St. John's too much for No. 1 St. Frances

Panthers' 27 turnovers set tone for 64-50 defeat

Girls basketball

High Schools

December 13, 2003|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

A troublesome opening minute from St. Frances - the area's No. 1 girls basketball team - uncharacteristically carried through to the end of last night's game against Washington power St. John's at the She's Got Game Mixer hosted by Western High.

The Panthers (1-1) had four turnovers in the first 48 seconds on their way to 27 by game's end, allowing St. John's to build a comfortable lead that was never challenged in a 64-50 win.

"I think we were way out of character all game," said St. Frances coach Jerome Shelton, whose Panthers are defending Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference champs. "We made mistakes I haven't seen us make before. We didn't sustain any energy or intensity. I was expecting us to play much better and give them a much better game than that."

Credit St. John's.

Ranked fifth by The Washington Post in its area poll, the Cadets (2-1) had more size and were easily able to match the Panthers' quickness.

So while St. Frances was careless with the ball and off on its shots (four of 17 from the field in the first quarter), St. John's was efficient in its set offense and also took advantage in transition to build a 21-9 lead.

Junior forward Marissa Coleman led the way for the Cadets with 26 points and 14 rebounds. It was more than enough to offset a fine performance from Panthers senior forward Angel McCoughtry, who finished with 19 points and 17 rebounds.

"We had 27 turnovers - that messed us up," said McCoughtry, last year's Sun Player of the Year. "It was just one of those days, but it's early in the season and we know we have some things to work on. We'll be all right."

One free throw from Mi-Khida Hankins with 2:26 left in the first half cut St. John's lead to under double digits at 32-23, but the Cadets went on a 6-0 run right after and took a 38-26 lead at the break.

Shelton was disappointed to see his Panthers never able to settle in and make any kind of run to get back in the game.

"St. John's came with good pressure and made us rush some things and we made poor decisions as a result," said Shelton. "This exposes a lot of things we need to improve on to get us prepared for the conference schedule."

Senior guard Shadae Swan added 13 points for the Panthers, who next play Riverdale Baptist tonight.

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