Top-ranked Seton Keough stopped by the 18th annual Noel Classic girls basketball tournament for one day yesterday and overpowered Bishop McNamara, 72-53, but third-ranked St. Mary's and fourth-ranked John Carroll were in no way overshadowed in this three-day extravaganza at Archbishop Spalding in Millersville.
St. Mary's, John Carroll and Roland Park breezed through the tournament with 3-0 records to share the title after round-robin play that included 18 games in three days.
St. Mary's finished its Noel run last night with a 69-50 victory over Severn, and John Carroll completed its impressive showing by turning back Archbishop Carroll, 68-62.
In all, it was a strong, 7-0 performance by St. Mary's, John Carroll and Seton Keough -- three Catholic League powers who were tuning up for a red-hot, regular-season championship race with second-ranked Mercy.
It was also an impressive weekend for Baltimore-area schools against the two Washington-area teams in the tournament, Archbishop Carroll and Bishop McNamara, who were a combined 1-5 in three days.
Kathleen Shannon, coach of unbeaten John Carroll (9-0), said, "The good news is we're ranked fourth [Baltimore metro poll], but the bad news is the three teams ahead of us are all in the Catholic League."
No. 1 Seton Keough (8-1) put on a third-quarter clinic to outscore Bishop McNamara, of Forestville, 31-11, on the way to its lopsided win. The Gators were led by Charity Carbine's 20 points and all-around excellence on the court.
Carbine and Seton Keough moved the ball crisply around the perimeter and they often got the ball inside for layups or drove the lane for high-percentage shots.
Ball movement, rebounding and teamwork were all highlights of the Seton Keough effort.
Seton Keough coach Jim Stromberg said, "Playing against a team like McNamara with its superior quickness can only help us get ready for our league games against the likes of St. Mary's and John Carroll. It was also good to play three days in a row."
Seton Keough won back-to-back games to win the Catonsville Comets Christmas tournament Friday and Saturday.
For St. Mary's (9-1), its final game was a bit of a letdown after impressive wins over Bishop McNamara, 75-63, and Archbishop Carroll, 66-49.
"We had beaten Severn by 35 points earlier in the season," said St. Mary's coach Harry Dobson. "But we were tired tonight and had very little intensity. We were generous tonight."
However, St. Mary's sophomore point guard Emily Lipton wasn't in a giving mood as she scored 19 points, had eight assists, three steals and two rebounds in the decision over Severn.
Lipton wound up the three days with 52 points, 24 assists and 15 steals and was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player.
Making John Carroll's victory over Archbishop Carroll even more impressive was the absence of 6-foot center Britney Whitehurst, who was out of town. Whitehurst scored 19 points and grabbed 17 rebounds in a victory over Old Mill Saturday.
Pub Date: 12/30/96