POLY 70, ST. FRANCES 63 (OT) Poly tops No. 1 St. Frances
Robinson scores 21 points, Engineers end game on an 8-1 run to defeat Panthers
Second-ranked Poly won the battle for Baltimore’s top girls basketball ranking, defeating No. 1-ranked St. Frances 70-63 in overtime in the William Wells Classic at Morgan State on Saturday.
Junior Tenea Robinson could not play in last year’s matchup, due to a concussion, but she answered the call this year for Poly, scoring a team-high 21 points — 13 on free throws.
“Tenea is a jack of all trades,” said teammate Dasia Townes, who had 16 points. “You can’t defend her. If you think she’s going to drive, she’s going to pull it up. If you think she’s going to pull it up, she’s going to drive. If you don’t think she’s going to make the steal, she’s going to make the steal. You never know what you’re getting from Tenea. Today wasn’t a surprise for me. I knew that she was going to get it done.”
The game came down to stopping ESPN’s No. 2-ranked player in the country, Angel Reese. The Maryland commit scored a game-high 26 points and was in commanded on the offensive and defensive ends for St. Frances. However, she got into foul trouble early and eventually fouled out before overtime.
With St. Frances’ second-leading scorer Aniya Gourdine also fouling out, Poly capitalized after regulation.
Tied at 62, Poly coach Kendall PeaceAble got her team into the huddle before overtime, telling them to slow things and create opportunities. Her players responded with multiple trips to the foul line — especially with point guard Cach’e Wilson’s two late free throws and a bucket.
“Be patient, things will come when they need to,” Peace-Able said. “Just stay disciplined with the things that we’ve been doing — we weren’t stepping outside of our spectrum. We were already in the bonus, so we needed to make sure that we were attacking the rim and doing the things and being patient in the offense, applying the pressure and making sure we made them think.”
Poly overcame a 12-point deficit in the third quarter. However, the game started with Reese scoring eight early points and seemingly getting to the line at will. St. Frances led at the end of the first quarter 18-13.
Robinson kept Poly close in the second quarter with 10 points and eight of them coming from the free-throw line. They still trailed 31-25 at the half.
After going down by 12 points early in the third quarter, Townes stepped up to score seven points in the quarter and Robinson added five more to tie the game up at 42-42.
Despite being in control for the fourth quarter with 12 points, Reese fouled out with just less than a minute remaining in regulation. Da’Brya Clark drove to the hole and was fouled for Poly. She then made both free throws, before St. Frances added two points to tie on Anani Humphrey’s shot at 62-62.
Wilson and Robinson were the heroes of overtime with stout defensive play and the ability to make key free throws giving Poly the win.
St. Frances head coach Jerome Shelton understood without his top two ball handlers his team had to respond.
“We’ve been in this situation before and we responded in a positive manner,” Shelton said. “So, our behavior in this game was very uncharacteristic of what we’ve seen through the first 18 games. Poly was prepared to play today and they forced us into some poor decision making and we didn’t respond well.”
Poly 70, St. Frances 63
Halftime: 31-25, St. Frances
BPI (16-1): T. Robinson 21, D. Townes 16, D. Clark 15, C. Wilson 10, K. Fullwood 3, K. Ferguson 2, J. Gross 2
SFA (17-2): A. Reese 26, A. Gourdine 14, A. Humphrey 7, K. Turner 7, C. Barnes 6, D. Dorsey 2, K. Dorsey 2
Poly head coach Kendall Peace-Able gathers her team in a huddle during a 70-63 overtime victory over St. Frances.