Mount de Sales utilized a complete team effort equipped with early sharp-shooting and tenacious defense and rolled to a 47-29 victory over visiting Notre Dame Prep in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference quarterfinals Tuesday evening.
The third-seeded Sailors (19-5) advanced to play Institute of Notre Dame on Thursday, Feb. 16.
Against NDP (9-13), the first quarter belonged to Mount de Sales junior point guard Allie Berlin and senior shooting guard Bridget Williams, who combined for 13 of the Sailors' points as they built a 16-9 lead at the break.
Williams canned a pair of three-pointers in the first four minutes and Berlin weaved through the defense for a pair of tough layups and ended the quarter with a buzzer-beating trey.
"I just kind of threw it up there," Berlin said. "It definitely gave us momentum going into the second quarter."
She praised Williams perimeter shooting for allowing her to drive through the lane.
"It definitely opened up because they were focusing on our shooters and it gave me an opportunity to drive the middle, while they were all playing defense on the outside," Berlin said.
Notre Dame Prep stayed within striking distance in the first quarter thanks to the strong inside play of 6-foot junior Mary Price Suter, who scored six of her team's nine points for coach Katie Marks' squad.
"She is a very good coach and I knew they would bring their best effort," Mount de Sales coach Trish Armstrong said.
Stifling defense in the second quarter helped Mount de Sales take a 25-13 lead into intermission, as they held the Blazers to just four points in the quarter.
Berlin scored five and Kristen Zaranski came off the bench and contributed four for the Sailors.
Early in the third quarter the Sailors' defense really picked up the intensity and that created more offense.
Abby Kuhn set the tone when she blocked a shot on the Blazers' first possession.
On the ensuing Mount de Sales possession, Liz Gower collided hard with teammate Kuhn while grabbing an offensive rebound. Kuhn went to the floor, but bounced up quickly, while Gower spotted up and hit a 10-footer from the baseline for a 27-13 lead.
Gower's steal off the press led to a putback by Sydney Skalstad and, after a basket by NDP's Katie Railey, a steal by Williams ignited a fastbreak basket by Berlin and two free throws by Gower completed an 8-2 run and the Sailors led 33-15 with 5:28 left in the third quarter.
"They are so confident in what they do," Armstrong said. "Nothing phases them."
The Sailors expanded the lead to 40-18 by the end of the quarter as Gower had six points and Skalstad had four.
Suter had four points and senior Halle Regan hit a three-pointer in the fourth quarter for the Blazers, but it was the Sailors who are advancing to the semifinals.
"We are definitely getting stronger, everyone," Berlin said. "We definitely run a lot and we work on our plays."
Armstrong is looking forward to playing IND for the second time this season, after losing to them 42-39 in mid-December in a game Skalstad missed with a knee injury.
"They are good on defense," Armstrong said.
Mount de Sales 47
Allie Berlin 15, Liz Gower 8, Sydney Skalstad 7, Bridget Williams 6, Kristen Zaranski 6, Abby Kuhn 4, Justin Birrane 1.
Notre Dame Prep 29
Mary Price Suter 10, Katie Railey 6, Halle Railey 5, Morayo Adenegan 4, Ayden Robinson 3, Nicki Swam 1.
Halftime: Mount de Sales 25 Notre Dame Prep 13