By Rob Potter
MONTICELLO January 23, 2004 A third quarter scoring surge on Wednesday night carried the John S. Burke Catholic School Lady Eagles to a non-league victory over the host Monticello Lady Panthers.
Heading into the locker room at halftime, Burke held a slim 13-12 lead. But the Lady Eagles were a different team when they took the court for the third period.
Utilizing an aggressive 2-2-1 press defense and displaying accurate outside shooting, Burke (6-4) outscored Monticello (2-6) by a 19-2 margin in those key eight minutes of play. Lady Eagle guard Rachel Clark hit a pair of three-point shots in the quarter as Burke began to pull away.
With 5:17 remaining, Monticellos Liila Mack scored inside the lane to cut the Burke lead to 19-14. But those were the only points the Lady Panthers scored in the quarter.
As the fourth quarter began, Burke enjoyed a 32-14 lead. And the team wasted little time in adding to that advantage. Clark connected on two more three-point shots in the first three minutes of the period to boost the Lady Eagle lead to 40-14.
A foul shot by Mack, two free throws by Ciara Hinton and a basket by Nicole Christopher were the only points Monticello scored in those final eight minutes.
Our shooting was definitely better in the second half, Burke Coach Bob Turner said. The girls just relaxed a bit and got into a rhythm on offense. Rachel Clark hit some big threes to get us going.
With Monticello not shooting well, they werent able to set up their press after made baskets, which helped us, Turner added.
Clark scored a game-high 12 points, all of which came on her four three-point baskets. Teammates Zelina Jones and Jaimie McFarlin added 11 and eight points, respectively.
Monticello was led by Mack, who recorded six points, 12 rebounds and seven steals. Ashley Bloom and Brittney Morse each scored three points. Victoria Carter grabbed six rebounds and made three steals for the Lady Panthers.
We started off well on offense, Monticello Coach Karen Atack said. But then they started pressing us their 2-2-1 press really affected us. We just couldnt buy a basket.
Despite the lopsided loss, Atack focused on the positive aspects of the contest.
Burke is a very good team and we were only down 13-12 at halftime, thats something, Atack said. These ladies didnt quit and they worked hard. Theyve worked hard all season.
Atack was also looking forward to welcoming a player back to the squad. Just before this season began, Bagina McCline, who had been a member of the 2002-2003 Lady Panther team, moved out of the Monticello school district. But McCline recently moved back into the district.
Atack said that McCline should be in uniform next week. The veteran coach added that McCline gives her team another player who can play the forward or center positions and help Mack with the scoring and rebounding duties under the boards.