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Alyssa James' quadruple-double helps put St. Mary's in CHSAA final

St. Mary's Alyssa James defends an inbounds pass

St. Mary's Alyssa James defends an inbounds pass during the second quarter. (March 1, 2013) Credit: James Escher

St. Mary's Alyssa James had a triple-double Friday night -- and that was before her point total was tallied. Add in her 10 points and James finished with a quadruple-double in St. Mary's 50-45 victory over Kellenberg in a CHSAA semifinal. The Gaels advance to the CHSAA championship game against St. Anthony's at 2 p.m. Sunday at LIU Post.James added 18 rebounds, 12 blocks and 10 steals to her 10 points to achieve the quad.

"That's cool. I've never had one of those," James, a senior, said. "At the end of the game I got some rebounds, got some steals, and we just kept on going and going. That stuff helps your team."

James led a St. Mary's defense that put on a relentless press and had active hands the entire game.

After leading by nine early, St. Mary's had its advantage slip away in the fourth quarter as Kellenberg took its first lead, 39-38, with 6:15 to play. After a basket by Charlotte Renker put the Gaels back out in front, James stepped in and set the tone for St. Mary's to close it out.

A James block led to a mid-range jumper by Jordan Agustus that gave the Gaels a three-point lead, and Jasmine Bryant's steal and fast-break lay-up made it 44-39 with 3:41 to go.

Kellenberg didn't get any closer.

"The game got pretty close so we knew we needed a quick basket so I just went for the ball and went in," Bryant said. "That's how I play, I like getting a lot of steals . . . and we had a lot more confidence after that."

St. Mary's led 26-17 at halftime, thanks to its aggressive defense and presence in the paint.

But Kellenberg charged back in the third quarter, cutting its deficit to 37-33 heading into the fourth. Candace Belvedere led the Firebirds with 12 of her 18 points in the second half, but the Gaels' size and quickness proved too much down the stretch.

Agustus had 16 points and 13 rebounds and Bryant finished with nine points and seven steals.

St. Mary's will make its first trip to the CHSAA championship game since winning the title in 1994.

"I never thought in my four years that I could win a championship at St. Mary's," James said. "And now we're close."

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