- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
The first 26 minutes of Friday evening’s Sunday Youth Basketball League girls Coaches Showcase contest featured 12 ties and 12 lead changes.
The 12th and final tie and 13th and final lead change started a 15-0 run for the South, which went on to win the game over the North, 39-29, at St. Mary’s College of Maryland’s Michael P. O’Brien Athletics and Recreation Center Arena in St. Mary’s City.
The biggest lead of night through the first 3 1/2 quarters was when the North led 6-2 near the midway point of the opening period.
“Another competitive game against the same head coach, I tell you,” South head coach Jamie Billig said, referring to North head coach Mark Laidley. Billig’s Father Andrew White School team met Laidley’s Cardinal Hickey Academy team in the league’s girls tournament championship game Feb. 27, with Father Andrew White winning 35-33. “What more can you ask for. Super game, competitive all the way. It was a fun experience. It was nice this time to not have the pressure of playing for the championship, although the North and South is a pretty special game.”
Ann Gorman (Cardinal Hickey Academy) connected on a jumper off the glass just seven seconds into the fourth to put the North up 26-24. Michaela Guy (Father Andrew White) followed with a basket to tie the game at 26, then hit the first of two free throws with 5 minutes 55 seconds left — the showcase contest played eight-minute quarters versus the regular six-minute periods the league usually plays — to put the South up by a point, and it would never trail again.
“We just weren’t gaining ground, so we changed things up a little bit. It gave us a little bit of cushion,” Billig said. “I think everybody was getting tired and I think we were just able to get past being tired, and that’s really the key I think, we got past the tired and we got some good fast breaks going.”
Laidley added, “I stayed with my substitutions, OK; my three groups of girls, I just stayed with that, and [Billig] made some different substitutions, but it’s all good.”
The lead reached double digits with 2:19 left when Mackenzie Loewe (Father Andrew White) drained the first of two free throws, making the score 36-26. Loewe scored all nine of her points in the second half of the game.
“I think we were just a little bit nervous at the beginning,” Loewe said, “but that all just went off, and at the fourth quarter, everyone was just really into it and we just really wanted to pull this off and win and we really got that.”
The 15-0 South run came to an end when the North’s Ashley Ramsey (Mother Catherine Spalding School) hit the only three-pointer of the contest by either team with two seconds remaining, then the buzzer sounded to give the South the win.
Ashlee Gorman (St. Michael’s School) led the South with 10 points, eight coming in the first half.
“It was hard,” she said of the game. “We had to get the ball and what not, and there was a lot of rebounds out there for our team, and we made a lot of outside shots.”
Ramsey led the North with nine points and was later named the North’s Most Valuable Player, while Marissa Laidley (Cardinal Hickey) had six.
“That was great, great for her,” Mark Laidley said of Ramsey’s night and her three-pointer.
Kate Barthelmes (Father Andrew White) began the scoring in the contest as she converted a layup off a steal, giving the South a 2-0 lead. Later in the night, Barthelmes (4 points) would be named the South’s Most Valuable Player.
The North then scored the next six points, capped by a putback from Karen Anderson (Archbishop Neale School). The South answered with a six-point run of its own, the last four by Ashlee Gorman to make it 8-6.
Julia Vogel (Archbishop Neale) tied the game for the North with a jumper, but an Ashlee Gorman putback gave the South a 10-8 lead after one quarter.
There was no scoring over the first 4:20 of the second quarter. The teams traded baskets until Ann Gorman’s putback tied the game at 14 with 1:25 to go. The teams went to halftime with that tied score.
The back-and-forth battle continued in the third quarter with neither team leading by more than two points. Alli Turner (St. Michael’s) scored with 45 seconds left in the period to send the squads to the fourth tied at 24.
“I think we did really good,” Loewe said. “We only had a couple of practices to do it, so I think we really pulled it off and stuck well together.”