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Playoff loss is valuable learning experience for young Mustangs

St. Vincent's Maddie Perry was with the basketball Saturday night, standing near her team's bench, looking for someone to receive her pass. San Domenico's Sasha Nagler was approaching Perry and she was clearly visible but somehow Nagler was invisible to Perry. Nagler just took the ball for Perry's hands. Actually ripped it from Perry's grip. Would have been a great pickpocket move except it was a basketball that was picked.

And another moment in which St. Vincent wish it had back for a do-over. Except there were no mulligans this night for St. Vincent. Oh, that the Mustang girls would want back those 21 turnovers and that 24 percent field goal percentage (11-of-45). Oh, that they could find a way to stop the thick and aggressive Elyzah Bernstein of San Domenico from bumping them out of the way. Oh, that there would be a lot of things they could change, especially the final score: San Domenico 45, St. Vincent 32.

Jim Fagundes, the St. Vincent coach, had seen his team play like this during the regular season, a young team that got a little too hyper, unfocused and, subsequently, unraveled.

"But it's been three to four weeks since we played like this," Fagundes said. "We had been playing really well."

There were plenty of times Saturday night in the Division 5 NCS quarterfinal that Fagundes said to his team, "Calm down. Play defense." There were plenty of times St. Vincent showed it didn't have a senior on the roster, a veteran hand that could have cooled all those very excited and determined underclassmen.

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