Shooting three-pointers wasn't the game plan last night for the No. 3 Seton Keough basketball team, but the Gators took early openings and used them to spark a 59-45 victory over No. 9 Archbishop Spalding in an Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference semifinal.
The Gators (19-8) will meet No. 1 and six-time defending champion St. Frances in a rematch of last season's title game at 5 p.m. tomorrow at Stevenson University.
Last night, Seton Keough's Carly Read hit two three-pointers in the first 2:24, and that kept the visiting Cavaliers' defense from focusing on the inside game and 6-foot-4 center Asya Bussie.
"Last time we played them, they hurt us in the post," Spalding forward Jordan Clinton said, "and we weren't expecting them to come out hitting the threes. Once they did, we just couldn't make the adjustment."
The three-pointers opened up the inside for Bussie and 5-11 forward Achiri Ade. They combined for the final six points of a nine-point run that boosted the lead to 10 late in the first half.
The Cavaliers (19-8) cut the margin to 36-29 on Clinton's short jump shot midway through the third quarter, but the Gators again went in and out to finish the quarter with an eight-point run. Three minutes into the fourth, Read fed Ade to push the lead to 48-30.
Maggie Morrison, who led Spalding with 16 points, brought her team within 12 on a three-pointer with 1:19 left.
Katelyn Fischer then went 8-for-8 from the free-throw line in the final 57 seconds to hold off the Cavaliers. Fischer finished with 21 points.
No. 1 St. Frances 59, No. 11 Mercy 38: : Shatyra Hawkes scored 16 and Deanna Harmon added 14 as the Panthers (24-1) rolled over the Magic (15-8) in the other A Conference semifinal.
The Panthers have not lost to a local team this season.
No. 13 St. Paul's 60, Severn 41: : Janelle Fleet scored 14 to power the host Gators (25-1) past the defending champion Admirals in a B Conference semifinal.
Leanne Hug led Severn (20-5) with 13 points.