LARGO -- Pressure defense got it started for St. Mary's in the third quarter yesterday against DuVal.
At the offensive end, it was Maria Smear from the outside with Felicia Holloway doing the work inside.
When it was over, the No. 2-ranked Saints erased a 10-point deficit against the Tigers from Prince George's County to claim a 59-50 win in an opening round game of the 26th annual IAABO Christmas Invitational at Prince George's Community College.
Arundel, ranked fifth in the area, also saved its best for the second half, overcoming a 13-point deficit against James Madison (Va.) to come away with a 67-59 win behind a 24-point performance from sophomore guard Jill Marano.
The eight-team, three-day tournament continues tomorrow with the Saints (8-0) taking on Riverdale Baptist -- 74-60 winner over Coolidge in the opener -- in the first winner's bracket game at 6. Arundel (5-1) takes on Largo -- 83-39 winner over No. 9 John Carroll -- in the other at 8. The two winners will meet Tuesday at 8 p.m. for the championship.
John Carroll will meet Madison tomorrow at 4 in the consolation bracket.
St. Mary's went on a 16-2 run late in the third quarter to take control against DuVal. Smear, a senior guard, scored all 13 of her points in the second half -- including a three-pointer from the left corner at the buzzer to end the third quarter. Holloway, a senior center, scored 16 points and added 10 rebounds despite early foul trouble that had her sitting for much of the second quarter.
Igniting the Saints' run was their trapping defense that got to the Tigers (3-3) midway through the third quarter.
"Our 1-2-2 trap worked well," said St. Mary's coach Harry Dobson. "We got some steals and then at the offensive end, we were a lot more patient. In the first half, we were not moving and not patient, just asleep on offense."
Junior guard Toby McIntire finished with 14 points for the Saints, who shot 19-for-29 from the free-throw line.
No. 5 Arundel 67, James Madison (Va.) 59: Marano's 24 was only the start of a fine all-around team effort from the Wildcats, who put together a 29-point fourth quarter to get past a strong James Madison team from Vienna, Va.
A long three from Marano at the top of the circle with under two minutes to play closed out a 13-1 Arundel spurt that provided a 60-52 lead, but Madison wasn't through. The Lady Warhawks scored the next seven points to close to within one with 59 seconds left.
The rest of the game belonged to the Wildcats. Sophomore Najmah Fauntleroy hit a short jumper and the Wildcats made five of six free throws in the final 30 seconds to preserve the win.
"We did a much better job of helping each other out defensively in the second half and did better on the boards," said Arundel coach Lee Rogers.
"We didn't know much about Madison except that they were very good. It was a good challenge for us. That's why we like to come here. This tournament is a springboard for the state tournament."
Largo 83, John Carroll 39: The Lady Lions from Prince George's County took charge in the second quarter, outscoring the Patriots (3-4) 17-1 to turn a two-point lead after one period into a 33-15 advantage at the half.
Sophomores Darby Burke and Kristin Jasper both scored 10 points to lead the Patriots, who played without junior point guard Jen Biscoe.
Pub Date: 12/27/98