The more-formal clothes will stay on St. Mary's girls basketball coach Harry Dobson.
With Dobson breaking out a blue blazer and khaki slacks for the team's first-round game in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference tournament, the No. 17 Saints skipped past visiting Roland Park, 45-35, in Annapolis yesterday.
Dobson eschewed his usual white short-sleeved polo shirt for a dress shirt and tie to honor the final home game for three seniors, but said afterward that he will wear the suit when St. Mary's (16-10) travels to Baltimore to challenge reigning conference champion and second-ranked St. Frances at 5:30 p.m. today.
"I'm superstitious," Dobson said. "It'll be a challenge [against St. Frances].
Yesterday's win avenged a seven-point loss to the Reds two weeks ago. The most notable difference was the absence of Roland Park sophomore guard Dani Kell.
Kell, who has averaged 13.4 points, has been ill with a stomach flu, and the Reds (13-13) missed her presence on the floor, where they committed 28 turnovers.
Roland Park coach Scott Buckley, who declined to use Kell's absence as an excuse, said the key factor was his team's inability to convert from the free-throw line.
The Reds shot just 42.9 percent (12-for-28) from the foul line, compared with the Saints' 86.7 percent (13-for-15).
"I think we played well enough to win," Buckley said. "Just some turnovers, missed shots and troubles at the line hurt us."
St. Mary's took a 7-1 lead and led for much of the first half. Roland Park scored eight unanswered points to take its first lead at 16-15 with 2:16 left in the second quarter.
But the Saints closed out the half with a 9-0 run to enjoy an eight-point advantage at halftime.
After missing her first seven shots in the first half, St. Mary's senior center Kristy Rogers scored all 11 of her points in the second half to help keep the Reds at a distance.
"I switched my mental state after [Dobson] talked to me in the locker room," said Rogers, who also had eight rebounds and four steals. "He told me to get focused."
Freshman point guard Bri Gauthier collected 11 points for the Saints, while senior forward Beth Foster added 10 points and nine rebounds.
Roland Park was led by freshman forward Breyana Hall's 12 points and nine rebounds and senior forward Jen Bengel's 11 points and 11 rebounds.