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Spicer comes through in the clutch

December 17, 2006|by CHRIS CARTER/Staff Correspondent

St. Maria Goretti senior Clara Spicer will say she didn't want to be at the foul line, all alone, with a chance to tie the championship game of the Gael Classic on Saturday afternoon.

But for someone who claimed to be "pretty nervous," Spicer certainly didn't let it bother her.

The Gaels senior hit a pair of technical free throws to knot the game at 42-42 with just over 2 1/2 minutes left and assisted an Erica DiMercurio layup on the next possession to give Goretti its first lead since early in the third quarter, and the Gaels held off the defending champion Campers 48-45 at the Gael Center.

"I don't handle pressure too well so when I got to the line, I was pretty nervous," said Spicer, who was named the tournament MVP. "I was thinking, 'Why me, why me?' But to see them go in was the most exhilarating feeling."

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The free throws were part of an 11-0 run that erased Allegany's nine-point lead at the start of the fourth quarter. Spicer made all six of her free throws - four in the fourth quarter - and finished with a team-high 12 points. She added five rebounds and five assists - the last of which was threaded through traffic to DiMercurio (11 points), who was waiting underneath the basket and banked it in for a 44-42 lead.

"We just went with who was hot," Gaels coach Todd Rideout said of Spicer. "She was the energizer out there the whole game. She was everywhere."

If Spicer supplied the energy, junior Sarah Spierenburg provided the power. Spierenburg turned away shot after shot, frustrating the Campers with nine blocks. She added nine points - all in the second half.

"Sarah was a force on the inside. They stopped pushing the ball inside because she was always there," Rideout said.

Having little success setting up inside, Allegany started working the perimeter to create offense in the second half. Jamie Krogel started the long-range show with a 3-pointer from the left wing to give the Campers a 30-27 lead. Reserve Erin Hansel followed with three more 3s as Allegany opened a 39-31 lead going into the fourth quarter.

"They're a good-shooting team," Rideout said. "When they hit those 3s, we had to do something different. We went man-to-man because we didn't want to give them those shots."

Leslie Crosten, who led the Campers with 12 points, added another 3 at the start of the fourth to put Allegany ahead 42-33. But the Gaels put an end to the open jump shots as they started their run.

"Coach basically just told us, 'We got this. This is our tournament and we're not going to lose it,'" Spicer said.

Miranda Payne scored a season-high 31 points as Cumberland Valley Christian outlasted Broadfording Christian 49-43 in the consolation game.

Kim Sensenderfer and Lauren Peterson each added eight points for the Blazers (5-2), who hit just 15 of 51 shots. Sensenderfer had nine rebounds and Peterson had four steals.

"Miranda put us on her back and carried us," said CVCS coach Jon Shannon. "Ideally, that's not what we want to have to do, but we're still a young team and a work in progress. Hopefully it will improve."

Taylor Shafer led Broadfording (1-6) with 14 points, while Taylor Capshaw scored six and dished out five assists. Emma Stahl had six rebounds and three steals.

· All-Tournament Team: Broadfording - Tara Shafer, Taylor Shafer; CVCS - Payne, Peterson; Allegany - Hansel, DeTonia DeGross; Goretti - DiMercurio, Spierenburg.

· Goretti's Angie Navarez won the 3-point shootout with 11 baskets. Krogel was second with 10, followed by Payne with nine.

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