Published Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 12:01 am / Updated at 1:00 am
Lady Irish advance; St. Pat’s overtakes stubborn Maxwell team in second half

GOTHENBURG — The No. 3-ranked St. Pat’s Lady Irish held a slim lead over Maxwell at halftime, but the girls responded with a lengthy run in the third quarter at the D1-11 Subdistrict Tournament in Gothenburg on Tuesday.

Leading by just one heading into the locker room at the break, the Lady Irish outscored Maxwell 33-19 in the second half to move on to the finals with a 59-44 win over the Lady Wildcats.

The teams traded leads to begin the third quarter. Then with 5 minutes left in the frame, the Lady Irish went on a 14-2 run to lead 45-32.

Anna O’Malley started the run with a pair of baskets. Brittany Lawrence got in the mix as she scored six points down low and sophomore Peyton Irish knocked down a trey from the right corner.

"That all starts on the defensive end for us," said assistant coach Brad Braithwait of the run. "If we get stops defensively, we play better offensively."

St. Pat’s outscored the Lady Wildcats 23-11 in the third quarter to take a 49-36 lead into the final period.

Maxwell closed to within eight, 50-42, at the 5:06 mark of the fourth quarter, but Irish hit her third 3 of the game to squelch the Lady Wildcats comeback attempt. Maxwell was only able to connect on 2-of-6 charity tosses in the final 3 minutes, halting any momentum.

Irish and Lawrence each scored a game-high 20 points to lead the Lady Irish. Irish’s total was a new personal best.

"It was a big role on my part, but I liked the way my teammates stepped up and helped me out," Irish said. "They were good leaders on the court for me.

"They’re the ones that made me look good."

Braithwait said Irish responded when her team most needed her.

"We tell our girls to be ready when your number is called and it was her night," the coach said. "We needed her to step up and knock down shots.

"One thing she is really good at is she can shoot the ball. She shot the ball with confidence and she passed the ball really well. She was the difference in the game tonight."

Maxwell came out on a mission in the opening quarter. The Lady Wildcats’ hustle picked up the majority of the loose balls and 6 foot, 1 inch center Josie Cox scored eight points in leading her team to a 14-11 first-quarter lead.

"We came ready to play," said Maxwell coach Mitchel Armour. "St. Pat’s is a great team and it was tough to hang with them the whole game.

"I thought our girls did a great job sticking with them the first half. St. Pat’s was just able to overcome what we were doing."

Braithwait agreed with Armour.

"Maxwell came out and had way more energy than we did. We let our struggles offensively impact the way we played defensively," said Braithwait.

"We didn’t contain the ball very well and let them get in the paint quite a bit. When you allow teams to get the ball in the middle of the lane, you’re going to struggle defensively."

Maxwell had three in double figures. Cox led the Lady Wildcats with 12 points. Rachel Stubbs had 11 points and Tracy Blake added 10.

St. Pat’s (20-3) 11 13 23 10 — 59
Maxwell (11-11) 14 11 11 8 — 44

ST. PAT’S: Anna O’Malley 13, Erin Nozicka 2, Tony Caudillo 4, Peyton Irish 20, Brittany Lawrence 20.
MAXWELL: Rachel Stubbs 11, Anna Crane 2, Bailee Keller 8, Josie Cox 12, Tracy Blake 10.

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