St. Paul’s hands No. 10 Pikesville first loss in girls basketball holiday tournament; Lyles and Satchell combine for 29

Destiny Ryles (left) and Leah Johnson helped St. Paul’s School advance to the Chontell Manns Division final at the All About the Girls Holiday Tournament Friday at SEED School. The No. 13 Gators blew a 16-point fourth quarter lead before knocking off previously undefeated and 10th-ranked Pikesville in overtime.

by Derek Toney

The only thing Brittany Lyles could do is smile. With six seconds left in regulation Friday, the St. Paul’s School guard got the inbound pass and pushed the ball down past half court.

She dribbled and the clock sounded. Then she looked at the scoreboard.

The game was tied.

“I forgot the time on the clock,” said Lyles. “Honestly I thought we were up a point.”

Lyles’ gaff was the highlight of an erratic final seven minutes of regulation play by the 13th-ranked Gators, who regrouped in overtime to defeat No. 10 Pikesville, 58-57, in the opening round of Chontell Manns bracket at the All About the Girls Holiday Tournament at SEED School in Southwest Baltimore.

Lyles, a senior, led St. Paul’s (7-2 overall) with 15 points and Laurie Satchell added 14 before fouling out late in regulation. Tyra Robinson finished with a game-high 21 points for Pikesville , and Kristin Sterling had 17.

After blowing a 16-point fourth quarter lead, the defending IAAM B Conference champ Gators will play Southern Maryland’s St. Mary’s Ryken in the final Saturday afternoon at SEED School.

St. Paul’s coach Pat Conrad was pleased to see his team respond in overtime Friday.

“They [Pikesville] never stop coming and we knew that,” said Conrad. “They’re athletic and solid team…We worked recently on breaking the press for layups and was confident in the personnel we had on the floor. It was just repetition.”

“I think we were okay,” said Lyles about going into overtime. “It was just patience.”

Lyles broke a 53-53 tie, converting the front end of an one-and-one. She missed the bonus, but Pikesville couldn’t corralled the rebound and Lyles got the possession. Espirit Cha scored off a feed from Madison Beale, giving St. Paul’s a 56-53 lead with 1:47 left in overtime.

Beale answered Sterling jumper with a drive, making it 58-55 with 51 seconds remaining. Pikesville turned the ball over, but Robinson got to a loose ball after a Gator miss and scored, pulling the Baltimore County champs to 58-57 with 12.4 seconds to play.

The Panthers had a chance after Alex Sawyers missed both double-bonus free throws, but Nakiya Bland’s jumper from the corner missed with a second left. Pikesville never led after opening quarter and was down 41-25 after Satchell’s steal and layup with seven minutes left in regulation.

But last year’s Class 1A state champ Panthers rallied, behind Sterling, who dropped back-to-back three-point daggers, pulling them even at 41 with 3:39 remaining in regulation. Lyles answered with a basket and St. Paul’s had a 46-41 lead with 2:34 left after a basket from Leah Johnson.

Sterling, an University of North Carolina A&T recruit, got Pikesville even at 51 with two free throws with 6.1 seconds left. The Gators called timeout to set up for a potential game-winning play.

But, there would be a snag.

“I was like why shoot it, just hold the ball,” said Lyles.

“We practiced how fast we can score and we knew six seconds was enough time,” said Conrad. “Destiny kind of had a brain cramp.”

Pikesville coach Mike Dukes said lack of transition defense put his team in a big hole in regulation, but commended the effort to force overtime.

“When we set this schedule up, we knew we were going to take some bumps,” said Dukes, whose team won the Class 1A state title last season and will compete in 2A this season. “We have to keep getting better and clean up some of the mental things.”

Despite the shaky final minutes of regulation, St. Paul’s was confident going into overtime, mainly because of its familiarity with several Pikesville players from AAU.

“We had to calm our nerves down,” said Gators senior forward Leah Johnson. “I could tell we were getting a little antsy, rushing shots. Once we regained our composure, it was kind of smooth sailing from there.”

All About the Girls Holiday Tournament

at SEED School

Chontell Manns Division semifinal

No. 13 St. Paul’s School 58, No. 10 Pikesville 57

Pikesville – Fisher 2, Roberts 13, Sterling 17, Barnes 2, Moore 2, Robinson 21. Totals 17 19-23 57.

St. Paul’s –  Lyles 15, Sawyers 9, Johnson 8, Satchell 14, Beale 6, Cha 4, Kasten 2. Totals 23 11-20 58.

Pikesville 11 5 9 26 6 – 57

St. Paul’s 9 15 13 14 7 – 58