2010-02-12 / Sports

Winning Lady Flippers Display Fighting Spirit

Stella Maris coach Maureen Gigliello (pictured middle) diagrams a play for her team during a timeout. Photo by Will Thomas. Stella Maris coach Maureen Gigliello (pictured middle) diagrams a play for her team during a timeout. Photo by Will Thomas. The Stella Maris Lady Flippers basketball team continued its end-of-season hot streak with two more victories. The first over Catherine McAuley and the most recent over St. John’s Prep. The Lady Flippers are on a three game winning streak and have notched four victories in their last five league games.

In Stella Maris’ game versus McAuley (50-18), frosh Stephanie Hahn held high scoring opponent Jasmine Wynder to 12 points (far short of her near 20 points per game).

The rebounding effort was spearheaded by senior Dionisia Riviere. The game also marked the return (from the injured reserve list) of senior Chelsea Flores, who has rehabbing from a broken leg.

She has been missed on both the offensive attack (strong post and a shooter’s eye from three point land) as well as in the defensive game plan. Her return, adds even more depth at the 4 and 5 positions for SM. Junior Alison McGovern continued her strong season in the post.

And then came the rematch with CHSAA Division II division leading St. John’s Prep. Back in December, the Lady Flippers had shown their inexperience and a lack of complete focus as they absorbed their worse loss of the season (64-32).

What a difference two months can make. As the season has progressed, the Flippers have found their team core, focus and a willingness and drive to compete for every possession. For those of you who ponder why these girls are involved in athletics, you only needed to be present in Stella Maris’ gym last Monay to have that answer.

With their season and Stella Maris High School’s basketball days coming to an abrupt ending shortly, the 2010 Blue and Gold team had themselves one heck of a night! They went toe-to-toe with their opponent and then blazed ahead in a thrilling 73-61 victory.

Down 13-3 to start the game some may have been thinking uh-oh, same stuff, different day. But not for the 13 players on SM’s team. KerryClare Gleason started the team off with 2 three’s. Ashley Raaf added another and baskets by Jen Miller and frosh Erin Blum with converted free throws by sophomore Jaci Clyde and junior Shannon O’Connor ended the first quarter with SJP up but only at 21-16.

And then the proverbial floodgates opened. The Colleen Dwyer Flesor scoreboard gave a wink and the ghosts of players past (which all SM alum agree match up with Yankee stadium’ ghosts!) hopped on their younger counterparts’ back and carried them along in what is surely one of the most perfect quarters played in 66 years of tradition and championships. Stella went on a 19-0 run. The burst was from inside and out.

Jen Miller (6 points), Jen “The Enforcer” Boyle (4 points) and Alison McGovern took control of the boards and the paint. Ashley Raaf (another trey), Erin Blum (5 points, one trey) and frosh Regina Paskoff combined for a 24-8 thing of beauty. The offense was one thing, but the defense was amazing.

The Blum/Paskoff freshmen tandem held their senior star opponents (Hathorne and Christodoulou) to a total of ZERO points in the quarter. The onslaught set the tone for the second half and gave the Flippers what they had been searching for: team confidence. Halftime score: 40-29.

SJP came out hard in the third and cut the lead to 40-35. But hot-shooting guards Erin Blum (her second three), Kerry Gleason and Ashley Raaf( her third three) answered the bell as the Flippers weathered that storm and ended the third 54-43.

The fourth ended 19-18 in SM’s favor but baskets was not traded. Each team had their spurts. The Red Storm took their shot first; starting off strong on an 8-0 run that cut the lead to 54-51 with 6:03 remaining.

A SJP timeout put the Flippers in a huddle for the first time since the start of the quarter. The discussion in the huddle went along the lines that the next minute and then the following 2 minutes would decide the game.

The ladies took that info and went on their own 11- 0 run and with 3 minutes to go, Stella Maris was up 65-51. Eight of those points were scored by Jaci Clyde. With SJP overplaying Ashley Raaf, the point guard position was given to Clyde and Raaf moved to shooting guard. Clude responded with 4 drives right down the middle for baskets that seemed to take the air out of another SJP comeback.

Stella was led by Raaf (18 points) followed by Miller (11), Blum (10), Clyde (10), Gleason (8), Boyle (8) and Paskoff, Alison McGovern, Shannon O’Connor (each 2). SM hit seven 3-pointers in the game.

Flipper Footnotes; snow has ravaged remaining league schedule. Stella Maris High School’s final home game (after 66 years) was lost to snow on Wednesday. That game (vs St. Agnes) will be played on Saturday (2/13) at 1:15 but without a ceremony.

The ceremony has been changed to Monday, February 22 at 2:50. SM cheerleaders and the Varsity basketball team will honor all team members for years of hard work and dedication to Stella. And then the graduating seniors will be given their well-earned accolades for 4 years of pride! SM is also slated to play St. Edmund (at SE) on Thursday. Snow has the status of the game in question as of this printing. If snowed out the game will be played this Friday, February, 12 at St. Edmund at 4:30 p.m.

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