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Claire Neff, Riley Fick lead Maryvale basketball to 52-29 win over St. Timothy’s

St. Timothy’s led the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference coming into Wednesday night’s matchup against Maryvale, but the Lions came away looking like the top team after a 52-29 victory.

Senior Claire Neff and sophomore Riley Fick led the way for Maryvale with 15 points each. Neff, a Clemson commit, made her presence felt early and often with several blocks, assists and rebounds to go with her scoring. She was double teamed and had to make things happen for her teammates.

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“When I’m being face-guarded, I have to do what I have to do to help our team score and to help our team play defense,” Neff said. “So, if I don’t get the ball to score, then that’s fine. If I’m able to get an assist, set screens, anything I can do to help my team. That’s the end goal.”

With an 8-6 record heading into the game, the Lions looked to capitalize and pull closer to St. Timothy’s (9-1, 5-1 B Conference) in the standings. Maryvale coach Alex Miller understands that in a league like the IAAM, any given night could result in victory for the underdog, and he reminded his team of that ahead of the matchup.

“Every conference game is a big one. Any given night, any team in our conference can beat anybody, but we just said we’re going to do what we do best — play good and hard defense, move the ball on offense and do what Maryvale basketball is, which are those things.

“I think no matter what, we just try to fight and give it all each and every night, and today worked out for us.”

Maryvale (9-6, 4-3) got off to a strong 12-2 lead, led by Neff’s seven points in the first quarter. St. Timothy’s pulled within seven at the half with Ande’a Cherisier scoring seven points of her own in the second quarter. Neff added three more points to finish the first half with 10, giving Maryvale a 20-13 lead at the break.

The third quarter was just the beginning of Fick’s onslaught from long distance with her first 3-pointer. Neff, Audrey Allan, Lexi Smith and Taryn Giles had the remaining 12 points to capture a 13-point lead at the end of the quarter.

Fick hit four more 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. Cherisier closed out the game with six additional points to finish with 14.

St. Timothy’s coach Vernon Harris immediately saw areas in which his team could improve, citing his players’ ability to close out on defense as his biggest cause for concern.

“The defense wasn’t what I was expecting and you can’t take anything from Maryvale, they just shot the lights out. They were hot,” Harris said. “When you get a team that’s shooting like that, you’ve got to change some things up. We didn’t adjust to playing a better defense — a help defense. We have to do better in our help defense and get around to play our man-to-man a little better.

“That’s what was going on today. We just didn’t get around on the screens like we should’ve, we just didn’t get to our man. It just seemed like we were a step slow today.”

MP: C. Neff 15, R. Fick 15, L. Smith 7, A. Jackson 5, A. Allan 4, E. Knapp 4, T. Giles 2

ST: A. Cherisier 14, B. Rider 11, A. Macktoon 4

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