Seton Keough ends on a high, 50-45

Gators' win over Spalding helps ease title-loss pain

Girls basketball

March 03, 2002|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

CUMBERLAND - For No. 2 Seton Keough, coming to the Bishop Walsh Girls Invitational Basketball Tournament had nothing to do with avenging its loss to No. 1 Archbishop Spalding two weeks ago.

The Gators, who have seven seniors on their roster, just wanted to keep playing together as long as possible. Still, the 50-45 victory over Spalding in yesterday's consolation final made for a pretty good conclusion to their season.

"There's always competitive teams up here, and it's a great way to end our season on a positive note," said Gators senior Jackie Valderas. "We don't want the season to end so early."

The Cavaliers (24-11), who have five seniors and have played seven games since winning the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference final over the Gators, expressed similar feelings. They were more emotional over finishing the season than losing the game.

It was anybody's game until the last minute. With 37 seconds left, Kristen McLaughlin's layup off Kaitlin Keene's bounce pass from the sideline gave the Gators a 48-41 lead to all but seal the win.

Seton Keough (25-6) made its move early in the third quarter when Valderas, the 6-foot All-Metro center, scored six points in a 16-2 run that gave the Gators the lead for good. She ended with 21 points.

Spalding senior Kylie Bestul, who scored 20 and was 12-for-12 from the foul line, admitted that it was hard for her team to get emotionally charged for the Gators after beating them, 45-42, on Feb. 16 for their first-ever IAAM title.

"We wish we would have won this game, but we all think we won what was important and that was the [IAAM] championship," she said.

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