2006-03-10 / Sports

Lady Flippers Bring Home Title

By Elio Velez

Stella Maris' Alexa Rosella (30) fights for the loose ball with St. Saviour's Nancy Olisma (33). Photo By Pete Borriello. Stella Maris' Alexa Rosella (30) fights for the loose ball with St. Saviour's Nancy Olisma (33). Photo By Pete Borriello. As one of seven seniors on the Stella Maris basketball team, Caroline Weeks has been through enough playoff games to realize the situation the Lady Flippers were in.

St. Saviour was not going away in the fourth quarter of the Division II championship game at Bishop Ford last Sunday. Stella Maris was holding on to a 58-52 fourth lead with 3 minutes left and the opposition was making a big run.

Weeks though has seen this before and instead of panicking, she remained

calm and smoothly hit a top of the key

jumper with 2:52 left to up the lead to eight. The guard completed her impact off the bench with 17 points as Stella Maris recaptured the Division II CHSAA city championship in a 68-56 win.

Their victory secures a long bus ride up to Buffalo for the Catholic State Class C semifinals against Holy Angels at 12 noon. If Stella Maris emerges the victors, they will return to St. John's on March 19 at 11 a.m. for the Class C state championship games. Stella Maris' camaraderie and teamwork were the big factors that gave them the winning edge according to Weeks.

"We played like a team and did what we had to do. We're like a family and we connect so well and I honestly think most teams don't have the connection that we have."

Head coach Maureen Gigleillo has seen Weeks step up big in last year's playoff semifinal win over St. Edmund. Though they eventually lost to Bishop Ford in the finals, Gigliello knew who to put in when senior forward Erin Casey got into foul trouble early in the third quarter.

"She's very quick and athletic. We knew they weren't going to catch her. I just asked her to get us five layups and she said ok and she delivered," Gigliello said.

The Lady Flippers received a stern challenge from their opponents especially from sophomore Faimle Kingsley, who was tough in the paint with 22 points and Breezy Point native Rosemary Burke, who chipped in with 17 points.

Kingsley, an athletic and energetic player was a big problem for the Stella Maris defense. A championship could have slipped away from their hands but Gigliello says she made a late adjustment on defense by trying to get Kinglsey further away from the basket.

By limiting Kingsley, Stella Maris' all time leading scorer and senior Jennifer Anglero and Alexa Rosella could dominate inside the post with their size. It was especially important in the last three minutes in grabbing big rebounds and getting fastbreak points, which extended their narrow lead according to Gigliello.

"I knew that when they got here that they were playing well. #32 (Kingsley) is phenomenal. "I told them to run. Offensively we got stagnant and we haven't done that in three weeks. Just don't stop."

One minute later, the lead was increased to 12 points and the Flippers were getting ready to jump off the bench and celebrate.

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