St. Anthony’s is in firm grasp of the CHSAA league title after defeating host St. John the Baptist, 49-43, tonight. It’s the second time the Friars beat the Cougars this season and it was their 12th consecutive win. The Friars are 7-0 in league play, while every other team has at least three losses.
The teams also met on Dec. 14 and the Friars, won 52-39 after holding a 38-15 halftime lead. This time it was 26-21 at the half and the Friars led 36-35 after three quarters. Kerrin Maurer hit a turn around jumper in the lane with 1:37 left to give the Friars a 45-40 lead Rebecca Musgrove scored with 54 seconds left to make it 47-42.
“It was a lot more difficult,” Maurer said. “We knew they would come out harder since we got the win last time. We played cool and pulled out the win.”
Maurer had 15 points, five assists, five rebounds, and three steals. She added three three-pointers. Symone Kelly had 13 points and nine rebounds and Lauren Williams added 13 points. The Friars (12-1, 7-0) have several weapons on offense and no one dominates the ball. Six players average in double figues.
“I don’t even know who’s going to score on a daily basis,” St. Anthony’s coach Ken Parham said. “We knew we would have a tough game here. We’re always happy to win, but it’s very early.”
St. John the Baptist (10-4, 5-3) certainly feels that way. The Cougars had aspirations of competing for a CHSAA AA state championship and right now there’s no guarantee they even make the AA. The top two teams in the regular season go to Class AA and the third place team goes to Class A.
The next game between Holy Trinity and St. John the Baptist will likely determine second place. Holy Trinity beat SJB on Friday, 59-54.
Is Oberg worried?
“Not at all,” he said. “We beat ourselves. We just make bonehead plays and that’s the different. Give them St. Anthony’s credit because they are playing well. They played well enough to win, but they crawled to the finish line themselves. I think that first game was an aberration. We’re not totally happy where we’re at, but we’ll get where we need to be in February and March.”
Illinois-bound Alexis Smith had just three points and fouled out with 2:21 left. Anastasia Williams, who has played very well lately, picked up two fouls in the first three minutes and sat the rest of the first half. Kamala Thompson scored 16 points and Brianna Thomas added 12.
The Cougars offense has struggled against the better teams.
“We don't move the ball,” SJB assistant coach Joe Gagliardi said. “We back up instead of attacking the pressure. We're behind the curve in where we want to be as a team at this point of the season. To lose a close game to them isn't the end of the world. We'll be better. It's a tough to beat a team three times.”
Added Oberg: “I’m not going to make excuses for us. They need to go out and prove that they represent the tradition we have here. We have to get the kinks out of the system. We're schizophrenic right now.”