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St. Vincent rallies to beat Roseland University Prep

St. Vincent rallied from a daunting 18-2 first-period deficit to overhaul Roseland University Prep, 51-44, in North Central League II girls basketball play on Friday in Santa Rosa.

The Lady Mustangs got themselves in and out of trouble with 3-point shooting. They missed all eight shots from distance in the opening stanza, and the Knights took advantage by working the ball inside for easy baskets as a frustrated St. Vincent coach Jim Fagundes cleared his bench early to establish a wake-up call.

“I could see early in our warm-ups before the game that the girls were not really ready to play, and they just went through the motions,” Fagundes said. “We had to do something to wake them up.”

It was a long road back, but the Mustangs came back to narrow the count to 25-20 at halftime thanks to some good foul shooting by guard Alexandra Saisi. Saisi meshed 7-of-10 attempts from the stripe after aggressively going to the hoop on fouls by the retreating Knights. A 3-pointer by Sophia Skubic helped in the rally.

St. Vincent closed within two points to end the third quarter at 36-34, but momentum was in its corner.

Saisi railed a 3-pointer to open the fourth period, and the Lady Mustangs led most of the way to the finish.

A key driving lay-up by senior guard Sophia Licata gave the Lady Mustangs a little breathing room as they gradually pulled away to even their NCL II record at 2-2. Licata had one of her best games with eight points and a key theft in the final stanza.

Alex Ditizio struggled from the outside, but she still converted a pair of triples on the way to an 11-point outing. Rebecca Russell had several aggressive moments, and she extended her playing time before fouling out in the final period.

Saisi led the Mustang scoring with 25 points, while sophomore Maddie Badaglia pulled down seven rebounds.

It was the seventh consecutive defeat for the Lady Knights, who kept their fans in Santa Rosa engaged until the final whistle.

Boys lose

Playing without the services of four regular starting players, the St. Vincent boys absorbed a lopsided 69-30 loss at the hands of Roseland University Prep in the featured game on Friday in Santa Rosa.

Seven players were in uniform for the Mustangs, who stayed within reach until late in the first period, when the Knights ran off seven consecutive points to finish the quarter with a 21-12 advantage.

The Knights (9-4) went on to punish the visitors with a 22-5 third period, and coach Luis Escobar cleared the bench to the delight of the Roseland fans. St. Vincent scored only nine points in the second half.

Joe Sartori and Vince Gawronski had eight points each for the Mustangs, who fell to 1-3 in the North Central League II and 7-13 overall.

St. Vincent dropped a 54-49 decision to Roseland Prep in the junior varsity game.

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