Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Cabrini fends off Napoleon

By Anthony Fenech
Free Press Special Writer

With the fourth quarter clock dwindling and Allen Park Cabrini’s fate still hanging in the balance, senior Amanda Chidester wanted the ball on every possession.

The Monarchs multi-talented guard battled for offensive rebounds, hit the floor diving for steals, blocked shots and scored—seemingly able to will the ball into the basket.

“I definitely wanted it,” Chidester said after Cabrini’s 49-48 defeat over Napoleon (23-3) in Tuesday night’s Class C state quarterfinal matchup, showing off a very relieved smile.

Relieved, because the Napoleon Pirates hung around until the final buzzer, taking Cabrini (22-4) to the brink of elimination.

With 4:19 left to play, Cabrini held a 46-41 lead and looked primed to ice the game by hitting their free throws when senior Karie Altman stepped to the line and missed both, highlighting the Monarchs uncharacteristic 1-for-9 performance from the line in the fourth quarter.

Cabrini hit 20 of 21 free throws in the fourth quarter during their two regional matchups.

“That really shocked me because we’ve been really good towards the end of the year,” Cabrini head coach Mike Rozanski said about the missed free throws.

“But when you make the stops it takes the pressure off of you,” he said.

And make the stops they did.

The Monarchs finished stellar defensively, with Chidester emphatically blocking Haley Sullivan’s put-back shot with just under a minute left up three.

After another Cabrini free throw rimmed out, Pirates senior Jacea Smith drove to the net and drew a questionable blocking foul on Cabrini with 8.1 seconds left.

Smith was injured on the play, and junior Jill Eke stepped in and calmly hit the free throw, drawing the score to 49-48.

Chidester, who scored 25 points, missed her second and third free throws of the night, but seconds later she was spiking the ball at half court, on the way to the state semifinals.

“We haven’t done this and we’ve been together since we were freshmen,” said Chidester.

“It’s a really great feeling.”

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