January 5, 2013

Girls' basketball: Early command leads to a Cheverus win

The Stags show their depth in building a 17-point lead, and down Sanford.

By GREG REID Special to the Press Herald

PORTLAND - Sanford did what it could to stop Cheverus' inside game Friday night, holding Brooke Flaherty to 14 points and Kylie Libby to 10. Problem is, that left guard Victoria Nappi free on the wing.

And that's one player you don't want free on the wing.

Nappi scored 18 points, including five 3-pointers, and depth again played a key role as Cheverus got past scrappy Sanford 57-47 in an SMAA game at Keegan Gymnasium.

"(Sanford Coach Kristy Parent) had her team ready," Cheverus Coach Richie Ashley said. "We were able to get a few things off our traps early, but after a while they started to capitalize on (their preparation). But we were able to open a lead because of that initial surge."

The push came directly from the Stags' relentless defense, led by Libby, Mikayla Mayberry (eight points, five rebounds, five assists, five steals), and Georgia Ford. When they went off, on came Sadie Lyons, Jill Libby and Jess Willerson.

"That's what I love about this team," Flaherty said. "The girls who come on behind you are just as good, and they bring just as much energy."

"I think it's the endless pressure," Sanford Coach Kristy Parent said. "You might get past their top two but you're not going to get by the next three too often."

Samantha Adams led the Spartans (5-2) with 12 points, three rebounds and two steals. Heather LeBlanc had nine points, eight rebounds, three blocks and a steal.

"We missed some open opportunities early," Parent said. "If we'd hit those, we could have changed momentum a little. Their pressure in the first half forced some turnovers and gave them some easy transition baskets that put them out ahead."

"We try to come out with intensity from the opening tip," said Kylie Libby, who won the opening tipoff, but Sanford's Morgan Fogg got on the end of it, drove and was fouled while scoring.

"That wasn't so good," Flaherty said.

Fogg (six points) missed the foul shot but Sanford led 2-0. The Stags went to work from there, going on a 15-5 run.

The Stags (8-0) finished the first quarter ahead, 23-14. But the balanced scoring was set for Cheverus, with Flaherty (four rebounds, two blocks) and Nappi (eight rebounds) each scoring six points, and Kylie Libby and Jill Libby each scoring four.

Six of the Spartans' 10 second- quarter points came from the line. Cheverus pulled away on a 13-8 third quarter: Nappi hit three 3-pointers, two in 20 seconds to open a 47-30 lead.

"We come in waves, don't have that one same person who is going to score a lot every game," Ashley said. "But we do have that constant pressure. Everyone plays a part in that."

The Spartans outscored the Stags in the fourth quarter, 14-10. Judging by the hollers from the Sanford locker room, some losses are better than others.

"My team worked hard," Parent said. "At the end of the day, that's what it's about. If we come out with this intensity every night, our games are going to be competitive."


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