St. Paul's earns its 10th win in a row

Gators defeat Chapelgate by 50-39 to stay in first

Girls basketball

High Schools

January 31, 2003|By Sam Atkinson | Sam Atkinson,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The date had been circled on the schedule for weeks, and even after being pushed back a day due to inclement weather, the St. Paul's School for Girls basketball team came through with its biggest win of the season.

The Gators (16-1, 11-0) continued their dominance in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference yesterday with their 10th win in a row as they defeated Chapelgate, 50-39, before a record home crowd to stay in first place.

"Without a doubt, this was the biggest [home] crowd ever," said St. Paul's first-year coach Jon Strebe. "We don't see this kind of spirit for any other sport. These kids have been getting everybody ready for the past two weeks."

St. Paul's made its living off the free-throw line in the second half as they drained 19 of 24 shots and were 26-for-36 on the day.

"We have not been shooting free throws well, but today we came through when it counted," Strebe said. "It seems like this team steps up when they are challenged."

The Gators received a lift off the bench in the fourth quarter as sophomore Megan Del Monte scored a career-best 10 points, including a big layup with 1:09 remaining to push St. Paul's lead to 42-35.

"We have wanted this game ever since two weeks ago," Del Monte said. "We wanted to prove to ourselves that we were the better team."

Gators sophomore Mercedes Robinson had a big game with 12 points and 17 rebounds to lead the team, while sophomore Caitlin Sloane was a perfect 10-for-10 from the foul line.

Chapelgate (12-4, 9-2) got into early foul trouble and it showed in the third quarter. The Yellowjackets racked up 24 total team fouls, 15 in the second half. They were also called for 11 three-second violations.

"It's a shame when the officials dictate the outcome of the game and not the kids," said Chapelgate coach Jim Barber. "These are two very physical teams that match up very well."

Yellowjackets junior guard Heather Landis entered the game averaging 26 points over the past three games, including 25 points in their 62-60 OT upset loss to Pallotti on Monday. Landis was held to 10 points and was hampered with foul trouble.

What a difference a year makes for the youthful St. Paul's team. Last season, the Gators started four freshmen and compiled a 10-16 record and finished in the middle of the pack in the conference. Chapelgate, on the other hand, was the IAAM B Conference runner-up.

The Gators can't savor the win for long as they travel to Pallotti today and then continue on the road to Chapelgate Monday for a rematch.

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