IAAM basketball finals

St. Frances wins `A' title in OT

Panthers rally past McDonogh for 5th straight crown

Pallotti tops in `B'

February 25, 2007|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Sun reporter

LaKisha Walker has provided the defensive edge for No. 1 St. Frances for four years, and it was no different in the championship game of her senior year.

With 7.9 seconds left in overtime yesterday against No. 4 McDonogh, Walker deflected a pass meant for Brittany Mallory at the top of the circle and set off on the break. With her team trailing, Mallory was forced to foul her.

Walker, a 5-foot-9 guard, hit both free throws to seal a 68-63 victory for the Panthers' fifth straight Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference championship before a standing-room-only crowd at Goucher College.

"I sacrificed myself on defense this whole game," Walker said, "and I had to get that steal for my team to win. I anticipated and I got the steal. I am so happy. It's my senior year. We had to win."

Walker also scored a game-high 18 points - none more important than both ends of that one-and-one.

For Mallory, who led the Eagles (21-5) to the final for the first time in eight years, there was no choice but to foul Walker as she tried to take off.

"It was supposed to be a screen and she was there overplaying me," Mallory said. "I tried my best, but it just didn't happen, so I had to foul her to try to stop the clock."

Both teams put on an impressive show at both ends of the court, but the Eagles had a 53-45 lead after Annie Politschy made a three-pointer with 5:56 left.

Walker then sparked an 11-0 run for the Panthers, hitting a follow shot, two free throws and a layup on the break off a feed from Mi-Khida Hankins. TaNika Jeffers then hit a three-pointer from the corner and drove the baseline for a layup - both off feeds from Dawnae Roberts - to give the Panthers a 56-53 lead.

The teams then traded the lead before McDonogh's Becky Cox banked in an off-balance shot with 41 seconds left to tie the score at 61, forcing overtime.

The Panthers (23-5) had the upper hand most of the overtime period, taking a 65-61 lead on a three-pointer from Roberts.

Through the first three quarters, the Eagles kept pace with the Panthers by hitting 20 of 22 free throws - including all 10 by Destiny Jacobs. But the Panthers were too tough on the inside, where Hankins and Kandice Green combined for 21 points and 20 rebounds. The Panthers also hit eight three-pointers, including four from Jeffers, who finished with 16 points.

"I've always thought from Day One, the championship goes through St. Frances," McDonogh coach Tom Gizzi said. "They proved it again [yesterday]. ... You could tell that they were battle-tested and tough and had been in championship games like that before and knew how to respond."

B Conference

NO. 9 ST. VINCENT PALLOTTI 56, SEVERN 47 -- Annesia Faulkner scored 10 of her 17 points in the final 2:07 as the Panthers (20-5) repeated as B Conference champs. Severn (17-10) led, 40-38, at the end of the third quarter, but the Panthers' Nicole McCrae (17 points) pushed her team inside, hitting one shot and feeding Beth Ann Fusco and Kaitlin O'Hara for a 44-40 lead.

C Conference

ANNAPOLIS AREA CHRISTIAN SCHOOL 60, MOUNT CARMEL 45 -- Alex Stelfox scored 22 points to lead the Eagles (20-3) to the title in their first season in the league. The Eagles, who never trailed, built a 19-point advantage midway through the fourth quarter before the defending champion Cougars (21-5) rallied to within 53-43 with 2:28 left.

katherine.dunn@baltsun.com

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