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Valiant St. Mary's loses close call in CHSAA Class A semi

For much of the first half Saturdayit was the Shannon Flynn show for St. Mary's and it was working. Then the St. Mary's offense went into hibernation for 12 minutes and an 11-point lead turned into a deficit.

The Gaels came alive in the fourth quarter, but St. Mary's rally came up short in a 51-48 loss to Buffalo Sacred Heart in a state CHSAA Class A girls basketball semifinal at St. Dominic.

Buffalo Sacred Heart (22-4) will play St. Anthony's in the final at 3 p.m. Sundayat Cardinal Spellman.

Flynn had 25 points, seven steals and five assists, Jessica Mattone had nine of her 11 points in the fourth quarter and Sara Kluth added 10 rebounds for St. Mary's (18-9).

After trailing by as many as nine in the fourth quarter, Flynn fed Mattone for a three-pointer with 23 seconds remaining to give the Gaels a 48-47 lead. Katie Healy hit two free throws with 15 seconds left to give Sacred Heart a 49-48 lead.

Nelia Collins missed a driving layup with nine seconds left for the Gaels and Healy hit two free throws with six seconds left to make it 51-48. Maddie Jankowski's desperation three-pointer just inside halfcourt came up short as time expired.

"We were clearing the court out and letting [Collins] get to the basket," St. Mary's coach Tom Flynn said. "They just called a foul down there on us [on Sacred Heart's next possession]. I said get to the basket. They'll call a foul. We had a shot to win the game."

Said Shannon Flynn, Tom's daughter: "I thought [Collins] was going to get fouled. She did everything she was supposed to. It just didn't go in and we didn't get the rebound."

Shannon Flynn, playing with a sprained right ankle, scored 14 first-quarter points and Collins had five to give the Gaels a 19-11 lead. Flynn sank a three-pointer with 4:34 left in the first half to push the lead to 26-15, but St. Mary's didn't score the rest of the half and a 10-0 run by Sacred Heart cut the lead to 26-25.

After Sacred Heart tied the score early in the third quarter, Flynn hit a three-pointer to give the Gaels a 31-28 lead before Sarah Pawlak (19 points) scored five consecutive points as Sacred Heart went on a 22-5 run spanning the second and third quarters.

St. Mary's shoots a lot of three-pointers and after knocking down four in the first half, it had two in the second half. The Gaels hit at least seven three-pointers in six consecutive games and made six Saturday.

"The first half we shot from the outside," Shannon Flynn said. "In the second half they were out on us and we had to dish the ball inside and try to get shots like that. Their defensive pressure was very good."

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