St. John’s Catholic Prep girls’ basketball team routed St. Timothy’s School last regular season en route to the IAAM C Conference championship. The Vikings knew Saturday’s get-together with an improved St. Timothy’s School squad would be anything but easy.
In a battle of the two remaining unbeaten in the C league, St. John’s held off St. Timothy’s, 34-32, in Baltimore County. Mariel Pierce scored 12 points and had seven steals for the Vikings (9-4 overall, 8-0 IAAM C), and sophomore Shannon Greene finished with 10.
The Frederick school relied on its championship mettle to repel a fourth quarter charge by St. Timothy’s. Vikings coach Sheldon Henry knew St. Timothy’s wanted payback for last year’s 52-19 drubbing and serve notice as a legitimate threat.
“I knew they would be tough defensively, they’re playing aggressive and with a lot of heart,” said Henry. “We made just enough plays in the end to win.”
Arguably the biggest play came with less than 1 minute, 30 seconds remaining with St. John’s holding a 32-30 lead. The Vikings’ Christine Hagans missed a shot right before the 30-second shot clock expired, and St. Timothy’s Kelsie Bacon got the rebound.
Bacon muffed the exchange with teammate Tori Schuler a few feet away from the Vikings’ basket. Greene picked up the loose ball and went in for a layup, extending St. John’s advantage to 34-30.
The Vikings led 30-23 after a basket by Mariel Pierce with 5:13 left in regulation, but St. Timothy’s drew to within a score, 32-30, on a three-pointer by Aryonna Hutchinson with about 2:20 left. St. Timothy’s had a chance to tie seconds later, but turned the ball over.
Schuler, a senior forward had a book-end double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds for St. Timothy’s (9-1, 5-1 IAAM C). Damesha Hazelton added eight points and 11 rebounds.
St. Timothy’s coach Mike Buchanan said his team made 40 turnovers Saturday. Despite the mistakes, Buchanan was pleased to see that his team can compete with the league’s best.
“Last year they crushed us and the game was over five minutes in. This year we took them to the wire,” said Buchanan. “All we can do is work to improve on the turnovers and hope for a different outcome next time we meet.”
With Hazelton, a center, in foul trouble, St. Timothy’s trailed 19-15 at halftime. Hazelton returned to the lineup and scored six of St. Timothy’s eight third quarter points, but St. John’s held a 26-23 advantage heading into the final quarter.
“I knew they [St. Timothy’s] would be hungry and I told the girls we had to be just as hungry,” said Henry. “To get knocked around like we did helped bring that out of us. We’ve been able to maintain a certain level of play.”
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|St. John’s Catholic 34, St. Timothy’s School 32|
|St. John’s Catholic: B. Pierce 2, Rimel 2, Jones 10, M. Pierce 12, Greene 4, Barrientos 2, Hagan 2. Totals: 15 4-8 34.|
|St. Timothy’s: Bacon 4, Schuler 12, Hazelton 8, Hutchinson 8. Totals: 12 6-11 32.|
|Halftime: St. John’s Catholic 19, St. Timothy’s 15|