No. 4 seed Glenelg Country cemented a spot in the IAAM B semifinals after defeating No. 5 Maryvale, 47-33, Tuesday.
The win pits the Dragons against No. 1 seed St. John’s on Thursday.
“It feels really good,” said Glenelg Country guard Shay Ahearn. “All the girls and I have worked really hard to get to this point. Maryvale is a great team. We knew they had some really good shooters, so to be able to come out and shut them down worked really well to our advantage and we’re just really excited to be moving on. Hopefully we’ll get the next win and see how it goes from there.”
The Dragons carried the momentum off the opening tip, as it scored six unanswered points and led 12-1 through the first five minutes.
Molly McAleer (12 points) netted the Lions first bucket of the game with 2:01 left in the quarter, but her three ignited Maryvale’s offense as it entered the following eight minutes.
Claire Neff (10 points) aided the Lions rally with back-to-back 3-pointers in the first three minutes, while McAleer added four more points before the break.
Neff got her team within four after knocking down a three with 5:52, but Taylor Gillis stepped up for the Dragons and scored seven points to end the half, which helped her team keep a seven-point advantage at the break.
“I think we just took our foot off the gas in the second quarter,” said Glenelg Country coach William Harper. “We knew Claire could shoot. We knew Molly could shoot. We knew they were well coached. We knew they ran good sets, so it was nothing that they did that surprised us. We just took our foot off the gas a little bit.”
Harper emphasized defense at halftime and his team responded by giving up just three points in the third quarter, which helped Glenelg Country push its lead to 15 entering the final eight minutes.
“I told them we just had to keep up the defensive intensity,” said Harper. “I said our defense is our staple. We can’t let anything go, so everybody has to have their hands up, everybody continue to talk and that’s how they came out. We’re going to win this game on the defensive end.”
The Lions made a mini 6-0 run midway through the fourth quarter, but the Dragons answered with big shots from Cecelia Bartley, Ahearn and Gillis down the stretch to secure the win.
“[Harper] just wants a lot of energy on the floor,” Ahearn said. “They will always end up making their run, but it’s just about how you react to their run.
“We work really, really well together and once everything clicks it’s kind of unstoppable, which is really fun to watch and play in.”
Gillis led the Dragons with 16 points, followed by Olivia O’Leary (13) and Ahearn (nine), while Bartley added six points on two made threes off the bench.
“I told them we had four games — two down and two to go,” Harper added. “We just got to come out ready on the road at St. John’s.”
Glenelg Country 47, Maryvale Prep 33
GCS (9-3 IAAM B, 12-5): Gillis 16, O’Leary 13, Ahearn 9, Bartley 6, Marshall 2, Bateman 1.
M (6-6 IAAM B, 10-11): McAleer 12, Neff 10, Noel 7, Antonopolous 2, Maxwell 2.
Half: 25-18, Glenelg Country.
Around the league:
Glenelg 51, Westminster 40
The Gladiators went on the road and collected their third-straight win Tuesday, as they defeated the hosting Owls, 51-40.
It was a tight first half as Glenelg owned a slight 11-8 lead after the first quarter and went into the break with just a three-point cushion.
However the Gladiators took control in the third, as solid defense propelled a prolific 17-point quarter, which helped establish a 41-30 advantage entering the final eight minutes. Senior forward Julia Wolfrey and junior guard Jess Foster led with way, as they combined for 13 points in the period.
Glenelg then held on to the 11-point cushion the rest of the way to cement its 13th win of the season.
It was a solid overall team effort for the Gladiators, as good ball movement provided them their second highest scoring mark in the last 10 games, while all 13 players saw minutes in the outing.
Foster finished with a game-high 18 points. She knocked down three shots from behind the arc and made 7 of 8 from the foul line. Wolfrey followed with 12 points — eight of which came in the third quarter, while junior guard Kellie Johnson and senior forward Grace Butera added eight and seven points, respectively. Butera also recorded eight blocks on the night.
Zoe Costley led Westminster with 13 points, while Sarah O’Donnell, Nicole Roberts and Sydney Popielski added six each.
The Gladiators are back on the floor Wednesday, as they visit Wilde Lake for a 5:30 p.m. game.
G (3-6, 12-7): Foster 18, Wolfrey 12, Johnson 8, Butera 7, LePage 4, Arrington 2.
W (14-7): Costley 13, O’Donnell 6, Roberts 6, Popielski 6, Phillips 3, Pfaff 2, Dudley 2, Harris 2.
Half: 24-21, Glenelg.