Gaels fend off Preston for title

December 10, 2011|By BRETT NIEVES | Staff Correspondent

HAGERSTOWN — Severija Narkute scored a layup with 27 seconds left in the game to put St. Maria Goretti up by one, and T.J. Tillman sunk two free throws with 13.4 seconds left to ice the game as the Gaels defeated Preston (W.Va.) 46-43 on Saturday in the Lady Gael Classic championship game.

Narkute, a sophomore, was named the tourney’s most outstanding player, while Tillman earned most valuable player honors.

Goretti (6-4) got quality minutes out of its underclassmen in crucial times. Freshman Ama Mitchual energized the Gaels late in the fourth quarter off the bench, hitting a clutch 3-pointer to keep Goretti within striking distance.

“I tip my hat to (Mitchual),” Goretti coach Todd Rideout said. “She came in and sparked us late in the fourth quarter.”

Narkute led Goretti with 13 points and Lauree Lorensen — named to the all-tournament team — nearly notched a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds. Mitchual led Goretti’s bench with six points.

Preston (3-2) struggled in first quarter, managing only five points.

“We played hard, but shot awful in the first half,” Preston coach Brian Miller said. “There were some good looks, but we couldn’t buy a bucket.”

It took the Knights nearly the enitre first half — until 1:39 was left before halftime — to break double digits.

Trailing 22-15 at the half, Preston used a 10-2 run to start the third quarter to close the gap and set the pace for a back-and-forth second half. The Knights took their first lead of the game at 25-24 with 3:34 left in the third.

Goretti got to the free throw line nearly twice as many times as Preston (23-12) and made 17.

“The free throws we made at crunch time won us the game,” Rideout said. “It was a see-saw game. One of best I’ve seen in this area in awhile.”

In the consolation game, the Frederick Force home-school team got past Bishop Walsh 54-42.

Becca Winner had 24 points, 15 rebounds and 7 blocks for the Force.

Beth Dalton led the Spartans (1-3) with 13 points and Kelsie Buser scored 11.

All-Tournament Team: Goretti — Severija Narkute (MOP), T.J. Tillman (MVP); Maggie Murray. Preston — Carly Kelley, M.J. Braham. Frederick Force — Kathryn Romanchuk. Bishop Walsh — Becca Winner.

Narkute 13, Lorensen 10, Tillman 8, Cronise 7, Mitchual 6, Eich 2. Totals 14 17-23 46.
Kelley 13, Braham 11, Ash 7, Rudabaugh 7, Good 3, Feather 2. Totals 16 6-10 43.
Goretti     13    9    6    18    —    46
Preston     5    10    10    18    —    43
3-point goals — Goretti 1 (Mitchual). Preston 5 (Kelley 3, Good, Rudabaugh).

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