No. 1 St. Frances girls suffer first setback in national tourney; Reese posts double-double
St. Frances Academy girls' basketball team's historic season ended on a heartbreaking note Friday. Playing in the Dick's Sporting Goods National High School Tournament semifinal in front of a national cable audience, the Panthers showed they were worthy of their 30-0 mark.
The area's No. 1 team put together valiant comeback in regulation to force overtime where Tennessee's Hamilton Heights handed the Panthers a 56-55 defeat at Christ the King in New York City.
Elizabeth Balogun had 14 points for Hamilton Heights (29-1 overall), ranked 8th in USA Today's Super 25, and junior Jazmine Massengill added 12 points and six rebounds. Freshman forward Angel Reese posted a game-best 20 points and 24 rebounds for St. Frances (30-1), and VSN Player of the Year Mia Davis had a double-double of 13 points and 13 rebounds.
After wiping out a 13-point deficit in the second half, St. Frances was unable to find the basket in the final minutes of overtime, tasting defeat for the first time since last season.
"I think that we had a chance to show why we were 30-0. We weren’t going to settle for 30-0, we wanted to be 31-0 and 32-0," said Reese, whose team was ranked No. 10 by USA Today. "We always wanted to keep that zero at the end."
Down 50-44 with 1:44 left in regulation, the IAAM A Conference champ Panthers forced overtime on Reese's putback at the buzzer. The teams traded 3-pointers to start overtime before Reese hit two free throws for a 55-54 lead for St. Frances with 2:28 remaining.
The Panthers fouled Balogun, the nation's No. 15 prospect in the Class of 2018 by ESPN/Hoop Gurlz. She gave the Chattonooga squad a 55-54 advantage with two free throws. The east Baltimore school missed five layups in the final two minutes including a Reese miss at the buzzer.
The Panthers, who shot just 17-of-74 from the field, trailed 9-0 in the opening minutes and 40-27 in the third. St. Frances stormed back with 13-0 run, capped by Nia Snowden's 3-pointer, tying the game with 4:38 left in regulation.
Snowden, a junior guard, finished with 12 points for the Panthers, who were the first No. 1 team to go undefeated through the area girls' season since Western in 1989-90.
Dick's Sporting Goods National High School Tournament
at Christ the King (NY)
Hamilton Heights (TN) 56, No. 1 St. Frances Academy 55
St. Frances - Davis 13, Reese 20, Pinnick 9, Carroll, Clouden 12. Totals 17 17-27 55.
Hamilton Heights - Massengill 12, Balogun 14, Hunt 9, Cardosa 4, Doumbia 4, Hickey-White 4. Totals 22 7-14 56.
St. Frances 6 15 10 19 5 - 55
Hamilton Heights 11 14 15 10 6 - 56
Last Updated (Saturday, 01 April 2017 12:07)