McDonogh breaks through to `A' final

No. 4 McDonogh 67 No. 2 T. Catholic 49

Girls basketball

February 23, 2007|By Glenn Graham | Glenn Graham,SUN REPORTER

With the guard tandem of senior Brittany Mallory and junior Becky Cox taking care of the scoring and a puzzling zone defense providing constant frustration, the No. 4 McDonogh girls basketball team reached new heights with a surprisingly comfortable 67-49 road win over No. 2 Towson Catholic in yesterday's Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference semifinal.

After seeing their past three seasons end in the semifinals, the Eagles (21-4) finally get the chance to play in the league championship game - taking on four-time defending league champ St. Frances at 3 p.m. tomorrow at Goucher College.

Mallory scored 26 points and added 12 rebounds, Cox finished with 24 points, and the Eagles' defense controlled last year's All-Metro Player of the Year, Marah Strickland, and the rest of the Owls.

With 6:04 to play in the fourth quarter, McDonogh coach Tom Gizzi yelled for his players to "Win this game with defense!"

With a 51-34 lead at the time, it was apparent the Eagles already had.

"We had a game plan that we needed to execute flawlessly. We didn't do that 100 percent of the time, but we did enough to really take them away out of their offensive rhythm - force them to shoot shots farther away from the baskets and make them work harder for their shots," Gizzi said.

Strickland (17 points) hit a three-pointer and a jumper early in the first quarter and the Owls (19-7) had a 14-12 lead before the Eagles took over. A 14-2 run gave them a 26-16 lead, and then they closed out the first half with the last seven points to lead 35-20.

"We just didn't come out and play as hard as we should have," Strickland said.

glenn.graham@baltsun.com

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