Pallotti rides defense, inside game to victory over host Mount de Sales

Visiting Pallotti rode a smothering defense and balanced inside scoring to a 46-36 victory over host Mount de Sales in girls basketball on Friday night.

Pallotti didn’t have any players in double figures, but they did have six players with at least five points, while host Mount de Sales (0-1) had two players in double figures, but it was the defense of the Panthers (2-0) that helped them cruise to a 24-point lead early in the fourth quarter.

Mount de Sales, finalists in the past two Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference tournaments, got 22 points from Kristen Zaranski and 14 points from Rachel Krug, but nobody else on the Sailors scored.

“I’m just shocked how we started that game,” Mount de Sales coach Trish Armstrong said. “They just couldn’t shoot.”

The only field goal in the first quarter for the Sailors came on a three-pointer by Krug.

The other two points were free throws by Zaranski.

Meanwhile, the Panthers, who play in the IAAM A Conference, took a 10-5 lead at the first break on five field goals from five different players.

The first four were on layups; by Jania Hall (seven points), Jadmine Valentine (eight points, 12 rebounds), Tahlia Brown-Stangherlin (five points, seven rebounds, three steals) and Nhaikia Smith (nine points) and the fifth bucket was a 12-footer by Lindsay Thweatt (nine points) with 34 seconds left.

Mount de Sales continued to struggle shooting and they committed turnovers in the second quarter, but they only trailed by nine, 18-9, with a minute left after a perimeter basket by Zaranski.

That’s when junior veteran Brown-Stangerlin took over.

The 5-foot-10 forward hit a three-pointer with 48 seconds left in the half.

With 15 seconds left, she got an offensive rebound and made a nifty pass to

Valentine for a layup and she assisted Thweatt for another chippie with five seconds left to give the Panthers a 26-9 halftime lead.

“We tried to turn them over and create some things in transition and that was really our game plan,” Pallotti coach Joe Matthews said.

“That was a good little run and I think we had one somewhere in that second half.”

A free throw by Nia Thweatt (three points) gave the Panthers their last largest lead at 42-19 with 6:29 left in the fourth quarter.

Mount de Sales closed by outscoring the visitors 17-4 in the final 6:10.

Krug had 11 points in the fourth quarter, including two three-pointers, and Zaranski hit two treys and had nine points in the final quarter.

“We are a team that can score 60 points,” said Armstrong, who praised Pallotti’s defense. “It (pressure defense) was very good. It was constant. That’s probably the best defense we’ve seen all season.”

Matthews was glad to see his defense overcome spotty outside shooting from his team in the first half.

“It’s early in the season and they are still trying to find their shots, like even Mount de Sales was, because there are some great shooters on that team,” Matthews said.

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