Maryvale shuts down Glenelg Country in second half for IAAM B hoops final four showdown with St. Paul’s; Knapp and Neff combine for 40 (VIDEO HERE!)


Two ends of talented spectrum: Emily Knapp (left) and Claire Neff has Maryvale Prep basketball a win away from the IAAM B Conference final. Knapp, a freshman guard scored a game-high 21 points while Neff, a senior forward headed to Clemson University, posted 19 points and 15 rebounds as the No. 17 Lions defeated Glenelg Country School in a quarterfinal contest in Ellicott City Tuesday evening.

by Derek Toney

Watching freshman Emily Knapp help Maryvale Prep to the IAAM B soccer championship during the fall, Claire Neff knew her eventual teammate would have an impact for the Lions’ basketball team.

She was right. The point guard scored 21 points as the 17th-ranked Lions defeated Glenelg Country School, 58-42, in an IAAM B Conference quarterfinal in Ellicott City.

Maryvale, the No. 5 seed, will play ninth-ranked St. Paul’s School, Thursday afternoon in a semifinal. The top-seeded and defending league champ Gators defeated Mercy, 63-31, Tuesday.

The Lions (14-7 overall) are in the semifinal round for the first time in at least a decade, thanks to Knapp’s shooting and Neff’s all-around play. Neff scored 13 of her 19 points in the second half and pulled down 15 rebounds.

Knapp went for 15 points over the final 16 minutes Tuesday.

“We didn’t have a lot of energy in the first half,” said Knapp. “We knew we wanted to win and make it to semifinals.”

Knapp hit two 3-pointers as Maryvale and the fourth-seeded Dragons exchanged 3-pointers through the first four minutes. The Lions’ defense stymied Glenelg’s perimeter game the rest of match, avenging a 48-33 loss back in late November.

“We really made an emphasis to step out on their shooters,” said Maryvale coach Alex Miller. “I think our defense in the third quarter really got the momentum going.”

Knapp kept it going for the Lions to start the fourth. Neff got a defensive rebound and pushed the ball down the court, then dropped off to ball to Knapp who fired off a successful 3-pointer. After scoring off a pass from Neff, Knapp came up with a steal and drove in for a layup, giving Maryvale a commanding 50-34 advantage.

“I wanted to make her feel as welcomed as possible because being only freshman on varsity is tough,” said Neff, who led the Lions to the IAAM A volleyball final during the fall. “I just gave her energy, effort and encouragement which all you can ask for as a freshman. She’s turned out just fine.”

Neff, who will play basketball for Clemson University later in the year, got another defensive board and finished with a layup, capping a 17-0 run for a 53-34 lead with 4:11 left in regulation. Maryvale held Glenelg Country without a field goal for nearly eight minutes.

Junior Caroline Haynes finished with 19 points for Glenelg Country (12-11), which connected on four 3-pointers in the first 16 minutes Tuesday. The Dragons kept pace to start the second half, then went cold.

Though its season ended prematurely, Glenelg Country coach Will Harper was pleased to see a young squad claimed a top 4 spot in the B Conference.

“It was a lot of teaching, but the kids did what they had to do,” said Harper. “These freshman are going to be ready next year.”

In an all-Brooklandville semifinal, Maryvale will try end St. Paul’s reign Thursday. The Gators have won 17 straight (including postseason), including a 57-43 win over the Lions at home two weeks ago.

“We all know we didn’t play our best game,” said Knapp. “I think we can win.”

IAAM B CONFERENCE QUARTERFINAL

No. 17 Maryvale Prep 58, Glenelg Country School 42

Maryvale – Knapp 21, Neff 19, Fick 3, Allan 6, Giles 6, Smith 3. Totals 21 10-13 58.

Glenelg Country – Haynes 19, R. Byrne 7, B. Byrne 5, Lisk 2, Regan 2, Bender 7. Totals 16 3-4 42.

Maryvale 13 13 17 15 – 58

Glenelg Country 12 14 8 8 – 42