Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

GIRLS BASKETBALL STATE TOURNAMENT ; St. Joseph Gets Shot at Record Title

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

GIRLS BASKETBALL STATE TOURNAMENT ; St. Joseph Gets Shot at Record Title

Article excerpt

Class A semifinals St. Joseph 47 St. Marys 43

St. Joseph's date with the ghost of Northfork and all those impressive streaks? They had to wait Friday night while the Irish were taken to the limit by St. Marys. Tyesha Taylor scored eight of her 17 points in the final quarter as the top-seeded Irish averted an upset by holding off the Blue Devils 47-43 in the Class A semifinals at the Charleston Civic Center.

The win sends St. Joseph (21-3) into Saturday's championship game at 2:30 p.m. against Gilmer County as the program seeks its eighth straight state title, which would match the record set by the Northfork boys in Class AA (1974-81).

St. Marys (23-4), the No. 4 seed, looked like just another mile marker on the Irish's road to history, falling behind 37-20 with about 5 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter Friday night. But a turnaround bordering on the miraculous resulted in a 21-2 run that gave the Blue Devils a 41-39 lead on two Jordan Fox free throws with 5:07 left in the game.

"Our kids were scared to death," said St. Joe coach Shannon Lewis. "They're not playing with energy and the pressure gets to you up here, especially with two freshmen and a sophomore out there. Our three older kids, I felt, weren't so afraid, so that's who we went to.

"We couldn't throw the ball in the basket the whole second half and finally I just said, Let's get the ball to Tyesha and let her do some work,' and she made some plays."

Taylor, who had eight of her team's 10 points in the final period, put the Irish back in front with one free throw and a low- post move for a 42-41 lead. Fox hit a pull-up jumper to put St. Marys back up 43-42, but Taylor put her team in front for good with another post-up goal at the 1:47 mark.

"I knew they were going to give me the ball," Taylor said, "so just [wanted] to finish my shots."

Right after that basket by Taylor, St. Marys was whistled for one of its 21 turnovers when Ashley Hall dropped the ball, and nothing went right for the Devils afterward. …

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