Archbishop Spalding girls basketball coach Deb Taylor's qualms were well-warranted.
Perhaps still savoring their first Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland championship, the top-ranked Cavaliers couldn't find their rhythm or touch as they dropped a nonconference game to visiting Elizabeth Seton, 54-44, in Severn last night.
The loss ended a magical one-week run for Archbishop Spalding (20-9), which blazed through the IAAM Tournament for the title by edging then-No. 1 Seton Keough on Saturday night.
"It's hard to come off such a great win like that," said senior forward Kylie Bestul, who paced the Cavaliers with a team-high 12 points, seven rebounds and three steals. "When you accomplish something that big, it's hard to get up for this."
Archbishop Spalding connected on just 19.6 percent (11 of 56) of its shots from the floor and was out-rebounded 46-32.
Particularly galling was the fact that the Roadrunners, a Prince George's County private school that is ranked 15th by The Washington Post and has flirted with a national ranking by USA Today, collected 17 rebounds off the offensive glass.
"I thought our shots were short because of physical fatigue from Saturday and the turnovers we made were because of mental fatigue," said Taylor, who blamed herself for scheduling a game two days after the tournament final. "We were flat, and that was exactly what we were concerned about."
After Bestul sank two free throws to give the Cavaliers their first lead of the game at 13-12 with 5:27 left in the second quarter, junior guard TaKneekia Baker scored six points to fuel a 12-2 run that gave Elizabeth Seton a 24-15 advantage at halftime.
Spalding closed the gap in the third quarter, stringing together an 8-0 run and a 5-0 burst to clip the Roadrunners' lead to 33-32.
But freshman forward Iman McFarland scored five of her 13 points to spark a 13-3 run through the first four minutes of the final period to seal the victory for Elizabeth Seton (19-7).
McFarland also had eight rebounds and five blocks and sophomore guard Kristen Boone posted a game-high 16 points, seven rebounds, six assists and five steals for the Roadrunners, who broke a two-game losing streak without Wake Forest-bound leading scorer Cotelia Bond-Young.