The end of the fourth quarter of top-seeded Mount de Sales’ 57-51 semifinal playoff win over fifth-seeded Glenelg Country (15-12) School showcased two clutch performers in Sailor sophomore Anya Walker and Dragon senior Taylor Gillis (21 points), but the overtime featured the player of the game in Kristen Zaranski.
Zaranski scored 11 of the Sailors’ 12 overtime points and advanced them to the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference championship game.
Mount de Sales (23-3) will play St. Paul’s at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 17 at Stevenson University.
After Walker hit a free throw, giving the Sailors a 46-45 lead with 3:01 left in overtime, Zaranski took over and scored the final 11 points.
She scored on a spin move with 2:08 left, pushing the lead to three, 48-45.
Her steal led to a chippie at the other end and the lead was five, 50-45, with 1:50 on the clock.
After Gillis made it 50-47 on a baby hook with 1:30 remaining, Zaranski deposited a 3-point bank shot with 1:06 left and the lead grew back to five.
Two free throws by Glenelg Country’s Brianna Chun with 42 seconds left were answered by two from the charity stripe by Zaranski with 26 seconds left, but Chun responded with a pair of foul shots with 19 seconds left to make it 55-51.
Zaranski scored the final two points from the foul line with 14.9 seconds remaining.
“We just went out there with our best effort and just gave it our all for the last four minutes,” said Zaranski, who had 19 of her game-high 27 points in the fourth quarter and overtime.
That chance may not have transpired if not for a clutch rebound and four straight free throws by Walker in the waning seconds of overtime.
With 9.1 seconds remaining and the Dragons leading, 42-41, Taylor Denny missed the front end of a 1-and-1.
Walker, who had five points and an assist in the second quarter, hauled in the rebound and was fouled with 6.8 seconds left.
She canned both free throws and the Sailors led 43-42.
After a time out, deny defense from Abby Kuhn forced a Glenelg turnover and Walker was fouled after the ball was in-bounded and she made two more free throws with 5.7 seconds left and the lead was 45-42.
“I had confidence in her, she makes them in practice all the time, I knew she could do it,” Zaranski said.
So did assistant coach Dave Skomba, who told her during a time out, “After you make these two free throws, we are going to do this.”
After the time out, Glenelg’s Gillis took center stage.
She went the length of the court and launched a 3-pointer from the right side just before the buzzer.
The ball hit the front right side of the rim, bounced back off the inside of the front rim and rattled home.
Her shot set off a wild celebration for the Dragons.
“I was just thinking just get it up, do what I have to do because my team really wanted this game to go into overtime,” Gillis said. “I thought they were going to foul me so I was surprised they actually let me get the shot off, so I knew if the shot was going up I needed to make it.”
“She’s a great player,” Mount de Sales coach Trish Armstrong said.
Zaranski had to get over the surprise shot and get ready to go extra time.
“I was a little shocked when she made it, I wasn’t expecting her to, but she’s a really good player and she hit that shot and I think it was a clutch shot for them,” Zaranski said. “But, I think once she hit that, it just kind of motivated us more to just go out there and do well.”
Gillis was equally motivated.
“We’ve been playing this team for two years now and we’ve always lost it, so this was a game we looked forward to, unfortunately we came out on a losing end, but it was a good game from our team, like it’s the best we’ve ever played against them.”
“That was a great game,” Armstrong said.
Mount de Sales 57
Kristen Zaranski 27, Anya Walker 12, Rachel Krug 8, Megan Matsko 5, Abby Kuhn 2, Sloane Skalstad 2, Maura Devine 1.
Glenelg Country 51
Taylor Gillis 21, Carolin Haynes 13, Taylor Denny 6, Brianna Chun 4, Ashlyn Bender, 3, Cydney Lisk 2, Kennedy Williamson 2.