2000-02-19 / Sports

Lady Flippers Gave Sweat And Tears

By Maureen Gigliello

For the varsity basketball team of Stella Maris High School, the month
leading up to March Madness has been unofficially dubbed Frantic February. During a 17 day span, the Lady Flippers went 5-2, suffered through various key injuries/sicknesses, added two players to their 1000 point sorority and honored their graduating seniors.

February's first opponent was St. Joseph Hill Academy. SM's Kerry Feeney entered the game 27 points shy of the thousand mark. Feeney promptly put up 17 first half points as the Blue and Gold led 39-31 at the half. A 10-0 run, ignited by Maggie Allen's 3 straight baskets, placed the Flippers securely in front by 18. Feeney (pulled from the game at 25 points) and Alana Bell (19
points) were high scorers in the 68-53 win.

A 58-48 victory over Tottenville High School came next. At half, SM was down 35-29. Junior Jeanine Kenel (12 points) and Terri McElroy (6 points) had been the offensive catalysts thus far. With just three minutes left in the second
quarter Katie Raphael hit the floor hard injuring her right hand (x-rays
later proved negative). Both teams traded third quarter baskets. Then in the fourth, Stella's defense held the Pirates to just four points. A huge trey by Terri McElroy (14 points) and tremendous rebounding by Kenel (game high 19 points) and Senior Beth McGuinness secured the victory.

After sitting out the Tottenville game, Kerry Feeney still needed her two points for 1000. Next up was Bishop Kearney at home. Kerry's first
basket came just into the first quarter. The game was stopped, Kerry
received flowers, balloons and words of congratulations from SM's Principal, Ms. Geri Martinez, as the packed gym applauded her achievement.

Stella's good fortune would not last. Defensive and offensive lapses combined with Terri McElroy foul trouble and Katie Raphael's bandaged right hand (not to mention BK's torrid shooting) put the Flipper's in a 40-17 half time hole. Once again, the Flippers traded baskets with an opponent. For the fourth, however, the Flippers outscored the Tigers 22-10 but the damage had been done--70-59 final score. Feeney led the Flippers with 16 points, Bell (14), Kenel (10), Raphael (9) and T. McElroy (7) all chipped in. Kearney's Janelle McManus led all scorers with 21 points. SM's E. J. McElroy's seven- second half assists were definitely a positive glimpse into the future.

League play continued with a 66-36 victory over Mary Louis Academy. This game was the scene of Maggie Allen's regular season-ending ankle injury. Allen went down (and stayed down) late in the second quarter and was taken immediately to the hospital where x-rays showed no broken bones. Brighter news is that Katie Raphael's personal attack on 1000 points was now winding down. Raphael entered the game needing 15 and was pulled in the third just two short. Kerry Feeney, meanwhile, had suffered a black eye (elbow) and had limited playing time. Bell (11 points), McGuinness and Kenel took control of the boards throughout the game. The sisters McElroy (Terri-10 points and EJ-11 points) rounded out the Flipper scoring.

And finally, St. Valentines Day, another home league game and the next
addition to the Thousand Point Club. Katie Raphael, needing just two points, decided to add some drama and tension to her achievement. After 12 minutes of "around and outs", Katie thrilled the packed gym with a three point laser. Once again, play was halted. Katie received her flowers, balloons and congratulatory remarks as the fans applauded her milestone. That trey, along with Dawn Gallagher's driving lay-up and Alana Bell's buzzer blocked shot placed the Flippers within one (30-29) of Bishop Loughlin's star-studded lineup. Bell's 11 points had led the way but it had truly been an overall team effort. Every Blue and Golder contributed. Terri McElroy, pressed into pointguard duty, led the break the press offense. Beth McGuinness and Jeanine Kenel had phenomenal second quarters against two six-footers plus some. EJ McElroy continued her outstanding play this game. The Flippers were outscored 19-13 in the third as Loughlin's superior height advantage took control. SM was led by Bell (18), Raphael (11) and Feeney (8).

Flipper Footnotes: The JV season summary will appear next week. Also look for senior final home game highlights. The Lady flippers thank Ms. M., Dragon's Den, Dana's Pizzeria and the 29 deli for their team celebrations after the 1000. Congrats to Kerry and Katie. Ladies, the injured reserve and sick bay lists are now closed! Seniors, we hope you enjoyed yourselves yesterday.

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