Gators' strong start beats Eagles' fast pace

17 first-half points for Bussie and some luck toward the end help lift Seton Keough

No. 3 Seton Keough 54 No. 5 McDonogh 50

Girls basketball

January 13, 2007|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Sun reporter

Seton Keough's 6-foot-3 Asya Bussie got her team off to a blistering start last night against No. 5 McDonogh, but the No. 3 Gators used strong guard play, clutch free throws and a little luck down the stretch to seal a 54-50 victory.

Bussie scored 17 of her 19 points and grabbed half of her 18 rebounds in the first half as the host Gators ran up a 15-point lead just before the break in an Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference game.

The Gators (12-3, 7-2 conference) prefer the slower pace, but McDonogh (12-2, 8-2) revved up the tempo after the half, rallying to take their first lead, 47-46, on Alex Brennan's three-pointer with two minutes left.

Gators guards Katelyn Fischer and Arika Ullman then worked a perfect inbounds play at the far end as Ullman's layup put the Gators up for good, 48-47, with 1:34 to go.

Ullman, Tierra Ellis and Ayana Lee combined for six free throws in the final 1:07 to hold off the Eagles, who were within one, 50-49, after Destiny Jacobs' layup with 53 seconds to go.

The Eagles got two more good looks, but Brennan missed a breakaway layup with about 35 seconds to go and Brittany Mallory, who finished with 26 points, shot a 20-footer off a double screen with 10 seconds left that rimmed out.

Had Mallory's shot fallen, the Eagles would have tied the game at 52. Instead, Ullman went to the line three seconds later and hit both ends of the double bonus.

Gators coach Jackie Boswell said she was happy with the way her team responded when the Eagles rallied in the second half.

"McDonogh came out [after the half] and they were competitive," Boswell said. "They played like they had nothing to lose. For a while there they were beating us to every loose ball, and they showed, for a while, a little bit more intensity than we had. I thought we responded. The kids came up big."

Mallory, who scored 12 of her points from the free-throw line, was the only Eagle to hit double figures, as the team shot 20.8 percent from the field for the game.

katherine.dunn@baltsun.com

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