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St. Mary’s girls basketball team evens the score against Cathedral, 52-33


LYNN — After being stunned by Cathedral on Dec. 14, it was safe to say the St. Mary’s girls basketball team had Friday night’s meeting with the Panthers circled on the calendar.

And for a little while, it looked like the Panthers might be in position to deliver a second loss to the defending D3 champs. But after getting down 21-19 early in the third quarter, the Spartans responded like the champs they are with a devastating 18-0 run that led the way to a 52-33 win.

“We knew that this game was important because we had to get them back for the last time,” St. Mary’s senior Kellyn Preira said.

Preira led all scorers in the game with 16 points as the Spartans overcame three starters in foul trouble heading into the second half.

Cathedral High's Hijjah Allen-Paisley has her shot defended by St. Mary's player Bella Owumi on Friday night in Lynn. (Photo By Jim Mahoney/Medianews Group/Boston Herald)
Cathedral High’s Hijjah Allen-Paisley has her shot defended by St. Mary’s player Bella Owumi on Friday night in Lynn. (Photo By Jim Mahoney/Medianews Group/Boston Herald)

After Cathedral’s Hijjah Allen-Paisley (15 points) and Jasmine Day-Cox scored back-to-back hoops to give the Panthers a 21-19 lead, Reese Matela scored to tie the game and spark a game-changing run.

Preira buried her third triple of the game before Yirsy Queliz got her first hoop of the night to make it 27-21. The Panthers called timeout to try and stop the momentum but it was to no avail as St. Mary’s tenacious defense stifled them at every turn.

By the time Queliz buried a long-range shot from the right wing as time ran out in the third, the Spartans had turned their 21-19 deficit into a 37-21 lead after three. From there the Spartans’ lead never got lower than 14.

“We came out on fire but I felt fortunate that we had the lead at halftime with all the foul trouble we had,” St. Mary’s coach Jeff Newhall said. “In that third quarter we were able to get people where we needed them to be and the score and pace began to wear them down.”

The margin as the end belied how close and tightly fought the first 16 minutes were as Preira scored seven early points to lead St. Mary’s to a quick 9-0 lead. Cathedral cut the deficit to 9-7 after one before the Spartans ballooned the lead back to nine thanks to a 7-2 spurt keyed by Matela’s inside play.

Cathedral didn’t go away though as it responded with a 7-3 run to close the half down 19-16.

“Reese and Kellyn really kept us in the game in the first half,” Newhall said.


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