St. Mary’s Ryken’s starting point guard, Brittani Burgess, made it clear that her team deserves to be in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, contrary to naysayers.
Burgess and teammate Marissa Somerville continued to keep those naysayers quiet by leading Ryken to a 46-41 victory over Elizabeth Seton of Prince George’s County in a WCAC girls basketball contest Tuesday evening.
“We’re trying to prove people wrong,” Burgess said. “There’s been a lot of negative things being said about us, like we shouldn’t be in the WCAC and who do we have on our team that’s good. We have a lot of strengths to this team.”
Burgess and Somerville led the Knights in the win with 16 and 14 points, respectively, in a contest that came down to ball control, defense and rebounds in the final two minutes of play.
“We’ve been mixing the defense up a little bit and sometimes we don’t communicate the changes, and tonight I think we left some people open,” Ryken head coach Kris Sandberg said. “It looked like there at the end that we were doing a better job with the pressure, and then we just had Brit stay on her [Janelle Hubbard]. The last quarter was definitely a defensive battle.”
The game was tied at 40 until Ryken guard Bianca Boggs got the ball out to Somerville, who put the Knights up 42-40 with 1 minute and 33 seconds remaining in regulation.
Seton’s Savannah Johnson went to the free-throw line and completed just one of two attempts to bring the visitors to within one point.
Sandberg brought in center Cydney Smith to post up under the basket. Smith finished with nine points and led the Knights in rebounds with eight. She added two blocks to her tally.
Somerville found a loose ball, and Seton couldn’t get back in transition to stop her from scoring. Somerville’s basket put the Knights up 44-41 with 1:07 left to play.
Hubbard, Seton’s three-point shooter and top scorer, attempted a three-point shot in attempt to tie the game, but it was just inches off.
The Knights (14-6, 7-4 WCAC) passed the ball around, running down most of the remaining 50 seconds. Hubbard (18 points) was called for a charge at her last attempt to go to the free-throw line.
After a half-court pass, Burgess shut the game down with her shot and the win.
“They only got three points in the fourth quarter, so that was team defense right there,” Burgess said. “We realized what we needed to do, and coach was yelling at us that this was the game that we needed. “
Somerville said she expected a tough game.
“They’re the best matchup for us,” Somerville said, “but I just knew that we could pull it out in the end, and we did.”
The two teams were tied up on four occasions. Ryken came out with the 15-8 first-quarter lead, but Seton (14-7, 7-5) took a 29-25 lead into the locker room. The second half was all defense. Sandberg changed up a few things, and the Knights allowed just three points in the quarter.
Ryken will travel to McNamara at 7 tonight, a team it beat 67-39 on Jan. 2, in a WCAC contest. Sandberg said that they are aggressive but don’t have the size that the Knights have.
“We’re going to put some pressure on our guards so that we can take advantage of the size that we have and get the ball into Cydney more,” she said. “They were doing a good job of keeping her out of the paint, so we need to work on sealing underneath a little bit more and getting our guards to be able to get it to her more, so we’ll be able to recognize back door opportunities. I don’t think we did that as well tonight.”