S. Keough relies on `D' to get past Catonsville

Forcing 24 turnovers leads No. 6 Gators, 37-31

Girls basketball

High Schools

December 14, 2003|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Seton Keough's offense continued its mystifying early season slump yesterday. Struggling from the start at Catonsville, the Gators went long stretches without a basket, including a dry spell of more than 11 minutes.

But No. 6 Seton Keough stayed close with its trademark suffocating defense, and Kristin McLaughlin and Kelly O'Connell gave the offense a late spark that helped the Gators escape with a 37-31 victory over No. 15 Catonsville.

Seton Keough made only 12 of 46 field-goal attempts -- including an 0-for-16 string over a stretch of 11 minutes, 18 seconds from late in the second quarter until early in the fourth.

But the defense remained as tough as ever. The Gators pressured the ball and double-teamed all over the court, forcing 24 turnovers and limiting the Comets to 10 of 33 from the field -- and only one basket in the final 13 minutes.

"Even if we're shooting badly, we can play defense," Seton Keough coach Jackie Boswell said. "The fact is we're getting these shots ... and the defense calmed us and we scored the points we needed off of it."

McLaughlin (seven points) said the team was able to look past its offensive problems by realizing it could rely on its defense.

"Our defense is everything," McLaughlin said. "That's what we depend on. We [have to] ignore the shots we miss and just play defense."

The Seton Keough offense looked good at times. Point guard McLaughlin helped the Gators find plenty of open shots. They just couldn't hit them.

"Our offense is struggling now, but it will come around," Boswell said.

Catonsville twice led by six in thee first half before the Gators' defense began getting points off of the turnovers. Seton Keough took a 21-16 halftime lead and appeared in command before Sandy Wasserbach (12 points) and Janay Johnson (eight points, 10 rebounds) sparked a second-half Comets charge.

Nicole Holtman hit a jumper with 5:31 left to give Catonsville a 28-25 lead. Then the Seton Keough offense awakened.

Heather Galvin (seven points) hit a game-tying three-pointer 19 seconds later. The teams were then tied at 30 before McLaughlin's three-pointer from the left side gave Seton Keough the lead for good with 2:47 remaining.

O'Connell set up that play with a nice pass and, following another Catonsville turnover, she converted a three-point play for a 36-30 lead with 2:13 left.

"It was a terrific battle, and I couldn't ask more of our kids," said Catonsville coach Mike Mohler.

"For us to come out and play like that -- I'm so proud of the kids."

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