Spalding breaks out, advances in IAAM play

No. 4 Cavaliers dump No. 2 St. Frances, 58-40

Girls basketball

High Schools

February 15, 2002|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

As LaToya Strong emphasized, losing was not an option for the Archbishop Spalding girls basketball team.

The fourth-ranked Cavaliers broke a two-year pattern of failing to advance past the semifinals of the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference tournament by walloping No. 2 St. Frances, 58-40, in Baltimore last night.

Archbishop Spalding will play for its first conference championship against top-ranked Seton Keough at 6 p.m. tomorrow at Villa Julie College.

For the last two seasons, the Cavaliers' hopes ended in the tournament semifinals. Last year, St. Frances stopped their march en route to the conference title.

"We were tired of it," said Strong, who collected six assists and five rebounds along with five points in primarily a defensive effort. "Today, we were not going to lose. We made up our minds, and we didn't."

Last night was the first time in two seasons that Archbishop Spalding had defeated the Panthers.

Although St. Frances forced seven more turnovers than it gave up, the Cavaliers shot 45 percent (18 of 40) from the field and pulled in seven more rebounds.

"Every time we have played them, we believed that we could beat them," Archbishop Spalding coach Deb Taylor said. "We told them to remember the feeling they had when they lost to [St. Frances] last year. That pushed the returning players."

Much like their quarterfinal victory over No. 8 Mercy Tuesday, the Cavaliers (19-8) struck an equilibrium between their perimeter shooting and their inside strength.

Archbishop Spalding got 14 points and six rebounds from senior forward Kylie Bestul and 13 points, four rebounds and two assists from senior forward Maggie Rapp. And freshman guard Katie Latonick hit four three-pointers - three in the second quarter - and finished with 14 points.

Latonick's fourth three-pointer from the right corner early in the fourth quarter actually glanced off the backboard before falling through the basket.

Trailing 33-19 at halftime, St. Frances went to a full-court trapping defense that yielded a 13-4 run to chop the lead down to five points in the third quarter.

But Archbishop Spalding scored five of the final seven points in the period and the first five points of the fourth to re-establish a double-digit advantage.

"We knew they were going to make a run," said Bestul, who posted 14 points and six rebounds. "But our composure handled it."

Sophomore guard Shadae Swan paced the Panthers (18-6) with 14 points and seven rebounds, but they converted only 26.2 percent (17 of 65) of their shots.

Asked to describe his team's play, St. Frances coach Jerome Shelton said: "I'd rather characterize Spalding's play. They outplayed us. They played a better game than we did."

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