After No. 4 Roland Park played exceptionally well in reaching the finals of the highly competitive Shake & Bake Tournament in New Orleans last week, the Reds hoped to carry that momentum into yesterday's game at No. 1 McDonogh.
Instead, the Reds never managed to get rolling against the Eagles' devastating defense. McDonogh led throughout, taking a 50-32 victory in an Association of Independent Schools A Division game.
The Eagles, who have beaten Roland Park in the last two AIS title games, allowed none of the Reds to score in double figures and Katie Nelson held All-Metro guard Betsy Gaines to just four points. Gaines averaged 20.4 points in five games in New Orleans.
"I only got very few shots," said Gaines, "because every time I got the ball they triple-teamed me. Their help defense was really key -- and their intensity. We just came out kind of flat."
The Reds stayed within three into the second quarter, but 25 turnovers and 27 percent shooting doomed their upset hopes.
So without the expected resistance, the McDonogh machine rolled to its 31st straight victory. The Eagles (13-0 overall, 3-0 AIS) have not lost since mid-December 1997 and have not lost to a local team since mid-December 1996.
Powered by excellent man-to-man defense and better offensive execution against the Reds' zone in the second half, the Eagles built a 50-24 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
The Reds (9-4, 1-1) surprised the Eagles with a zone defense and it took McDonogh a half to execute well inside.
"Their zone wasn't letting us get inside a lot," said senior guard Jazmine Norton, "but we started to have someone move across the middle, so that we got the ball inside. Once we got the ball inside, we scored every time."
Once again, the Eagles proved that they do not live by Vicki Brick alone although the 1997-98 All-Metro Player of the Year scored a game-high 15 points and contributed seven steals and two assists.
The Eagles, who shot 44 percent from the field, got another stellar team effort, with Norton (nine points and a smothering defensive job to hold Reds point guard Meghan Kelly to three points), Greichaly Cepero (eight points, five rebounds, seven blocks), Aisha Mason (eight points, including two three-pointers) and Nelson (six points, five assists, two steals) contributing.
On the other hand, the Reds had no one step up offensively to help the struggling Gaines.
They went without a field goal for 6 1/2 minutes after Gaines' layup with 4: 11 left in the third quarter. That allowed the Eagles to boost their lead to 22 points with a 12-2 run interrupted only by a couple of Stasia Thomas free throws. The Reds turned the ball over eight times during that stretch.
Kelsey Twist led the Reds with eight points and 13 rebounds.
Pub Date: 1/06/99