Frazier’s steal, Lewis’ basket stun John Carroll

by Nelson Coffin

An eight-point lead with less than two minutes remaining in regulation was not enough of a cushion for No. 9 John Carroll to hold off the the kind of relentless pressure that a young and talented Pikesville girls basketball squad can exert on it opponents.

In what seemed like the blink of an eye, the home team roared back down the stretch to steal the final game of the Panther Classic on Saturday night from the Patriots, 52-51, to open their season at 2-0 after beating City on Friday.

Trailing, 47-39, the seventh-ranked Panthers’ closing 13-4 run began on a coast-to-coast maneuver by junior guard Tyra Robinson that preceded a three-pointer from the top of the key by sophomore forward Kristin Sterling.

Pikesville freshman Amayah Frazier (left) stole the ball and fed it to teammate Keante Lewis for a basket in the final seconds of a 52-51 victory over John Carroll on Saturday night at the Panther Classic.

After John Carroll senior guard Jordan Wakefield swished a pair of free throws to rebuild the lead to 49-44, Sterling went to the baseline to drain another triple to make it a two-point game with 95 seconds left.

Senior Teylah Saunders’ free throw cut the lead to one for the Panthers before ice-veined Wakefield returned to the line to knock down two more shots.

The George Mason commit was 13-for-14 in the second half and 16-for-20 in the game, a hefty portion of her game-high 23 points.

Sterling then contributed a pair of free throws to shave the lead back to a point prior to the game-changing play made on John Carroll’s ensuing inbound attempt when precocious freshman Amayah Frazier stole the ball and then had the presence of mind to find sophomore Keante Lewis inside for a layup and a 52-51 Pikesville advantage with under 10 seconds to go.

“I ran to the block and made a quick move,” Lewis said.

Even so, Frazier needed some guidance to find her teammate in the paint.

“She was screaming my name,” Frazier said.

The Patriots (1-2) quickly raced down the floor as the final seconds ticked off the clock and launched one clean shot before time ran out.

Yet they deserved a better fate, considering how their own surge — and a zone defense — helped to overcame a 12-point deficit Pikesville enjoyed early in the third quarter.

After hammering John Carroll on the offensive glass in the first half for four buckets and several more extra possessions, the 3-2 defensive alignment employed by Patriots coach Eric Wakefield simultaneously flummoxed the Panthers’ offense and kept them off the offensive boards.

“We never did adjust to it,” Pikesville coach Michael Dukes admitted. “Their coach made a great adjustment. It really stifled us. We were only able to get by because of our speed and hustle.”

With the zone keeping the Panthers in check, the Patriots started running their motion offense much better while going on a 25-5 run that had Pikesville on its heels.

Beside Jordan Wakefield, Kristin Higgins, Julia Williams and Marisa Ziegler took turns scoring key baskets for John Carroll as it built its lead.

Having beaten No. 18 City on Friday, Dukes said the he was “ecstatic to be 2-0.”

“It was a good kickoff to the season,” Lewis added.

Pictured above: Pikesville’s Amayah Frazier (right) and John Carroll’s Julia Williams battle for the ball as Tyra Robinson (#4) looks on.

JC 12 10 17 12 — 51
PK 19 13 6 14 — 52
John Carroll-Jordan Wakefield 23, Kristin Higgins 12, Julia Williams 9, Marisa Ziegler 7.
Pikesville-Kristin Sterling 20, Tyra Robinson 11, Teylah Saunders 10, Keante Lewis 6, Frances Glover-Bey 4, Amayah Frazier 1.