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SVA rallies past Lady Mustangs
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Candice Kennedy struggles to get off a shot in the South Effingham Lady Mustangs’ loss to St. Vincent’s. Kennedy had 17 points for South Effingham. - photo by Photo by Pat Donahue

The South Effingham Lady Mustangs couldn’t put the St. Vincent’s Academy Saints away early. And the Saints made them pay dearly.

The Saints erased a nine-point Lady Mustangs’ first-quarter lead and held on for a 47-38 Region 3-AAA girls basketball win Tuesday night at The Corral.

The Lady Mustangs ripped off 11 straight points, with Candice Kennedy’s putback capping the spurt for an 11-2 lead. Ashley Ehret ended St. Vincent’s dry spell with a 3-pointer, an omen of things to come for the second quarter.

Mallory Morin opened the second with a 3, and Hannah Burnsed hit back-to-back 3s to end a 14-0 run for the Saints. Katie Durrence’s pullup jumper tied the game 16-16 with 2:54 to go in the first half. But St. Vincent’s closed the quarter on an 11-0 run, getting another 3 from Burnsed for a 27-16 halftime advantage.

“We played well all night long, other than right there at the end of the first half,” Lady Mustangs coach Stacey Womack said. “Obviously, the wheels fell off. We made some key turnovers, silly turnovers and quit playing defense. We let girls drive right by us untouched for layups. We made silly fouls.”

The Saints sandwiched two Morin driving layups around Burnsed’s 3.

“It was our mistakes, and they capitalized on our mistakes,” Womack said. “They scored on every mistake we made. That 3-point shot can get you back in it quick.”

St. Vincent’s kept the run going into the third quarter, scoring the first six points of the second half. The Saints also blocked three shots in the third quarter.

But the Lady Mustangs, who rallied to upend Richmond Hill on Friday night, tried to claw back into the game with the Saints. Whitney Jones converted a three-point play, and Kennedy later converted back-to-back three-point plays after a Ciara Knowles basket to cut the lead to 43-30 with 3:38 to go.

“Candice played her butt off tonight,” Womack said of the senior who finished with 17 points and eight rebounds. “It was a great night for her.”

Jones’ free throw cut the lead to 12 with 2:39 to go, but the Lady Mustangs couldn’t get the margin under 10 until the final minute.

“We didn’t quit,” Womack said. “We had a bad minute and 35 seconds. We tried to make a run. That’s one thing I see in this year’s team — they keep fighting. That is one of the great things of this team. They still play hard even with all the adversity going on.”

Jones had seven points for the Lady Mustangs while Durrence had six, Iesha Reese had four, Knowles had three and Katherine Perrin had two. Reese’s primary job was to shut down St. Vincent’s Ashley Ehret and she held Ehret to five points.

“Iesha did a great job defensively on (Ehret),” Womack said. “She’s a great player and a great 3-point threat.”

Anna Coursey was one of three Saints in double figures with 12 points. Burnsed had 11 points and Morin added 10 points.