A swarming Mary Louis Academy defense dominated the Hilltoppers semifinal matchup against the Albertus Magnus girls basketball team in the 14th annual Slam Dunk Tournament at the Westchester County Center in White Plains.
With the 65-50 victory, Mary Louis moves on to play Alexander Hamilton in the finals on Thursday, while the Falcons (4-3) will play Hackley High School in the consolation game.
The Hilltoppers used constant pressure to force 21 turnovers by Albertus, leading to 25 points for Mary Louis.
“They’re an athletic team and gave us a lot of trouble,” said Albertus Magnus Head Coach Pat Buckley. “We weren’t scoring and had to change something up, so we tried to up the pace of the game, and it didn’t really work. We put too much pressure on Ryan Doherty to bring the ball up court every time and should’ve given her more help.”
But even when the Falcons got the ball passed the half court line, things didn’t get any easier. The Falcons shot 23.6 percent, going 13-55 from the field. They went 6-29 (20.7 percent) from three-point range.
“We took a lot of threes,” Buckley said. “We shouldn’t have taken that many.”
The Hilltoppers shot just six threes, hitting one. They went 25-61 (41 percent) from the field. Mary Louis not only dominated defensively, but guard Simone Hobdy constantly attacked the Falcon defense by driving into the paint. The junior had game-highs with 20 points and 11 rebounds, making her the only player with a double-double for either team. Her five offensive rebounds were also a game high.
“They were able to do whatever they wanted,” Buckley said.
The Falcons also didn’t have anyone who could hang with Mary Louis’ Kate Goldman down low. The Hilltoppers’ 5-foot-11 center muscled her way away the basket for 16 points on 8-of-11 shooting.
“We just couldn’t stop [her],” Buckley said.
Kadijah Dickson did a bit of everything for Mary Louis, scoring eight to go with her seven rebounds, five steals and two blocks.
The Falcons scoring came in bunches. With 2:22 to go in the first quarter, Albertus trailed 13-3, but went on an 8-0 run to close out the quarter. The Falcons tied the game on a Maeve Parahus layup on the opening possession of the second quarter and took the lead when Carly Clinton hit two free throws to put the Falcons up 15-13. Two free throws by Doherty put the Falcons within one with three minutes to go in the half, but the Hilltoppers went on a run to hold a 28-21 lead at the half.
The Falcons didn’t score for the first four-and-a-half-plus minutes in the third as Mary Louis pulled away. The Hilltoppers scored the quarter’s first nine points to go up 37-21 when Parahus hit two free throws to break the scoreless streak with 3:17 remaining in the quarter.
Doherty led the way for the Falcons, scoring 15 and pulling down seven rebounds. Parahus was the only other Albertus player in double figures, scoring 11, six of which came from the free throw line. The Falcons star forward struggled shooting on Wednesday, making two of 12 from the field, including one of nine from 3-point range.
Madison McGrath added in seven points for the Falcons and Meghan Reilly had a team-high two steals.