Top-ranked St. Frances had a lot of miscues on offense in the first quarter of last night's game at No. 14 Archbishop Spalding, but the Panthers made up for them with defense the rest of the game.
Too quick and too athletic for the young Cavaliers, St. Frances broke the game open in the second quarter and cruised to a 59-27 victory in an Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference game.
The host Cavaliers (11-9, 8-5) were within 12-8 early in the second quarter before the Panthers (17-2, 13-0) turned up the defensive heat and took over the boards to set off a 12-2 run and push their lead to 24-10 with 3:10 left in the half. During the Panthers' spurt, they limited the Cavaliers to just three shots while outrebounding them 11-2.
"Our defense makes our team," said guard Tammy Rodgers, who had three steals in the first quarter. "We play real hard defense. It keeps us pumped. Every time we go down court, we leave everything we messed up on in the past. "
At the same time, the Panthers took control of the boards, ending up with a 42-34 advantage, but their second and third shots made it seem as if they had a bigger rebounding edge, especially in the first half.
All-Metro 6-foot-1 center Angel McCoughtry grabbed nine of her 13 rebounds and scored 12 of her 16 points in the first half. With McCoughtry, and later, Camille Coleman (12 points, 11 rebounds) controlling the boards and guard Shadae Swan hitting many of her 19 points from outside, the Cavaliers couldn't put a stop to the inside-outside barrage.
After the half, the Panthers really began to roll, pushing the lead to 20. In the fourth quarter, the Cavaliers didn't score at all until the final 37 seconds and their only basket of the quarter, Stacy Hunt's follow shot, came with 17 seconds to go.
The defending IAAM A Conference champion Cavaliers managed to cut the lead to 14 with a six-point run late in the third quarter, but they struggled with outside shooting and free throws the entire game.
"For us, coming back on anybody is tough, because we don't have a super high-powered offense," said Spalding coach Deb Taylor. "We have to do a better job defensively early on. We weren't active and weren't doubling down. Angel was beating us and kids were beating us off the dribble."
No. 7 Institute of Notre Dame 54, St. John's-Prospect Hall 52: Chandrea Jones scored with 30 seconds left and, after an IND turnover, stole the ball under St. John's basket as the Indians (16-5, 12-3) avenged an earlier A Conference loss.
Jones, an All-Metro guard, finished with 18 points while Colby Lee led the host Indians with 19. Kenan Cole and Marta Merkel scored 15 each for St. John's.