48 turnovers doom Cathedral girls vs. St. Al

Published 12:04 am Wednesday, January 22, 2014

By Ernest Bowker

The Vicksburg Post

VICKSBURG — Cathedral couldn’t hold onto the ball, or the lead, Tuesday night.

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The Lady Wave committed 43 turnovers and went 8-for-27 from the free throw line, opening the door for archrival St. Aloysius to overcome a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter and steal a 50-45 victory.

“If you give them enough chances, something good usually comes out of it. They did a good job taking advantage of the turnovers,” Cathedral coach Randy Smith said. “St. Al put pressure on us, and the pressure and their fast breaking was the difference.”

Cathedral’s McKenzie Milligan reaches to block a shot taken by St. Aloysius player Grace Upshaw Tuesday night at the St. Al gymnasium. (Justin Sellers \ The Vicksburg Post)

Cathedral’s McKenzie Milligan reaches to block a shot taken by St. Aloysius player Grace Upshaw Tuesday night at the St. Al gymnasium. (Justin Sellers \ The Vicksburg Post)

Cathedral (9-8, 2-4 Division 7-1A) led 40-30 with just under seven minutes to play, but only made one field goal the rest of the way.

The turning point came when St. Al’s Claire Gamble hit a 3-pointer, then stole the inbounds pass and was fouled on a layup attempt. She hit both free throws to cut the 10-point deficit in half in a matter of seconds.

The quick spurt sparked a 20-5 game-ending run for St. Al (9-9, 3-3). The Lady Flashes got their first lead of the game on another basket by Gamble with 2:36 remaining and never trailed again.

Cathedral’s only points in the last three minutes came on a pair of free throws by McKenzie Mulligan with 1:25 to play.

“Once we start, we get on a roll and get going. We just have to get warmed up,” said Gamble, who scored all nine of her points in the fourth quarter and also had nine steals in the game. “That all happened at once, and then it kept happening.”

Grace Upshaw led St. Al with 13 points, seven rebounds and six steals. Michelle Howington and Avery Parman scored eight points apiece, and Parman also had seven rebounds and three blocked shots.

Mulligan led Cathedral in scoring with 13 points. Akua Kumi finished with 11 points and 14 rebounds, while Elizabeth Smith had 11 points and 12 rebounds.

St. Aloysius 58,

Cathedral boys 54

As soon as the whistle blew, Connor Smith said he knew he’d messed up. Luckily for the St. Aloysius junior, there was still time to redeem himself.

After getting called for a technical foul that allowed Cathedral to tie the game with less than two minutes left, Smith dished to Luke Eckstein for the go-ahead basket with 20 seconds remaining and scored the clincher with less than 10 to go as St. Al bested its archrival.

“After the technical, I knew I had to take it into my hands and redeem myself,” said Smith, who finished with 14 points.

Smith was called for the technical for pushing Cathedral’s Ishmael Blackmon after the two got tangled up. Alex Weadock hit both free throws to tie the game at 54, cap a 13-3 run by the Green Wave, and complete their comeback from a 10-point deficit with four minutes to play.

Cathedral, however, did not score again. It committed turnovers on its last three possessions after the technical, opening the door for St. Al to steal back the win.

After the teams exchanged turnovers, the Flashes worked the ball to Smith at the top of the key. He drove in and at the last second passed it to Eckstein, who laid it in for a 56-54 St. Al lead.

Cathedral (7-9, 4-2 Division 7-1A) turned it over on its ensuing possession. Smith got the ball and once again drove in, this time finishing it himself on the fast break to clinch it for the Flashes.

Eckstein finished with six points for St. Al (9-9, 5-1), Ben Welp had a game-high 26, and Matthew Foley scored 12. Jardarius Anderson and James Coley led Cathedral with 12 points apiece.

“They showed a lot of maturity at the end. They finished the game,” St. Al coach Delvin Thompson said. “They played big. Everybody played good all around.”