- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
No school because of the President’s Day holiday and no junior varsity game to fire up St. Mary’s Ryken may have contributed to the off day on the court for the girls basketball team, according to team captain Brittani Burgess and head coach Kris Sandberg.
Ryken entered Monday night’s Washington Catholic Athletic Conference contest, a makeup from a Jan. 25 postponement, after a 52-48 win over Archbishop Carroll of Washington, D.C., on Friday night.
Monday, Good Counsel jumped out to a 15-10 first-quarter lead in the fast-paced match-up and took a 34-23 lead into the locker room at the half.
Ryken (17-10, 10-8 WCAC) out-scored Good Counsel in the second half, but it was not enough; it lost 58-52 to end the regular season.
Sandberg said she didn’t see good things in warm-ups and was a bit uneasy at the start of the game.
“We finished the season with the same record and the same placement as last year,” Sandberg said. “We have one more win because we played one more game this year. I’m disappointed for our seniors, especially for Bri [Burgess]. She had a rough start to the season, but when we got back from our trip to Arizona, we had a heart-to-heart with her and she has stepped up big time. She’s tried to put the team on her back, and Cydney [Smith] has been there right with her.”
Good Counsel head coach Tom Splaine knew this encounter would be much different with Ryken’s healthier roster than the first meeting of the season, a 78-52 Good Counsel win Jan. 13.
“It was a good game with St. Mary’s Ryken; they’ve gotten a lot better, really improved,” Splaine said. “They’ve got a good chance against anybody this weekend, but it’s a tough league. I didn’t think by any stretch it would be [a 26-point difference]. We got up early on them last time, and they did a good job of taking us out of our run game.”
Good Counsel maintained the lead throughout Monday’s contest. After a three-point shot from Ryken senior Marissa Somerville late in the fourth quarter, the Knights made a move to within five at 55-50 with 1 minute and 8 seconds remaining in regulation.
Bianca Boggs made some timely rebounds down the stretch, but Good Counsel controlled the clock and ran it down. Burgess was fouled with 14.3 seconds remaining and brought the Knights to within three points with two free throws, but the Falcons soon sealed the deal.
Burgess, who led Ryken in the loss with 24 points, agreed that her team’s focus wasn’t what it usually is.
“They beat us in the first two quarters, but it was our focus,” Burgess said. “We didn’t have a JV game, and we’re used to watching that game and getting prepared. A lot of our players went out scared to play. It was our confidence level. We picked it up in the second half after coach had a talk with us. It was the wide open shots that killed us.”
Good Counsel’s Jordan Light connected for the visitors with three three-point shots for all nine of her points in the contest, while Lindsey Spann was tough to keep under control as the team’s highest scorer with 16 points.
Ryken is again the fifth seed this year in the WCAC playoffs and will face Elizabeth Seton, the fourth seed from Prince George’s County, at noon Saturday in the quarterfinals at Gonzaga High School in Washington, D.C.
The semifinals will be held Sunday and the championship game Tuesday at American University in Washington, D.C.
Burgess was named as a first-team All-WCAC selection, while Smith was selected to the All-WCAC second team and Marissa Somerville was voted third-team All-WCAC. Deja Ford and Briana Hardee picked up honorable mention All-WCAC honors.