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Saints score enough to beat Hancock

December 17, 2009|By DAN KAUFFMAN

SAINT JAMES -- The Saint James girls basketball team spent the first 29 minutes, 50 seconds of Wednesday night's game against Hancock shooting more blanks than a track meet race starter.

In the last 2:10, the Saints made 4 of 5 shots, and that proved to be the difference in a 29-24 victory over the Panthers.

"We've been practicing on shooting a lot. That's been our main focus," said Saint James coach Joanna Ruderman, whose Saints made just 9 of 62 shots before finishing strong. "I tell them not to get frustrated. They have to keep shooting, it's the only way to make baskets."

Hancock (3-3) took a 24-21 lead with 5:12 left in the game on Tiffany Younker's two free throws for her only points of the contest. They were also the Panthers' only points of the fourth quarter, as they went 0-for-10 from the floor and 2-for-4 at the foul line in the period to leave the door open.

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"In all three of our losses, that's been the case, missed opportunities," Hancock coach Rocky Wills said. "It's not like we're not getting what we want to get. How many of our misses were in the paint? I just think they're playing too tight. I believe they'll look back on this one and know it was one that got away."

After Saint James started the fourth quarter 0-for-11, Lena Tilsworth made a jumper from the right baseline with 2:06 to play to get the Saints (3-3) within a point at 24-23.

On their next possession, Jordan Wills fed Taylor Deveaux for a shot inside that was too strong, but Courtney Peterson was there for the rebound and putback with 1:13 to play to give the Saints a 25-24 lead.

Wills came up with a steal on Hancock's next possession, raced down the court and made a tough layup between two defenders with 58 seconds left for a 27-24 lead.

"Jordan keeps her cool. They were trying to put pressure on her all night, but she was able to make a key play," Ruderman said.

Josie Sornson -- who made Hancock's only 3-pointer of the game in the first quarter -- missed one with 45 seconds left, and Wills grabbed the rebound.

Both teams exchanged turnovers before Deveaux missed the front end of a 1-and-1 opportunity with 5.1 seconds left. Hancock gained possession on a throw-in with 2.6 seconds to play, but Wills came up with her last of three steals and the final two of her team-high nine points at the buzzer.

Wills also led Saint James with 10 rebounds. Margaret Bacon had six points and three assists, Tilsworth had five points, Deveaux had eight rebounds and three blocks, and Courtney Peterson added seven rebounds for the Saints.

Hancock's Briana Swisher finished with 14 points on a variety of drives, jumpers and floaters. Chelsea Stigile had eight rebounds, Maureen Leavy had nine rebounds and Danijela Cupac added five steals. The Panthers made 10 of 51 shots.

Saint James 29, Hancock 24
HANCOCK (3-3)

Leavy 1 1-2 3, Swisher 7 0-0 14, Sornson 1 0-0 3, McSparron 1 0-0 2, Younker 0 2-2 2, Stigile 0 0-2 0. Totals 10-51 3-6 24.
SAINT JAMES (3-3)
Peterson 1 1-4 3, Stephens 1 0-0 2, Deveaux 1 0-1 2, Wills 4 1-2 9, Mary Bacon 1 0-0 2, Marg. Bacon 3 0-0 6, Tilsworth 2 0-0 5. Totals 13-67 2-7 29.
Hancock 6 10 6 2 -- 24
Saint James 7 5 9 8 -- 29

3-point goals -- Hancock 1 (Sornson), Saint James 1 (Tilsworth). Rebounds -- Hancock 32 (Leavy 9), Saint James 46 (Wills 10). Turnovers -- Hancock 20, Saint James 17. JV -- Hancock, 27-23 (H: Sara Wagner 11; SJ: Taylor Goodie, Payton Berry 6 each).

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