foul shots to bring the Magic within 34-32 with 2:40 to go.

Franz atoned for her mistake, spotting Anger alone under the basket for an easy two points and a 36-32 lead with 2:22 remaining.

Mary Olds, Franz and O'Connell extended the lead by hitting all of their free throws, two each, in the final 1:22.

Hailey kept the Magic in the game, picking up the slack as leading scorer BJ Banjo struggled with her shot, going 1-for-14 from the field and finishing with four points.

Despite the loss, Marion was pleased that that the Magic gave the Gators such a fierce battle.

"I can't fault their effort," said Marion. "We usually come in here and get blown out after the first quarter. To be right with them with three or four minutes left to go in the game, I can't be more pleased with my kids. I can't remember the last time we were in that situation here."

The Gators also got a big game from Franz, who scored 10 of her 12 points in the first half, including two three-pointers.

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