Seton Keough wins

St. Frances edged

girls basketball espn rise national high school invitational

April 05, 2009|By Todd Karpovich | Todd Karpovich,Special to The Baltimore Sun

ROCKVILLE -Seton Keough and St. Frances were the top two girls basketball teams in the Baltimore metro area this season, and in Saturday's inaugural ESPN RISE National High School Invitational, the Gators and Panthers showed they can also compete with some of the best programs in the nation.

In the first game, No. 4 seed St. Frances led No. 1 seed Riverdale Baptist for more than three quarters before the Crusaders made a late run and escaped with a 57-51 victory at Georgetown Prep's Hanley Center. In the second game, No. 2 seed Seton Keough controlled most of the game and pulled away from No. 3 seed Oak Hill Academy for a 39-32 victory. Seton Keough will play Riverdale Baptist for the championship Sunday at 12:30 p.m. on ESPN2.

"This is huge, and we have been telling the girls since the beginning of the season to just take one day at a time and be thankful for the opportunities," Seton Keough coach Jackie Boswell said.

The NHSI tournament, which features some of the best private schools in the nation, was televised nationally and attracted national media and college scouts. Seton Keough and St. Frances had a chance to meet again in the tournament championship just weeks after the Gators beat the Panthers for the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference title.

Seton Keough (24-8) dominated the early part of the game against Oak Hill, leading 13-7 after the opening quarter.

A 9-0 run by Oak Hill (25-8) to start the fourth quarter and a put-back by Lakeesa Daniel gave the Warriors a 30-29 lead with six minutes remaining. Seton Keough regained the lead on the next possession on a layup by Liz Brown and did not relinquish it.

Katelyn Fischer led the Gators with 13 points, and Amber Singletary added 10. No player from Oak Hill scored in double digits.

Seton Keough's Asya Bussie, The Baltimore Sun's All Metro Player of the Year, said the Gators are ready for Riverdale Baptist.

"I'm not nervous at all," said Bussie, who finished with seven points. "I have played with and against some of their players. I think we should do OK."

St. Frances (24-3) went on a 14-3 run in the second quarter and led 34-21 at the half. The Panthers forced Riverdale Baptist to shoot 8-for-30 (26.7 percent) from the field.

The Crusaders responded by outscoring St. Frances 16-6 in the third quarter. Riverdale Baptist then slowly built its lead, and back-to-back baskets by Tierra Hawkins and Ulyssia Richmond with less than two minutes left helped the Crusaders seal the win.

After making five of 12 three-point attempts in the first half, St. Frances missed all eight tries in the second.

Tasia Bristow led the Panthers with 14 points, and Tanira McClurkin added 12. Hawkins had 18 for Riverdale Baptist.

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