The expected showdown between Howard High's Mona Jackson and South Carroll's Nicole Spencer never materialized last night.
Jackson was out of town, leaving Spencer free to dominate the middle against the previously unbeaten Lions.
Spencer, a 5-foot-10 junior, pulled down 13 rebounds and scored 11 points to lead the Cavaliers to a 39-23 victory over the Lions at South Carroll.
Spencer scored most of her points on follow shots off her misses inside, and could have had a lot more points if she had just an average shooting night.
The South Carroll standout, coming off knee surgery last season, still seemsunsure of the knee and is pressing too hard to regain the skills she displayed for 10 games as a sophomore before she tore the anterior cruciate ligament.
However, Spencer and the Cavaliers (2-1) were able to get away with an off night last night against the Lions (3-1).
Without Jackson, a 5-foot-9 junior who averaged 22 points and 14 rebounds in the first three games, Howard was no match for South Carroll.
The Lions shot only 20 percent from the field and went for long stretches without scoring. They were able to stay in the game in the first quarter, but the home team pulled away to a 20-9 lead at halftime.
When Erin Nauyalis scored in the lane to run the lead to 27-11 midway through the third quarter, this one was virtually over.
Melissa Gettemy and Amber Clutter joined Spencer in the spotlight last night for South Carroll, with Gettemy scoring 8 points and grabbing 12 rebounds and Clutter running the offense superbly.
Howard coach Craig O'Connell thought his team would fare much better than it did without Jackson.
"I thought it might be good for us to play without her," he said. "We did what we wanted to defensively, holding them to 39 points but we must have missed 20 shots in a row at one time. You can't win if you don't score."