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Panthers overwhelm St. Elizabeth’s 91-70

By Tim Haran Daily Planet Correspondent
Saturday February 10, 2001

St. Mary’s started sluggishly for the second week in a row, but another dominant second half sealed the Panthers’ 91-70 victory over St. Elizabeth’s (Oakland) on Friday night.  

Early on, the Bay Shore Athletic League-leading Panthers were down by a bucket at the end of the first quarter and led by just six at the half before going on a tear that saw them outscore St. Elizabeth’s 49-34 after the break. 

St. Mary’s missed its first four shots of the game before DaShawn Freeman hit a three-pointer with 6:02 left in the first quarter. For St. Elizabeth’s, senior guard Bakari Altheimer scored seven of his game-high 27 points in the low-scoring opening period. At the end of one, the Mustangs led 13-11. 

St. Elizabeth’s Adebola Odunikan scored the team’s first two points of the second quarter before St. Mary’s went on a 7-0 run to grab the lead with 5:12 remaining in the half.  

The Panthers never looked back.  

Freeman scored 13 in the period and St. Mary’s led by as many as 11 before the break. St. Elizabeth’s scored the final five points of the half including a running, nothing-but-net three-pointer that the Mustang’s Altheimer launched from beyond half-court as time expired. 

The Panthers built its lead in the third quarter by using a full-court press on defense that forced Mustang turnovers, while on offense John Sharper, Terrence Boyd and Jeremiah Fielder drained timely three-pointers. Boyd added two more three-point plays after scoring the hoop and adding the free throw as St. Mary’s went on a 9-2 run to end the third. 

“I think the kids just stepped up their intensity (in the second half),” said St. Mary’s coach Jose Caraballo. “We came out pretty lethargic (in the first half) while they came out ready to play.” 

St. Mary’s continues to overpower BSAL opponents with its offensive rebounding and tenacious defense. Its performance against St. Elizabeth’s was no exception. 

“They’re big and strong and finally beat us up a little bit,” said St. Elizabeth’s head coach Bob Howard. “Physically we got worn down. That’s a hard pace for us to play against.” 

Eleven different players scored for St. Mary’s. Behind Freeman’s team leading 22, Sharper added 18, Boyd contributed 14 and Chase Moore tossed in 10 despite getting two quick fouls in the first quarter. Altheimer was the only player in double figures for St. Elizabeth’s. 

“DaShawn is playing the way he’s supposed to be playing,” Caraballo said of the 5-foot-10 guard. “He has the ability to make everyone around him better.” 

As the team did last week, St. Mary’s struggled from the free throw line, hitting just 7-of-18. St. Elizabeth’s was 15-of-24 from the line. 

The Mustangs are the latest conquest for the Panthers, who have dominated the BSAL this season. With the win, St. Mary’s improves to 21-4 overall and 9-0 in the league. St. Elizabeth’s dropped to 15-10 and 6-4 in the BSAL. 

“We were fine until they started hitting the threes,” Howard said of the Mustang’s second half woes. “The press kicked in a little better and it sort of snowballed on us.” 

St. Mary’s faces Piedmont on Tuesday.