Symone Kelly has displayed periods of domination and other times in the previous month, she has had issues with her conditioning. Kelly was one of four St. Anthony's girls basketball players involved in a car accident in late January and she missed almost three weeks.
Kelly has a bulging disc in her back, but she has been able to overcome it. Kelly had 12 points and 14 rebounds to lead St. Anthony's over Staten Island's St. John Villa, 47-35, Friday night in a state CHSAA Class A first-round game at St. Anthony's. The Friars (21-6) will play Nardin (Buffalo) at 5:45 p.m. Friday at St. Dominic in a quarterfinal.
"I'm stronger than ever," Kelly said. "I've been in the weight room and done a lot of running. It has been a difficult year for the whole team with injuries, but it has made us better."
Said St. Anthony's coach Ken Parham: "She's back to where she was earlier in the season. She's rounding into form at the right time. She missed almost three weeks and she did nothing in that time. It was a matter of getting her stamina back."
The Friars have had nine girls out of 12 players on the roster to miss at least one game this season because of injury. They even won a game with just six players.
St. Anthony's had good efforts from several players: Micki Impellizeri had eight points and 15 rebounds, and Mimi Lizza and Maggie Bill each scored eight points.
"We don't have that one superstar," Impellizeri said. "Everyone on the team can score. We spread it around real good."
The Friars' offense wasn't clicking early, but the defense and rebounding, especially on the offensive side, helped the Friars build a lead.
St. Anthony's led 22-13 at halftime and opened the second half with a 10-4 run. Four different Friars scored during the spurt and it was capped by a three-point play by Jo Impellizeri with 2:46 left in the third period to make it 32-17.
Katie Nikosey (16 points) scored five consecutive points to bring St. John Villa within 32-22. Lizza closed the quarter with her second three-pointer in the stanza to extend the Friars' lead to 35-22. Kelly opened the fourth quarter with four consecutive points to give the Friars a 39-22 lead. St. John Villa (9-19) got as close as 11 points in the final minute.
"We really focus on rebounding and defense," Parham said. "Maybe we focus on those things too much sometimes because our offense isn't clicking on all cylinders at times."