Bethlehem Catholic coach Stephen Maco has been stressing boxing out in recent weeks, and Teri Antolick apparently got the message last night.
The Hawks rallied from a nine-point, fourth-quarter deficit by grabbing 10 offensive rebounds in the final three minutes -- led by Antolick's four rebounds and six points -- to defeat host and sixth-ranked McDonogh, 61-60, in the Holly Division championship of the Holly and Hoops tournament.
McDonogh (6-2) had led nearly the entire game. The Eagles appeared to have too much speed and too much Vicki Brick (31 points, six assists) for the Hawks.
The Eagles also appeared to have the title wrapped up when Ellen Haller's free throw stretched its lead to 55-46 with 3: 31 left. But that's when Bethlehem Catholic (6-5) suddenly awoke.
"What's really nice about tonight is that we didn't give up," said Maco. "I finally think that in the fourth quarter we played with the intensity to enable us to be competitive with a ballclub the caliber of McDonogh.
Ellen Young (13 rebounds) started the rally by scoring on a follow-up shot for the Hawks. When Young missed a subsequent free throw, Jamie Frey (16 points) grabbed the rebound and hit a short jumper to make it 55-50 with 3: 01 left.
Young then scored on a follow-up jumper, and Antolick (13 points, 10 rebounds) sliced the lead to 55-54 on a put-back with 1: 53 left. Antolick's basket was the fourth offensive rebound for the Hawks on the same play.
Antolick struck again by pulling down a Frey miss and scoring on a put-back for a 56-55 lead with 54 seconds left. But Brick gave the Eagles the lead by sinking a spinning left-handed shot with 40 seconds remaining.
But the Hawks rallied yet again. Tara Lukievics, suffering through a 3-for-11 night from the field, sank a key free throw to tie the score with 23 seconds left.
Lukievics missed the second free throw, but Antolick came up big once more. She leaped up over two McDonogh players to get the rebound and bank one in to give the Hawks a 59-57 lead with 21 seconds remaining.
The Eagles had a chance to tie, and looked to Brick. The sophomore went to her usual drive up the middle, but she lost the ball out of bounds with nine seconds left.
The Hawks got the ball in-bounds and over midcourt before Lukievics was fouled. The guard sank two free throws that made Mary Urban's three-pointer at the buzzer meaningless for McDonogh.
Bethlehem Catholic outrebounded McDonogh, 35-25, and held the Eagles to one rebound in the final 3: 15 -- while grabbing 10 offensive boards itself.
"We were looking for the offensive boards," said Antolick. "We knew that [in the fourth quarter] we had to come out and pressure them on defense. We knew we had to hit the boards."
McDonogh had led by as many as 14 points in the second half, but the Eagles just could not seal the victory.
"It was so disappointing," said Urban, who finished with 14 points for McDonogh. "We knew we should have blocked out. JTC We knew what we had to do, and we just couldn't do it."
Pub Date: 12/29/96