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Girls hoops: Eagles pay back Rams, win MDCC title

February 25, 2012|By JACK HILL III | Staff Correspondent
  • Heritage Academy's Kathleen Kidd (12) dives to beat New Life Christian's Aileen Maknati, right, to the loose ball during Saturday's MDCC Tournament girls championship game at Grace Academy on Saturday.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — The third time was a charm for Heritage Academy’s girls basketball team.

After losing to New Life Christian in the Mason Dixon Christian Conference Tournament championship game in each of the past two seasons, the Eagles turned the tables on the Rams in Saturday’s title tilt, coming out on top with a tough 40-38 victory.

“It was definitely quite a battle,” Heritage coach Dana Henson said. “We did a good job on the boards. For the most part, we kept our composure.”

Heritage (22-1) was forced to play without one of its top players, senior guard Callie Butts.

“We lost Callie last night to a broken collarbone in the semifinals,” Henson said. “That was a big loss for us, because she is the team captain. She does so much for us. It was tough today to go without her. But everybody stepped up and played their hearts out. I thought we came out with a lot of great effort.”

Senior forward Rachel Clarke — the tournament MVP — finished with 15 points, nine rebounds six steals for Heritage.

“We all just played real hard and we pulled together,” Clarke said. “We have been working hard all season to prepare for this tournament. Winning the championship shows that we accomplished our goal. I’m really glad that our team meshes well together. We have each other’s back. Our coaches have really put in a lot of effort. I like to thank them by giving them this trophy.”

Junior center Kara Stamper was a force defensively with 12 rebounds, five steals and four blocks for the Eagles.

Aileen Maknati — the MDCC player of the year — led New Life (16-11) with 16 points and seven rebounds. Liz Catoe added 11 points and six rebounds for the Rams.

Heritage Academy led 31-27 with 6:35 left in the fourth quarter, before Maknati scored nine straight points as New Life took a 36-31 lead with 3:29 left. The Rams were aided by a technical foul called on the Heritage bench.

Clarke made two foul shots to help the Eagles cut the Rams’ lead to three points, before a technical called on New Life’s bench led to Jessica Gaylor’s two free throws that cut the lead to one. Gaylor then canned a 3-pointer to put the Eagles on top for good at 38-36 with 1:22 left.

Kathleen Kidd — who was named to the All-MDCC Tournament team — converted two foul shots to extend Heritage’s lead to 40-36 with 37 seconds remaining.

Allison Rice made two foul shots to help the Rams cut the lead to 40-38 with 20 seconds left. New Life got another opportunity at the foul line with one second left, but Catoe missed the front end of a 1-and-1 situation and Stamper grabbed the defensive rebound to clinch the title for Heritage.

Heritage (22-1) will now focus on the Maryland Christian State Tournament. The Eagles will host Grace Christian, out of Waldorf, on Tuesday night at 5:30.

* In the third-place game, Calvary Christian raced to a 31-18 halftime lead and maintained it to the finish line of a 58-49 victory over Broadfording.

Center Joanna Carr had 18 points and 17 rebounds, while Savannah Reed also scored 18 points for Calvary (19-5).

Aspen Flook had 19 points and eight rebounds, while Jade Boone added 17 points for Broadfording (9-18).

Foul shots helped determine the outcome. Calvary went 16-for-27 from the line, while Broadfording made only 5 of 21.

Heritage 40, New Life 38
NEW LIFE CHRISTIAN (16-11)
Maknati 16, Catoe 11, Rice 2, Stopyra 6, Vick 3. Totals 14 8-15 38.
HERITAGE ACADEMY (22-1)
Rose Clarke 2, Stamper 8, Kidd 8, Rachel Clarke 15, Gaylor 7. Totals 13 13-15 40.
New Life    9    5    11    13    —    38
Heritage    7    12    10    11    —    40
3-point goals — New Life 2 (Maknati, Catoe). Heritage 1 (Gaylor).

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