St. Frances picks up pace, races past Roland Park

No. 1 Panthers capitalize on turnovers for 60-41 win

Girls basketball

January 08, 2003|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

St. Frances coach Jerome Shelton issued a simple challenge to his girls basketball team after watching them sleepwalk through the first half last night at Roland Park - play more aggressively.

The top-ranked Panthers made Shelton a happy man by dominating play in the second half. St. Frances shut down No. 6 Roland Park's offense, converted turnovers into easy baskets several times and pulled away to a 60-41 victory in an Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference game.

The Panthers scored the game's first seven points before Roland Park (7-3 overall, 3-3 league) even got off a shot. But the Reds slowed the tempo and had a three-point lead in the final minutes of the half before St. Frances (10-2, 6-0) scored eight straight for a 27-22 halftime lead.

"We can score some points fast and ... that's our game, taking it to the other team," Shelton said. "I thought we played a little bit more inspired on the defensive end in the first minutes of the second half."

Angel McCoughtry (14 points, eight steals, seven rebounds) and Camille Coleman (11 points) sparked a 20-point third quarter that gave the Panthers a 47-32 lead. St. Frances made numerous steals, challenged the Reds on offense and basically wreaked havoc.

All of that helped St. Frances get several easy baskets. The Panthers had five straight layups over a 2:21 stretch late in the third quarter - three from Coleman - as they pulled away.

"In the first half, we weren't as aggressive," McCoughtry said. "Everyone did a good job."

St. Frances forced 25 turnovers overall and scored 17 of its 33 second-half points after miscues. Shelton slowly began using different types of full-court pressure in the second half, which caused the turnovers, as the Panthers held the Reds to 19 points in the final 18:05.

"You just can't turn the ball over against them," said Roland Park coach Scott Buckley.

Roland Park had many problems with St. Frances' quickness and double teams throughout. Buckley moved top scorer Dani Kell from shooting guard to the point to help bring the ball up against the pressure. That limited Kell's scoring chances, and she finished with five points.

Audie Fugett scored a team-high 13 points. The Reds didn't shoot that badly, making 15 of 37 from the field - they just had problems finding shots.

Roland Park fared better in the first half when it made the game a half-court affair. The Reds crept back from the 7-0 deficit to take a 22-19 lead on two Molly Frew free throws with 2:05 left.

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