McDonogh's unbeaten girls basketball team aced the first test in a two-week stretch of tough competition with solid free-throw shooting to beat fiesty, No. 14 Roland Park, 45-38, last night.
The No. 3 Eagles hit only 11 field goals but made up for it by making 21 of 31 free throws. Versatile sophomore guard Brittany Mallory hit 13 of 16 free throws and finished with a game-high 20 points.
"We bailed them out a lot," said Roland Park coach Scott Buckley. "We fouled too much, and they got in the double bonus really early. And you're not going to win a game if you let Brittany Mallory shoot 16 foul shots."
Mallory nailed five consecutive free throws early in the third quarter to help fuel a 14-3 run that broke open a 19-19 game and gave the visiting Eagles a 33-22 lead.
In the fourth quarter, she hit four more free throws to help stave off a Reds' comeback as Roland Park rallied from 41-26 down to pull within five points with 27 seconds remaining.
In that final Reds' rally, Shannon Burke hit a driving layup and a three pointer, and Barbara Seaman hit a layup. The Eagles could offset that only with a couple of free throws by Mallory as McDonogh's lead dwindled to 43-36 with 37 seconds to go.
Ten seconds later, Burke hit two free throws to bring the Reds within 43-38, but McDonogh's Sam Frost then polished off both ends of a double bonus to put the game away.
For the Eagles, who improved to 15-0 overall and 11-0 in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference, the victory provided a boost after struggling to beat two unranked teams, Bryn Mawr and Mercy, in the last week.
"This definitely raised our confidence," said Mallory. "This is the game we needed after those two bad games. It gets us pumped up for the next week and a half."
Last night, neither team shot well. McDonogh hit only 11 of 43 field-goal attempts, three fewer than the Reds (12-4, 7-4), who shot just 14-for-49. But the Eagles more than made up for it at the free-throw line where Roland Park was just 7-for-16.