Roland Park Country School basketball team went into Friday’s night matchup with St. Vincent Pallotti looking for redemption. More importantly, the Reds needed a win to boost their hopes of gaining the No. 4 seed in the upcoming IAAM A Conference tournament.

No. 9 Roland Park accomplished both, posting a 40-34 decision over the 13th ranked Panthers on Roland Avenue. Junior guard/forward Daisy Alaeze scored 15 points for the Reds, and Lauren Edwards added 14.

The Reds (11-6 overall) led by as many as 15 points in the second half before holding off a charge by the Laurel school. Pallotti claimed a 49-32 victory on its home court back in mid-December.

“We came out pretty focused,” said Roland Park coach Scott Buckley. “We were a little thin tonight, we played six and they played about 10, trying to wear us down. We started making a couple of mental mistakes, but we hung in there.”

“Our team has been ready for this game for some time,” said Alaeze. “We just came out ready to go”

Roland Park was in full command at 31-16 after a three-point play by Alaeze, but Pallotti (9-9 overall) fought back to within four, 33-29, with under six minutes left in regulation. A pair of free throws by Edwards followed by a layup from Christa Reese off an extended possession gave the Reds breathing room.

The win puts Roland Park alone in fourth ahead of St. Frances (4-4) and Pallotti (5-6), and a game behind McDonogh School for third. Though top-ranked Archbishop Spalding and No. 2 Seton Keough sit atop the league, Buckley said the overall depth makes the IAAM A again the toughest league in the area.

“We’re talking middle of the pack teams, but the team that finishes sixth will likely be ranked in the Top 15 in the area,” said Buckley. “People might say ‘well you finished fifth in your league,’ but the four teams ahead of you are in the Top 10. You got to play every night.”

Using great interior passing, Roland Park scored 13 straight points, turning a 15-14 advantage into 28-14 early in the third. Edwards was the recipient, scoring nine points with several easy layups in the post.

“We were ready to finish this time,” said Edwards. “I think we have a connection, Daisy will run down the floor and she sees me open, and gives me a good pass.”

“If she’s open, I’ll give her the ball every time,” said Alaeze. “She’s a diverse player. She has the baby jump hook, can take her man off the dribble and give you two to three blocks.”

lauren edwards and daisy alaezeAlaeze, the Reds’ leading scorer and most talented performer, came up with a pair of offensive rebounds before scoring and drawing a foul. She completed the three-point play for Roland Park’s largest lead midway in the third quarter.

The Reds managed just two free throws as Pallotti closed to 33-27 at the end of the quarter after baskets by Mariah Hankton and Brittany Davis. Kelly’s score off a drive made it 33-29, but the Panthers missed a host of high-percentage shots.

Despite sliding back in the league standings, Pallotti coach Josh Pratt is pleased with his team’s progress in its first year in the IAAM A.

“This was a real positive game,” said Pratt, who received a team-high 10 points from Davis. “We had our chances. Roland Park played a little bit tougher and wanted it a little more than we did.”


No. 9 Roland Park 40, No. 13 St. Vincent Pallotti 34
Roland Park13911740
Pallotti: Padgett 7, Harrison 2, Ekedigwe 3, Davis 10, Hankton 8, Conley 4. Totals: 11 3-6 34.
Roland Park: Angel 4, Reese 3, Davis 2, Alaeze 15, Edwards 14, Kelly 2. Totals: 14 10-15 40.
Halftime: Roland Park 22, Pallotti 14