Mercy's efficient 3rd leads to victory

11-2 run by Magic aids 38-31 win over St. Mary's

Girls basketball

High Schools

January 09, 2003|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

A modest run in the third quarter - an 11-2 margin right in the middle - provided the No. 15 Mercy girls basketball team with more than enough separation against No. 18 St. Mary's yesterday in Annapolis.

The Magic defense - a mix of zones with some man to man - was that good.

Limiting the host Saints to just 24 percent shooting from the field, Mercy broke open the tight game with the efficient third-quarter stretch to pull away for a 38-31 win in Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference play.

"Usually we come out of the half a little slow in the third quarter," said Mercy assistant coach Michele Wittgreen, subbing for head coach Mary Ella Marion, who was taking care of family matters. "We didn't say anything different during the break. It just came from them. They knew what they had to do and went out and did it."

Mercy improves to 7-2 on the season, while St. Mary's falls to 9-6.

Four players scored in the 11-2 stretch that turned a two-point lead into a 33-22 advantage with 2:19 left in the third quarter.

Sam Pyzik started with a jumper; Colette Hailey (team-high 10 points) added a three-point play; Megan Haywood hit two free throws and then turned a steal into a layup; and Mary Buettner closed it out with a basket inside.

At the other end, the Magic constantly pressured the ball with the aim to keep it out of the hands of Saints sophomore point guard Bri Gauthier, who finished with a game-high 12 points but was mostly forced into giving the ball up.

"We were phenomenal on defense," Wittgreen said. "The key was stepping right up on [Gauthier] and making her kick it out. The whole team stepped up."

The Saints, playing good man-to-man defense of their own with five guards in the lineup most of the time, could only muster 12 field goals. They missed seven straight shots to start the second quarter, five to start the pivotal third and five more to open the fourth.

"We did a good job on Hailey and overall on defense, so we should have been able to win the game," said St. Mary's coach Harry Dobson.

"But we came out in the second half tentative, and I definitely thought we relied on the three-point shot a little too much."

Amanda Courter finished with eight points for Mercy, which also got six points from Buettner and four points from three others.

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