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Gaels humble Howard for title

December 30, 2006|by JACK HILL III / Staff Correspondent

SMITHSBURG - The St. Maria Goretti girls basketball team scored 14 unanswered points during the first quarter, sending the Gaels on their way to a 42-35 win over the Howard Lions on Friday night in the championship game of the Pap Draper Classic.

Fort Hill edged Smithsburg 60-56 in the consolation game.

After Shannon McMullen canned a 3-pointer for Howard (3-5), Goretti (9-2) went on its run to take a 16-5 advantage at the end of the first quarter.

"We were ready when we came out of the gate," Gaels coach Todd Rideout said. "Our offense was running pretty smooth. That led to some easy layups inside.

"This was our first time winning this tournament. It was basically a total team effort."

Sarah Spierenburg had 11 points, six blocks and five rebounds for the Goretti. Erica DiMercurio scored nine points, while Carissa Grove added eight points and eight rebounds. All three made the all-tournament team.

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MacKenzie Calhoun had 12 points and Kelly Reinhardt had 10 points for the Lions.

The Gaels took their biggest lead at 41-22 with 3:57 remaining on a basket by Grove. The Lions went down fighting as they outscored the Gaels 13-1 the rest of the way.

"We came without our big girl, Nyree Williams, who had 21 points and 21 rebounds last night," Howard coach Jennifer O'Neill said. "She had to go to New York for a family trip. So, I knew that it was going to be a tougher game without her tonight. But I was proud of how the team fought to the end."

Smithsburg (1-6) had a 48-42 lead over Fort Hill (2-4) with 4:44 to go. But the Sentinels outscored the Leopards 18-8 the rest of the way to pull out the victory.

Sophomore point guard Lindsey Fisher had 21 points, including a trio of 3-pointers, while Leann Greise added 16 points for Fort Hill.

Cara Jordan had 15 points, five assists and four steals for Smithsburg. Bethany Garnand had 14 points and five rebounds, while Emily Hargreaves added 11 points.

"Foul shooting was the key to our victory tonight," Fort Hill coach Jennifer Miller said. "That wins ballgames."

The Sentinels made 21 of 32 foul shots.

"I thought that we played well for most of the game," said Smithsburg coach Ed Hargreaves. "We have had trouble finishing games. Last night, we had a lead in the fourth quarter and we let it slip anyway. We did the same thing again tonight. Most of our games have had scoring only in the 30s, so 56 points is pretty high for us. We are young and inexperienced in the post. We are still looking for the right combination out there on the court."

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