No. 1 St. Frances toppled, 56-39

Bouncing back from loss, No. 4 Roland Park rolls

Girls basketball

High Schools

December 18, 2003|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

Early yesterday, Roland Park coach Scott Buckley said he wasn't sure his All-Metro senior, Dani Kell, would be able to play in last night's girls basketball game at No. 1 St. Frances.

Kell, a 6-foot guard, missed practice Tuesday with the flu, but she felt fine by game time. She felt even better after she and her teammates pulled off what may stand as the upset of the season - a 56-39 win over the defending Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference champion.

For the Panthers, who had no one score in double figures, the setback was their first in the league since a Feb. 12, 2002 loss to Archbishop Spalding.

None of the players on No. 4 Roland Park's team had ever beaten the Panthers, but an outstanding help defense that never let the Panthers get into their running game, as well as Kell's 19 points and Audie Fugett's 14 made the difference.

The Reds' smothering job on the boards limited the Panthers' second chances and, at the other end, kept them from getting off the quick outlet passes that fuel the run.

"This was huge," Kell said. "At halftime, I talked to Katharine Fox and Audie, and I said we need something for our senior year to make it memorable and this is it. We're not done. This is only December, but it's only going to get better from here."

The Reds (4-2 overall, 3-1 league) had something to prove. Their victory came on the heels of a surprising 55-44 loss at Notre Dame Prep on Monday. Kell said that loss helped spark a quick start last night.

Fugett's three-point play gave the Reds a 19-8 lead two minutes into the second quarter. Twice in the first half, the Panthers appeared ready to make their move - when Shadae Swan hit a three-pointer to pull within 21-13 and when Tammy Rogers made two nifty moves to the basket to make it 26-17.

Both times, the Reds answered. Amanda Hessinger made a three-pointer to answer Swan's basket and Kell hit another from the top of the arc after Rogers' baskets to send the Reds into halftime with a 29-17 lead.

The Panthers (3-2, 2-1) went through several four-minute stretches without a point. Their 6-1 forward, Angel McCoughtry, last season's All-Metro Player of the Year, struggled for her eight points.

"From the jump, we didn't have a good start, so Roland Park wanted this more," said Panthers senior Nija Bastfield.

"A lot of people in our league are out to beat us, because we're No. 1, but today we got a rude awakening. We're No. 1 in the paper, but as a team we don't play like No. 1. If we come together by the end of the season, we can finish No. 1."

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