Rebounding, second shots lift Adams Christian over Trinity

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 1, 2006

COLUMBIA &8212; Mattie Geoghegan didn&8217;t want to get off the floor.

And if you took a poll of players and coaches for Adams Christian, she likely wasn&8217;t alone.

But the dominant inside presence for the Lady Rebels was whistled for her fifth foul just over two minutes into the fourth quarter, and the results could have been disasterous. But while she watched from the bench, her teammates picked up the slack maintained an inside presence against Trinity Episcopal.

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Adams Christian got second and third chances at the basket, held Trinity to just one and came away with a hard-fought 49-37 win at the Class AA South State tournament.

For the second straight season the Lady Rebels will play for a South State title today when they face Columbia at 2:15 p.m. Trinity will go in the consolation against Bowling Green at 1 p.m.

&8220;Our kids played well enough to keep things going,&8221; Adams head coach John R. Gray said. &8220;They did a good job of rebounding and taking care of the ball inside. Ariana DeLaSalle especially. Mattie did a good job as long as she was with us, but when we lost her DeLaSalle started taking over rebounding.&8221;

The Lady Rebels used everyone they could down low following Geoghegan&8217;s departure, and DeLaSalle, Katie Ann Swinny, Meghan Austin and even Brittany Gamberi came up with rebounds under the basket to keep things going.

Trinity sank several shots from the outside, including seven 3-pointers, but didn&8217;t get second chances at the basket on misses.

&8220;We put Meghan down there,&8221; said Swinny, who also hit shots from the outside to finish with 14 points. &8220;She&8217;s real familiar with the plays. We gutted it out and wanted it so bad. We just wanted to play as hard as we could. That&8217;s our strongpoint &8212; our defense. Brittany and I weren&8217;t confident in our shots tonight at all. We had an off night, and you have those nights.&8221;

The Lady Rebels switched to a man-to-man in the second half and did a better job defensively. Trinity made only three shots inside 3-point land and missed some shots just around the basket at various points during the game.

Eliza Jones&8217; basket at the 5:11 mark trimmed the deficit to 37-28, but the Lady Saints never again got it within single digits.

&8220;We knew going in that would be a major concern,&8221; Trinity assistant Howard Jones said. &8220;We knew we would have to rebound against them. We just didn&8217;t do a real good job on the boards. They&8217;re so big and athletic. I think we can block out a lot better. It doesn&8217;t really matter how big somebody is if you block them out properly.&8221;

The Lady Rebels&8217; defense also kicked in during the second half after Trinity hit a couple 3-pointers to get back into the game. Mallory Archer knocked down a 3-pointer at the 2:53 mark in the third that cut the lead to 32-26 after AC went into halftime holding a 27-16 lead.

DeLaSalle hit a bucket after that, and the Lady Rebels kept Trinity from scoring the rest of the quarter. The Lady Saints didn&8217;t score again until after Geoghegan fouled out &8212; a span of more than five minutes.

Archer finished 12 points.

&8220;They hit a lot of 3&8217;s at the end, but we weren&8217;t going to let it go,&8221; Swinny said. &8220;We knew they had a good outside shot. Our inside was stronger, and we just tried to work around that.&8221;

About the only time Adams struggled with its defense was at the start when Gray opened with a combination zone/man &8212; man-to-man on Archer and Jones and a zone defense on everyone else.

But he called that off as soon as Brandy Hall hit her second 3-pointer midway through the second quarter to cut the deficit to 18-14.

&8220;Our thing was do the things we can do well,&8221; Trinity head coach Melanie Hall said. &8220;That was our game plan, and we would have to block out and control the boards. We never stopped fighting. We just didn&8217;t execute. Every time we made a mistake, not only did they get a possession, they scored.&8221;

The Lady Saints played well defensively over the course of the game as well but couldn&8217;t make AC pay for some of their mistakes. Swinny was the only one who really hit shots from the outside, while Gamberi had most of her game-high 15 points from the free-throw line.

Gamberi hit all six free throws in the fourth quarter, including a three-point play at the 2:05 mark when the Lady Rebels scored on a trick play on an in-bounds play after a timeout.

&8220;I&8217;m proud of the kids &8212; they fought hard,&8221; Gray said. &8220;I thought we played real well defensively. Offensively, nobody I thought played real well, but I&8217;m proud enough they were able to do it.&8221;

Brandy Hall led the Lady Saints with 14 points. DeLaSalle finished with 11.