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Notre Dame Prep girls basketball holds off St. Paul's

By Tom Worgo, tworgo@tribune.com

11:15 AM EST, January 11, 2014

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If Notre Dame Prep's girls basketball team goes on to win an Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference championship, it might look back at Friday night's game as a turning point.

It was at least a confidence-builder.

The Blazers held off a scrappy and quick St. Paul's team, 51-45, in Brooklandville.

"It's a big positive coming out of here with a win today," Notre Dame Prep coach Katie Marks said. "It was a loud atmosphere and one of the most intense stretches we have had in a game. We really kept our composure."

Blazers' sophomore forward Marisa DeLuca led all scorers with 21 points, and teammate Marissa Varnado, a junior guard, added 11.

NDP built an 18-8 lead by the end of the first quarter, and pushed it to 24-10 early in the second quarter.

But St. Paul's closed the half with a 14-5 run to make it 29-24 as Lilli Pursley had five points during that stretch.

The Blazers (5-6 overall, 2-2 league) picked up its play in the third quarter and moved ahead, 37-27, midway through.

St. Paul's made another run, trimming the lead to 40-38 with 25 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

The Gators (4-6, 2-3) stayed close in the final quarter, trailing 48-45 with 3:18 left.

St. Paul's, however, missed its last six shots in the final 2:50.

"We are grinders," St. Paul's coach Pat Conrad said. "We are always ready for comebacks. We never stop. We never quit. We definitely scrap the whole way. I am happy with us eliminating that deficit, and giving us a chance to win. But it didn't turn out well."

Sharon Hull (11 points) and Alexandria Wright (10) were the only Gators in double figures.  Sara Moeller (7), Quinn Conrad (7), Corinna Vlahoyiannis (7) and Kaci McNeave (3) also scored for St. Paul's.

Morgan Bracken (9 points), Claire Ford (7), Blake Smith (2) and Katie Willis (1) contributed for NDP.