by Tom Utescher
Last week, Mount St. Joseph Academy hoisted itself to the top of the standings in the Lou Cappiella Summer Basketball League, defeating two title contenders on back-to-back nights.
On Wednesday the Magic handed St. Hubert’s its first loss of the warm- weather campaign in a 39-33 overtime battle. In another overtime game involving Hubert’s earlier in the season, the Bambies had knocked off Neumann Goretti, and that setback stood as the Saints’ lone loss until last Thursday, when they went down hard to Mount St. Joe, 50-22.
Now 7-1 with a head-to-head win over St. Hubert’s, the Magic need only prevail in this week’s regular-season finale against Pope John Paul II in order to clinch the top seed for the league playoffs in August.
St. Hubert’s played without its talented starting point guard on Wednesday, while the Mount was missing three of its top players. The Magic could have built up a significant early lead if they hadn’t missed lay-up after lay-up. They found themselves down 16-11 with five minutes left in the first period, but a drive by sophomore Regan Gallagher and two three-pointers by senior Bridget Higgins had them in ahead by halftime, 19-18.
In the second frame, more inside offense from Gallagher helped keep the Mount in front, but with the count at 30-27, the Bambies drew fouls on two successful lay-ups and made both free throws to lead 33-30 with three minutes to go. The Magic came up empty on a two-shot foul and the front end of a one-and-one as the game progressed into the final minute.
Sophomore Carly Monzo had struggled with her outside shooting during the game, but she made a three-point field goal when it mattered most, tying the bout at 33-all with 38 seconds left. Gallagher blocked a Hubert’s shot in the paint and the teams entered a three-minute overtime period.
Neither scored a field goal, and the Bambies did not score at all.
MSJ sophomore Gen Hagedorn calmly went four-for-four at the foul line and Monzo added a pair of free throws for a 39-33 final. They finished with five and nine points, respectively, while the Mount received 13 points from Higgins, eight from Gallagher, and two each from junior Adrienne Cellucci and sophomore Julia Shinkle.
Hagedorn’s prowess at the foul line carried over to the following night, when she went four-for-four in the first half against Neumann Goretti. The game began with a jumper by the Saints, but after the Magic missed their first six field goal attempts, they took over the game.
Gallagher was unable to attend, but junior Rachel Dapper stepped up with a nine-point performance. Monzo would finish with 12 points and Higgins with 10, but the key in this contest was offensive balance, as seven different Mounties scored in the first half.
With 6:39 to go in the first frame the Saints called time-out to discuss a 20-8 shortfall, but the peptalk seemed to have little effect as Mount St. Joe progressed to a 29-9 halftime advantage. Hagedorn (six points) and Cellucci (five) did all of their scoring before the intermission, while most of Monzo’s output came in the second half.
Down 42-11 with 10 minutes left to play, the Saints stuck a three-ball which proved to be the start of a little 8-0 spurt, but they never got the gap under 20 points, and the Mount ultimately won by 28. Sophomore Colleen Steinmetz and freshman Mary Kate Ulasewicz contributed four points apiece for the winners.
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