All-County senior guard Maria Smear scored 19 points and grabbed six rebounds to propel No. 3 St. Mary's to a 64-55 victory over host No. 11 Archbishop Spalding in a Catholic League game yesterday.
St. Mary's other guard tandem of Emily Lipton and Terri Daniels added 16 and 14 points, respectively, and reserve junior guard Tobi McIntire chipped in with 10.
Junior forward Leslie Juengst led the Cavaliers with 14 points.
The Saints won despite going more than four minutes in the first quarter without a point and repeating the drought during the first three minutes of the third quarter -- a trend that alarmed coach Harry Dobson.
"I wasn't real pleased with our shot selection," he said. "We had one-on-fives and you're not going to get many rebounds off those situations."
But Dobson said he told his team to spread out in the half-court set.
"We tried to keep the middle open so that we could drive and use our quickness," he said. "That did it for us."
Smear, whose father calls her Smear "Re" and whose coach extended that to "Rerun" of "What's Happening" fame, said the team tends to fall into a game of spurts.
"We usually start out slow, but we fought hard in the end," she said. "It wasn't pretty, but we won."
After St. Mary's scored four of the game's first six points, Archbishop Spalding went on a 13-0 run until Smear hit two free throws.
But the Saints tied the Cavaliers at 20 after Daniels hit a layup with 6: 26 left in the second quarter.
The lead seesawed, with St. Mary's nursing a 31-30 lead at the end of the first half.
Although the Saints went scoreless for three minutes in the third quarter, Archbishop Spalding also had difficulty putting the ball in the basket, going five minutes without a field goal until Juengst hit a three-pointer with 46 seconds left in the third period.
But in the fourth quarter, St. Mary's never relinquished the lead and finally put the game away when Smear hit two free throws, stole a pass and scored a layup in quick succession.
The Saints hit seven of eight free throws in the last two minutes to seal the victory.
Cavaliers coach Deb Taylor cited her team's youth as a contributing factor to the loss.
"Basically, the last two minutes hurt us," she said. "They have more experience than us, and they used it to rattle us a bit."
ST. MARY'S -- Smear 19, Lipton 16, Daniels 14, McIntire 10, Mulligan 1, Holloway 4. Totals 20 21-31 64.
ARCHBISHOP SPALDING -- Schaech 8, Altig 3, Howard 7, Bestul 9, Campion 12, Mahoney 2, Juengst 14. Totals 19 9-12 55. Half: SM 31-30.
Pub Date: 12/14/98