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St. Anthony’s seniors sacrificed individual totals for state title

St. Anthony's teammates after their 57-43 win over

St. Anthony's teammates after their 57-43 win over Monsignor Scanlan in the CHSAA varsity girls basketball Class AA state final at St. John Villa Academy in Staten Island on Saturday, March 12, 2016. Credit: James Escher

Taylor Goode would have had the ball more playing somewhere else. Etalyia Vogt would have had more assists. Sarah Edmond would have had more drives. Ally Murphy would have had more three-pointers. Jayla Jones-Pack would have had more points.

“Maybe I would have scored 50 points a game,” Jones-Pack said with a laugh when asked about playing at a school where she wouldn’t have shared the ball with four other seniors committed to Division I colleges. “But when I was in eighth grade, I saw myself playing at St. Anthony’s High School. I wanted to go to a program where it was very organized and where I had a future.”

A future at St. Anthony’s that ultimately included scholarships and state titles. Jones-Pack is headed to the University of Central Florida, Goode to Central Connecticut State, Vogt to Towson, Edmond to Howard and Murphy to Sacred Heart.

The Friars reclaimed state supremacy this season after defeating Monsignor Scanlon, 57-43, in the CHSAA state championship. So for the five seniors, who captured their second state title in three years, the sacrifices made on the court and in the boxscore certainly paid off.

“Winning,” Jones-Pack said, “makes everything worth it.”

With a plethora of offensive weapons, and with a different player becoming the first option on any given day, only two times this season did a Friar exceed 20 points in a game. Jones-Pack, a 6-4 center, was the only player on the team to average double digits in scoring at 12.2 points per game, an indication of the Friars’ selfless and balanced attack.

“They all bought in to playing hard defensively and sharing the ball offensively,” St. Anthony’s coach Ken Parham said. “They consistently played well, but once in a while, one of them would pop their head up a little bit over the others.”

Such as when Jones-Pack dominated the paint and scored 30 against St. Mary’s in the regular season. Or when Maia Moffitt, a junior guard who started with four seniors, tallied 25 points in the league final against St. Mary’s. Or when Vogt had 15 points to lead the Friars over perennial power Christ the King in the state semifinals.

“That was only the semifinals,” Jones-Pack said, “but it felt like the finals.”

Goode had a team-high 15 points in the state final. The Friars then fell to Long Island Lutheran, 41-40, in the Federation semifinals as Jones-Pack scored 13, meaning for each postseason game, St. Anthony’s had a different leading scorer.

“We have so many different players that can step up,” Moffitt said after the league final. “We all sacrificed in order to win.”

Sacrifice, though, wasn’t limited to the starters. Minutes were hard to come by for talented younger players who accepted reduced roles, just as the seniors did three years ago. Their opportunity will come next season. Moffitt will become more of a focal point. Jasmine White, a backup to Jones-Pack, will establish herself as a post presence. Lauren Hackett, a pass-first point guard, will be a key facilitator. Kayla Robinson, Sydney Taylor, Ashia Smith and Toni Kinard will make an immediate impact.

And they’ll all share the ball, and continue to sacrifice, just as their senior teammates did this season to win a state title.

“The five seniors going on to the next level will cherish their high school careers,” Parham said. “They left here with two state championships. And for the younger players, let’s try to do this again.”

FRIARS (24-4)

Road to the CHSAA championship

League championship

St. Mary’s, 79-51

State semifinal

Christ the King, 59-51

State championship

Monsignor Scanlan, 57-43

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