Like Janet Tadle's last-second jump shot, the St. Mary's girls basketball team fell short in its bid to win the Catholic League Tournament championship yesterday.

Seton Keough's Michele Pasta scored off the glass with under a minute left in overtime to break a 44-44 tie. Teammate Melissa Cuneo missed the front end of a one-and-one with five seconds left and Tadle kept the ball alive, giving the third-seededSaints a chance to win or send the game into a second overtime.

But the senior forward missed on a desperation jumper from about 17 feet out, and the top-seeded Gators (19-4) emerged victorious, 46-44, at the College of Notre Dame.

It was Tadle's steal with one second left in regulation that kept the team's even at 42-42 and forced an overtime.

"We gave the best effort we could," said St. Mary'scoach Carmine Blades, who had announced his retirement at the beginning ofthe year. "We played great defense to hold a team like Seton Keough under 50 points."

The Gators only managed five third-quarter points and trailed, 33-29, heading into the last eight minutes.

"Itold them that was the bad quarter out of the way. We've had a history of that this year," said Seton Keough coach Trish Cook, who also is retiring after this season.

Cook and Archbishop Spalding's Paul Leimkuhler were named co-Coaches of the Year in the Catholic League.

St. Mary's (19-9) failed to place anyone in double figures, with Heather Greenlee scoring a team-high nine points. Candace Blair and Amelia Mikula added eight points each, and Bridget Smith six.

Junior Randall Goldsborough, who notched her 1,000th career point Saturday,was limited to four yesterday.

"They played great defense on Randall. They pretty much shut her down," Blades said.

Seniors Melissa Cuneo and Chris Politz led Seton Keough with 14 points each.

Cuneo was named to the All-Tournament team, along Pasta, Goldsborough, Smith and Mercy's Stephanie Rohe.

The Saints reached the finals yesterday in impressive fashion, defeating nemesis Archbishop Spalding Saturday, 70-31. The second-seeded Cavaliers had beaten St. Mary's twice during the regular season by a combined eight points.

A 22-4 second-quarter run allowed St. Mary's to pull away and set up the showdown with the Gators, who last week won the regular-season Catholic League championship and the right to meet Western in Sunday's Baltimore Metro Classic at the Baltimore Arena.

In the consolation game, Spalding led after one quarter, 15-14, but eventually lost to No. 4 Mercy, 62-40.

Seniors Megan Earley and Jackie Cordery each scored ninepoints to lead Spalding (16-12), and senior Kalene Cummings added eight.

The Cavaliers had reached the semifinals with a 60-49 win over Mount de Sales Friday -- the first time in five years Spalding hadn't been eliminated in the opening round.

Leimkuhler said the victory over Mount de Sales may have taken too much out of his team, whichwent through the tournament without starting point guard Amy Langville, who has the flu.

"I wonder if we didn't spend our last emotional bullet trying to come back Friday night," Leimkuhler said.

"The first quarter yesterday we played well, and the first quarter todaywe played well, and then it just looked like we died. I think that'semotional fatigue."

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