The bus ride home to Bel Air from the south side of Glen Burnie last night no doubt seemed longer to John Carroll's players than it actually took.
For their second straight annual visit to No. 10-ranked Archbishop Spalding, the No. 13 Patriots entered hot but departed New Cut Road chilled by a six-point loss, this time a 57-51 decision.
John Carroll coach Kathleen Shannon expressed puzzlement over her team's up-and-down performance. "I don't know what it is about the third quarter for this team," she said.
The Catholic League game, a matchup Spalding coach Deb Taylor described -- smiling -- as "ugly," was a largely half-court affair marked by scoring runs and droughts.
John Carroll (4-6 overall, 1-2 league) opened fast, sinking five of its first seven shots in building an 11-3 lead and 14-9 margin after a quarter. Junior forward Megan Sparks made six of her game-high 18 points in that period for John Carroll.
The Patriots followed that by hitting five of their first six second-quarter shots, taking a 23-14 lead that was their largest of the night. They struggled the rest of the way.
Spalding's defense helped that, of course, seeming to blossom with tenacity after Taylor switched briefly to a 2-3 zone midway through the second quarter. The Cavs applied their preferred man-to-man coverage most of the game, but that spurt, and another later, rattled John Carroll's confidence.
Spalding (10-5, 2-1) caught the Patriots at 23 with 2: 07 left in the first half, which ended tied at 27.
John Carroll surely would like to forget the third quarter, which was strange for both teams. After making their first shot, the Patriots fell into a five-minute funk, not only going scoreless but virtually without taking a shot, as well.
Spalding missed its first five shots of the period, to boot, but then went on a 10-point run and a 16-4 spurt for the quarter to lead, 43-31, entering the final period, with, it seemed, the momentum.
The Cavs took their first lead on senior guard Amy Campion's 17-foot one-hander from the key with 4: 35 left in the third quarter. Campion scored a team-high 15 points and had 11 rebounds, three assists and two steals, as well.
But just as Spalding appeared safe, John Carroll -- with Sparks doing much of the damage -- fought back to a 43-43 tie with 4: 41 left in the game.
The Patriots outscored Spalding, 20-14, for the fourth quarter.
Spalding freshman forward Kylie Bestul restored her team's lost momentum, though, with about four minutes to go. She flanked two free throws with jumpers from about 7 feet on the left, six of her 13 points on the evening.
Pub Date: 1/05/99