Spalding's Maggie Morrison has eventful coaching debut

Though it didn’t result in a victory, new Archbishop Spalding girls basketball coach Maggie Morrison’s first game was still one to remember.

The Cavaliers trailed the entire game and by as many as 23 points before rallying to tie the game late in the fourth quarter. Visiting Maryvale hit 7 of 11 free throws in the game’s final minute and pulled out a 68-64 victory.

Archbishop Spalding (0-1) trailed by 22 points at the half and pulled to within 10 after three quarters. The Cavaliers finally caught the Lions when Ryann Evans hit three free throws with 1:09 left in the game, but Maryvale’s Claire Neff did the same 30 seconds later to put her team up for good.

“They showed a lot of heart, and I think that says a lot about our team,” said Morrison, a former standout basketball and soccer play at the school. “When you coach a team like that, that’s all you can ask for. Sometime shots don’t fall, calls don’t go your way or the ball bounces the other way, but when you fight back like that...I’m not too disappointed.”

Morrison’s debut looked like it was going to be one to remember for all the wrong reasons. The Cavaliers didn’t score for nearly five minutes to start the game and were down by seven after one. Maryvale (1-0) opened the second quarter on a 15-0 run over the first four minutes and built a 28-6 lead. Spalding’s Taysha Bender hit a pair of free throws to stop the run, but Molly McAleer banked in a 3-pointer to give the Lions their biggest lead of the game at 31-8 with 3:20 left in the first half.

McAleer hit four 3-pointers and scored 19 points in the second quarter and had 25 points in the first half.

Evans scored nine of her team-high 21 points in the third quarter and the Cavaliers started to chip away at the lead. They got as close as six at the three-minute mark, but didn’t score the rest of the quarter and went to the fourth down, 48-38.

Spalding did a much better job on McAleer in third and held her to just one field goal to give itself a chance heading to the final quarter.

“I think in the first half we had some jitters for our first game, especially the first game with a new coach,” Morrison said. “I think in the second half we committed on the defensive end, which helped turn our offense around. She’s a great shooter and shot the ball well, so obviously we noticed her and keyed in on her.”

Maryvale built a 12-point lead two minutes into the fourth, but the Cavaliers responded with an 11-0 run to pull within a point. The Lions again had an answer, including the only 3-pointer of the second half for McAleer to extend the lead.

Bender followed with 17 points, including 10 in the second half, and Terra Dzambo, Brelynn Young and Nickie Joseph each added eight for the Cavaliers. Dzambo hit two 3-pointers in the second half, including one that cut the lead to three with five minutes left.

McAleer led all scorers with 30 points and Neff added 14 for Maryvale, which finished 10-11 last year playing in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference.

“I told them to reflect on the first half but keep the second half in mind,” Morrison said. “The way that we played in the second half is how we plan on playing the rest of the season.”

Maryvale (1-0) 13 26 9 20 — 68

Spalding (0-1) 6 11 21 26 — 64

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