Ursuline surges for first SVC victory
Warren JFK had limited the Irish to 20 points in the first three quarters.
By CHUCK HOUSTEAU
YOUNGSTOWN -- There weren't many style points awarded during Thursday's Steel Valley Conference girls basketball game between Ursuline and Warren JFK.
The Irish pulled away with a 22-point fourth quarter after scoring just 20 points in the first three periods to capture a 42-39 victory over the Eagles.
Ursuline dropped in 11 of 14 free throws to seal their first league win of the season.
"Things have been a little tough for us lately," Ursuline coach Sean Durkin said. "We'll take an ugly 'W' anytime, especially where we are right now."
The Irish (5-8, 1-1) have struggled this season after losing a very talented senior class led by Tyra Grant that nearly won a Division III state title last season.
The only thing remaining from that team is the defensive mentality that Durkin has instilled in the Ursuline program.
"I'm very proud of the defense we played tonight," Durkin said. "We played with a lot of passion and played with just enough offense to get out with a win."
That defense limited JFK to just 12 points but the Irish only scored 13 of their own in a very ugly first half that featured fouls, turnovers and lots of missed shots.
JFK was just 4 of 20 from the field in the first two periods with nine turnovers while the Irish made only 5 of 20 shots and had eight turnovers.
The Eagles (5-8, 0-1) made a run in the third quarter by outscoring Ursuline 12-7 to take a 24-20 lead.
Michelle Chaves scored five of her 13 points in the period to key the rally for JFK.
Ursuline tied the game by scoring four quick points on two layups by Tim'Aira Gandy and then JFK grabbed its last lead, 27-24, on a basket and free throw by Angela Mills.
The Irish then went on an 8-0 run that turned the game in Ursuline's favor.
Senior Danielle Crafter made a layup with 2:17 left that gave the Irish a 32-27 lead.
Crafter scored 14 points to lead the Irish.
Ursuline put the game away by knocking down free throws in the final two minutes.
"Ursuline had a nice run in the fourth quarter but our kids hung in there and fought to the bitter end," JFK coach John Baytos said. "We were proud of our effort.
"We asked our kids to play for 32 minutes and that's what they did."
JFK's Samantha Brys led the Eagles in scoring with 14 points and she grabbed seven rebounds.
Durkin said it was deja vu when the Eagles grabbed the early fourth quarter lead.
"It was a feeling like this is how things have been going for us lately," Durkin said. "But we bounced back quickly and got the momentum back and did a tremendous job of knocking down free throws down the stretch.
The Irish got eight points from senior Arielle Washington and six points and nine rebounds from senior Megan Saccomen.