A 15-point deficit at halftime against St. John the Baptist is very difficult to overcome, especially with the Cougars’ pressure defense. St. Mary’s did it in an emphatic way. St. Mary’s outscored St. John the Baptist 43-23 in the second half to pull off a 68-63 win at home.
It was the first time St. Mary’s (7-4) beat St. John the Baptist (8-3) in the six-year tenure of coach Tom Flynn. It was impressive because of the comeback and because it appeared that SJB was starting to take off, especially after trailing most of the game against St. Anthony’s and Kellenberg in the past two weeks only to shut them down in the final few minutes to win.
“They have been shutting teams out in the last five minutes of games,” Flynn said. “We just turned it up and turned them over. We took the full-court pressure off and pressured them in the halfcourt. They were throwing it all over the place. They looked like they were shocked. It was our pressure defense. We did to them what they do to everybody else. To outscore Baptist 43-23 in a half is unheard of.”
It certainly is and it just shows how wide open the CHSAA playoffs will be.
St. Mary’s cut it to 40-30 in the third quarter before SJB went on a 9-0 run for a 49-30 lead. Jessica Mattone scored 10 of her 11 points during an 18-0 run to end the third quarter to bring St. Mary’s within 49-48. Sarah Kluth (12 points) had one of her 10 steals and fed Shannon Flynn for a layup giving St. Mary’s its first lead of the game at 54-53 with six minutes left in the game.
Flynn has 20 points, eight assists and seven steals and Maddy Jankowski scored 20.
“My kids can play,” Flynn said. “It’s all about senior leadership and we have great leadership with Shannon and Kluth. There aren’t a lot of seniors in this league. It’s a big win for St. Mary’s.”