Stella Maris Wins In Thriller CHSAA Championship
Stella Maris High School’s Varsity Basketball team traveled into Brooklyn Heights last Sunday, March 2nd to compete for the CHSAA Division II Diocesan Championship. Their opponent was Font Bonne Hall Academy. SM came away with a 64-60 victory in what most spectators described as a phenomenal game. FHA’s Bonnies had beaten the Lady Flippers twice during the regular season (by margins of 21 and 4) and placed first in league competition (11-1) to SM’s second place showing (10-2). For Stella Maris, the third time proved to be the charm. Both teams played hard throughout the 32-minute clock time (2 hour "real" time) marathon. Also, to both team’s credit, the ultimate victor was not crowned until 0:00 could be read on the game clock.
The first 2 minutes of the game saw SM down 6-0. With an offense a step out of sync, resulting in one outside shot per possession and very few offensive boards the Lady Flippers were struggling to stay afloat. The Blue and Gold managed to connect on 5 attempts; including treys by Natalie DeSanctis and Natalia Alexander as the quarter ended 18-12.
For the second quarter the teams, once again, traded baskets. Both squads netted 13-quarter points. MaryGrace Brady, Jen Anglero, Natalie DeSanctis and Nicole Santoro’s accounted for the Flippers scoring. Thus, the margin remained at 6 going into half time, 31-25.
Two factors of SM’s game plan were: (1) to sub freely in the first half and run and (2) to reach 65 total points. The third quarter ended with FHA outscoring SM 16-12 as they entered the fourth with the deficit now 10 at 47-37.However, two interior baskets by Jen Anglero near the end of the quarter proved pivotal.
And then the tide changed (for the first time). SM went on a small run to cut the lead to 7. FHA answered (as they would time and time again). Then SM cut the lead to 1 with a little over 3 minutes to go. With around 1:15 left in the fourth, Junior point guard Marybeth Raphael hit her trey. Stella Maris lead by 1 and the gym erupted even more. Chants of "Stella Maaaaaris" could be heard on Beach 112th street in the halls of SM. On their next possession, Freshman Natalia Alexander hit from the right corner for another SM three pointer. SM was up by 4 now with under a minute to play.
And then the march to the foul line began. SM’s two strongest foul shooters, Natalie DeSanctis and Jennifer Anglero would be the only two Lady Flippers to handle the ball the rest of the way. Freshman Jen Anglero had the honor of the next four possessions as she went 6 of 8 from the line. The final horn sounded and ten players, a coach and dozens of fans exulted in sheer, utter happiness!
Final score 64-60. No, the Lady Flippers never met their game goal of 65 points but the win It was a true test of the team’s mettle, indeed. Game scoring for the Flippers: Jen Anglero (23 pts, 9/11 free throw shooting in the fourth) and Natalia Alexander (14 pts, 1 trey, 2/2 free throw shooting in the fourth). Stella Maris shot 11 of 13 at the free throw line in the fourth. Clutch shooting, gritty performance and exhausted playersmade the Flippers the Champions!
Flipper Footnotes: thanks to so many fans for packing the gym. The energy definitely helped all of us. Thanks to Ms. M and Mrs. F for everything all season. Former standout point guard Terese Landano (‘98) was a welcomed and enthusiastic supporter. Team parents: what can we say besides a very humble and grateful thank you. Players: get the shovel out, we’re going digging!