Gagan’s 25 points not enough in road defeat to Quakers
PROVIDENCE – Even in defeat, St. Raphael girls basketball head coach Tammy Drape could find little fault with her team’s performance.
Alas, had the Saints taken even the slightest advantage of the plethora of offensive rebounds they collected and the 15 turnovers that Moses Brown committed, perhaps Monday’s Division I-Central contest at the Quakers’ gym may have featured a different tune.
Led by 22 points from junior center/forward Oluchi Ezemma, Moses Brown shook off a stiff challenge to prevail by a 59-51 count. It wasn’t all Ezemma as the Quakers (9-3) featured balanced scoring with Tori Matson and Victoria Carulo each pumping in 11 points and Jessica Rylander netting nine points.
SRA, which on Monday played the first of three games this week, saw senior star Kasey Gagan lead all scorers with 25 points and pull down 11 rebounds. Fellow SRA senior and co-captain Angelique Washington added 10 points and 12 rebounds.
The Saints, who have now dropped two straight in league play after winning three of their previous four, were right there with the Quakers, winners of four of five entering Monday. A layup by Paris Brown-Coker (four points) tied the game at 40-40 with under seven minutes remaining, but that’s when Moses Brown took control for good behind an 11-1 run that pinned SRA in a 51-41 hole with 2:56 left.
The Saints’ last gasp featured a full-court press that did the job as far as denying the first shot attempted by Moses Brown.
Collecting the defensive board was another story as the Quakers closed out the game making their final eight free throws. Many of the team’s 25 trips to the line were the result of crashing the offensive glass and drawing the foul immediately.
“We needed those quick traps, but that’s when fatigue may have set in with some of my kids,” Drape said.
SRA, which attempted 15 free throws, responded in a major way after falling behind 2210 in the first half. Moses Brown had taken control behind a 15-0 run that on the surface looked to spell a long rest of the night for the visitors.
With Gagan leading the charge, the Saints closed to within 29-26 at halftime. A follow by Washington in the closing seconds helped cap a 16-5 surge that clearly had SRA believing as the second half got underway.
A banked-in three by Gagan and a strong take by Sierra Gonzalez (four points) gave the Saints (3-8) a brief 31-29 lead before the Quakers responded behind six points from Ezemma and a three by Carulo to go up 38-33. Moses Brown continued to enjoy the upper hand but couldn’t truly put down the youthful Saints until the closing minutes.
“They kept their composure and should have nothing to be ashamed of,” Drape said. “At the end of the day it’s a rebuilding year and we’re a young team, but a game like this is a great confidence booster going into Wednesday.”
That night will see the Saints host state title contender Barrington. The busy week concludes Friday with a home game against Bay View.
ST. RAPHAEL (51): Sierra Gonzalez 2 0-0 4, Kasey Gagan 7 9-13 25, Monet Gailloux 4 0-0 8, Page O’Brien 0 0-2 0, Paris Brown-Coker 2 0-0 4, Angelique Washington 5 0-0 10. Totals: 20 9-15 51. MOSES BROWN (59): Oluchi Ezemma 7 8-11 22, Tori Matson 4 2-2 11, Victoria Carulo 3 2-2 11, Ava Biafore 1 0-0 2, Caroline Veale 0 0-0 0, Megan Themistocle 1 2-6 4, Jessica Rylander 2 4-4 9. Totals: 18 18-25 59. Halftime: MB 29-26. Three-point field goals: SRA 2 (Kasey Gagan 2); Moses Brown 5 (Victoria Carulo 3, Tori Matson, Jessica Rylander).