Jan 28, 2009 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
At just the right moment, Marybeth Egan reappeared to save the Cicero-North Syracuse girls basketball team.
Kept quiet throughout the second half of last Tuesday night’s fierce battle with Class A power Mexico, Egan ended up with the ball in her hands as regulation time ran low and the two sides stood locked in a 47-47 tie.
Defended well, with no chance to get it inside to star freshman Breanna Stewart, all Egan could do was heave a long, off-balanced 3-point shot as the clock ran close to zero.
The shot was well off line — but then the whistle blew.
Egan had been fouled with just 0.3 seconds left, a call that infuriated Mexico players, coaches and fans who thought the defense had been perfect.
What made it worse for the Tigers was the knowledge that Egan, once she gets to the free-throw line, rarely misses. And she didn’t here, either.
All three of the foul shots cleanly swished, and that was it — the Northstars had prevailed, 50-47, overcoming a nine-point deficit in the fourth quarter to avoid a big letdown following its huge 51-43 win at Oswego on Jan. 23.
Mexico got a rare chance to compare and contrast its own game against two Class AA contenders, having lost 51-31 to CBA on the same night CNS had won at Oswego.
Through a fast-paced opening period, Egan carried the Northstars’ attack, getting 10 of her 16 points in that frame. Mexico kept paced, though, as Chrissy Sawyer’s six points (she finished with 10) helped the Tigers inch in front, 17-16.
Both sides cooled down in the second quarter, as CNS took a 26-25 lead to the break. Then Stewart took charge in the third period, needing to take a larger role after starters Ashley Waldron and Shannon Hickin both got into foul trouble. Stewart had seven of her 16 points in that quarter.
At one point, CNS had a 37-31 edge, but Mexico refused to go away, answering with a 15-0 outburst that included 11 points (and three 3-pointers) from Cassi Hall, the guard whose 17 points would match Egan’s total.
But after Hall’s trey with 5:34 left, the Northstars did not allow another field goal, tightening its interior defense and improving on the boards. Stewart’s pair of free throws with 1:46 left pushed CNS back in front, 47-46.
Following a Mexico free throw that tied it, 47-47, both teams missed chances to break the tie, and with 30.1 seconds left Evie Josbena missed the front end of a one-and-one free-throw chance after Waldron fouled out.
CNS planned to use the rest of regulation time to break the tie. Increasing its pressure on the perimeter to make the ball never got in Stewart’s hands, Mexico did everything right — except slap Egan just before the horn went off.
The win pushed CNS’s mark to 13-1 as it heads to a Friday showdown with Nottingham.