Spalding takes away Mercy's shot at upset

No. 2 Cavs outscore Magic 19-10 in fourth, win, 58-49

Girls basketball

High Schools

January 12, 2002|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

For 22 minutes, the Mercy girls basketball team played like a squad prepared to register the third upset this week in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference.

Unfortunately for the fifth-ranked Magic, the game ran 10 minutes longer. In the fourth quarter, No. 2 Archbishop Spalding relied on a 19-10 advantage to pull away from the visitors, 58-49, last night in Severn.

Senior forward Kylie Bestul scored 12 of her team-high 16 points in the second half as the Cavaliers (12-4, 7-1 conference) avoided becoming the third higher-ranked team in the league to suffer a loss. (No. 17 McDonogh shocked both top-ranked St. Frances and eighth-ranked St. Mary's this week.)

"We always have confidence in a tough situation like that," said Bestul, who also posted 14 rebounds and three blocks. "We kind of thrive on the pressure, and we knew that we could beat this team. We didn't panic."

The same could have been said of Mercy, which had dropped a tough 10-point loss to No. 3 Seton Keough on Wednesday. But the Magic (9-6, 4-4) bounced back in emphatic fashion last night, sprinting out to a 10-2 lead.

Both teams continued to trade baskets until Bestul grabbed an offensive rebound and sent in a put-back; then freshman Stacy Hunt stole the ball, dropped in a layup while being fouled and converted the ensuing free throw to help Archbishop Spalding close the gap to 15-12 at the end of the first quarter.

Two three-pointers by Hunt and a free throw from junior forward Lizzy Bayly gave the Cavaliers their first lead, at 19-17, about a minute into the second quarter, but senior guard B.J. Banjo scored four points during a 6-0 run to restore Mercy's lead.

The Magic didn't relinquish that advantage until freshman guard Katie Latonick opened the fourth quarter with a three-pointer, giving Archbishop Spalding a 42-39 lead.

After the teams exchanged baskets, Latonick hit another three-pointer to extend the Cavaliers' lead to 47-41 lead.

"It made me feel good to contribute, but it was off my teammates' assists," said Latonick, who also grabbed four rebounds. "They got me the shots."

Cavaliers coach Deb Taylor said she was impressed with her team's tenacity late in the game.

"I thought we did well to come out of a big hole, which we dug ourselves," Taylor said. "We maintained our composure until we had our run."

Banjo, who compiled six rebounds and three steals, scored 10 of her game-high 25 points in the fourth quarter, but no other Mercy player registered a point in the period.

"We didn't finish on our opportunities on the inside," said Magic coach Mary Ella Marion. "And against a team like Spalding, you can't do that."

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