Rogers Loses to Mt. St. Charles in Semifinal
Rogers lost 59-52 against Mt. St. Charles in overtime.
Second-seeded Rogers established a 13-point advantage at Rhode Island College’s Murray Center last Wednesday night, but the top-seeded Mounties of Mount Saint Charles Academy rallied to down the Vikings 59-52 in overtime, and secured a date with the Prout School Crusaders in the Division II Championships.
MSC's Maria Saia scored five during the extra session to secure the semifinal victory.“My team and I really know how to pull it together,” Saia said. “Rogers was a good team, so we knew it was going to be tough, especially in the semi-finals. The playoffs, it’s a whole different game, but we play together and we knew that we could do it, as long as a we played hard. I think that’s what we focus on most—play hard, win games.”
Nifaty Morales led Rogers to a 25-12 first-half lead with nine points before the break. She scored 14 points overall, and Tia Cromwell tacked on 14 aw well, including eight during the second half to help the Vikings temporarily maintain their shrinking advantage. The Mounties would negate the deficit nonetheless, balancing the books with little time to spare.
Senior guard Adriana Maurano dribbled upcourt and netted two of her 11 points from the left baseline, despite the seemingly sufficient defense of Rogers’ Sienna Benson.
“I thought Sienna was on her. The girl made a tough baseline shot [and] tied it up,” said Frank Brow, head coach of the Vikings.
Morales’ ensuing last-second half-court heave caught iron, but it was for naught, and the teams proceeded to overtime with a score of 48-48. MSC scored the first two points, but Benson netted three from the right wing to overcome the debt. However, Cromwell picked up her fifth foul shortly thereafter, and the Vikings subsequently struggled to produce points.
“Tia fouling out hurt us. She had a great game. She’s a great kid,” Brow said. Rogers led 51-50 when Cromwell was forced to the sidelines, and MSC’s Taylor Messier converted twice from the charity stripe to give the Mounties a one-point edge. MSC scored 22 points from the line Tuesday.
“I’ve been telling them all year, ‘Free throws are going to win a game for us or lose agame for us,’" said Nina Morey, head coach of the Mounties. “Tonight, they won it forus.”
Saia responded to a free throw from Morales with the game-winning layup, and the Mounties’ senior captain went on to add three more, finishing with 16 points Tuesday and 1,001 in her career.
“It’s awesome. My name’s going to be on a banner,” Saia said. “I look at those banners all the time in practice and now my name’s going to be on there.”
Saia and the Mounties must now prepare for Saturday’s meeting with the Crusaders at the University of Rhode Island’s Ryan Center. The Prout School advanced to the Finals forthe first time by defeating Johnston on Wednesday.
Both MSC and the Prout School have already captured championships in 2011. The Mounties took the Division II North crown with a 17-1 league record, and the Crusaders won Division II South with a 16-2 mark. Overall, MSC was 19-1 prior to the postseason,and the Prout School was 18-4.The Vikings end their 2010-2011 campaign with a loss that is “going to hurt for a while,” Brow said. But, they won 14 regular season games, added two more postseason victories and nearly secured Rogers’ first berth in a title game since 1993.
“This is the greatest team I’ve ever had,” Brow said.