Add one final title for Gators

Seton Keough caps season with ESPN RISE crown

April 06, 2009|By Todd Karpovich | Todd Karpovich,Special to The Baltimore Sun

ROCKVILLE -The end of Seton Keough's remarkable season came down to the final 18.7 seconds in Sunday's championship game of the inaugural ESPN RISE National High School Invitational against No. 1 seed Riverdale Baptist.

The second-seeded Gators were clinging to a one-point lead, and Riverdale Baptist had possession on Seton Keough's baseline. The Crusaders had three shots under the basket that clanked off the rim before the Gators came up with a loose ball amid a mad scramble. Rianna Frazer then made one of two free throws with two seconds left to give Seton Keough the title, 44-42. The victory set off a raucous celebration from a large contingent of Seton Keough fans at Georgetown Prep in front of a national television audience.

"We had graduated a lot of seniors last year, but we had a lot of confidence in the kids that were coming back because I knew how much work they put in the offseason," Seton Keough coach Jackie Boswell said. "We took a couple of losses early in the season that I think we should not have taken. But we learned a lot from that. By the end of January, we started putting it together, and if we played the way I knew we could play, there were not too many people who could beat us."

The tournament championship completed an outstanding season for Seton Keough, which also won the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference championship and was the first school from Baltimore to win the Bishop Walsh Girls Invitational Tournament.

On Sunday, Amber Singletary was named the tournament Most Valuable Player and led Seton Keough with 13 points. Katelyn Fischer and Liz Brown each scored 10 for the Gators. Tierra Hawkins led Riverdale Baptist with 16 points, and her twin sister, Tianna Hawkins, had 12 points and 16 rebounds.

After Riverdale Baptist made 13 of 26 field-goal attempts in the first half, Seton Keough held the Crusaders to 13.8 percent shooting in the second.

Riverdale Baptist (26-3) was much crisper against Seton Keough than it was in Saturday's come-from-behind victory over St. Frances, but the Gators' Asya Bussie and Brown, both 6 feet 4, matched up well with Tianna (6-3) and Tierra Hawkins (6-1).

Riverdale Baptist was without starting guards Jazzmine Johnson and Ataira Franklin, who decided to play in an Amateur Athletic Union tournament.

Seton Keough (25-8) trailed by eight at the end of the third quarter as Riverdale Baptist kept the Gators off balance with tight man-to-man defense and easy baskets by getting behind the defense. Seton Keough then made a run in the final quarter with a jumper and three-pointer by Singletary, which cut the deficit to 39-36 with six minutes remaining.

With the score tied at 42, Brown made a free throw with 38.6 seconds remaining to give Seton Keough a one-point lead. That set up the final possession for the Crusaders, who could not convert. Frazer was fouled after grabbing the loose ball and made the ensuing free throw - her only point of the game.

"I had a rough game, so it felt really good to end the season on a good note," Frazer said.

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