No. 2 Seton Keough stymies Catonsville

Held scoreless for 11:45, Comets are routed, 67-37

Girls basketball

High Schools

February 20, 2002|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

For Seton Keough senior Jackie Valderas, last night's 67-37 win over neighborhood rival Catonsville typified the Gators' entire girls basketball season.

Since the first day of practice, the Gators have battled adversity. They fought to overcome the death of teammate Meghan Puls, who died in September from injuries suffered in an automobile accident. They fought to overcome the deaths of two team grandparents.

Last night, they also fought to overcome Saturday's 45-42 upset loss to Archbishop Spalding in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference championship.

"We came out here tonight to make a point," said Valderas. "We've faced a lot of adversity this year ... and we've always bounced back. Saturday night was a big blow for us and we just proved that we can bounce back from anything and play better than we have all season. This got everybody smiling again."

The No. 2 Gators (23-5) had plenty to smile about in the third quarter when they cracked open a close game by shutting out the No. 7 Comets (18-5) for the entire quarter and then some.

With an 11-0 run, Catonsville had taken a 27-25 lead on two Andrea Denton free throws with 2:01 left before halftime. But the Comets did not score again until Joanna Popp's free throw early in the fourth quarter.

By then, the Gators had scored 28 unanswered points. The Comets went 11 minutes and 45 seconds without scoring.

"That was the difference," said Valderas. "When you play good defense, you're offense comes and you don't really have to think about it."

The Comets, who had been hoping to rebound from Friday night's 60-51 loss to then-No. 18 Parkville in the Baltimore County championship, couldn't counter the Gators' height.

Jessica Anger, Seton Keough's 6-foot-1 senior center, scored 17 points and had 12 rebounds while Valderas, a 6-foot All-Metro center, scored 10 points and had nine rebounds. The Gators also nailed six three-pointers, half by Kerry O'Connell.

The Comets managed to hit their offensive stride only late in the first half during that 11-0 run. Then the bottom fell out.

"They were making all their shots and we were missing all our shots and we just couldn't pick it up," said junior guard Becky Clipp, who led the Comets with seven points. "If you give them any kind of fire, they'll explode. You can't do anything wrong in this kind of game against this kind of team."

While the Comets needed last night's game to tune up for the regional playoffs, the Gators wanted a win for seven seniors in their final home game.

"I've never been so proud of these kids," said Gators coach Jackie Boswell. "I said to them success is not just how many first-place trophies you win, but how you conduct yourselves and these kids have worked through everything this year. Not only did they bounce back all season, but they bounced back from Saturday and played well tonight."

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