Visitation and NCS Win Division Titles

By Rich Campbell
Special to The Washington Post
Tuesday, February 27, 2007

When Georgetown Visitation freshman Nicole Krusen heard that Sunday's Independent School League AA Division tournament championship had been postponed because of bad weather, she headed to her gym in Rockville and spent the day shooting three-pointers.

"I just wanted to be on for the game," she said.

Her trip through the snow was worth it. Krusen's shot was the difference in last night's rescheduled game against Sidwell Friends, as she made five three-pointers in the game and buried all four of her free throws in the final 37 seconds help the top-seeded Cubs eke out a 51-44 win in Northeast.

"She's just one of those players who, if she gets open looks, she's going to make them," Georgetown Visitation Coach Mike McCarthy said. "She's the best shooter I've ever seen in this league."

In the ISL A Division championship, junior Grace Mashore scored 17 of her game-high 26 points in the third quarter to help National Cathedral pull away for a 63-46 victory over Georgetown Day.

Georgetown Visitation (25-6) won its second AA title in three seasons, an impressive feat considering its inexperienced roster. The Cubs have no seniors and returned only one player, junior point guard Allison McDaniel, who had significant playing time on last year's 18-10 team.

An even bigger obstacle was the loss of last year's leading scorer, junior Mary Lacey Gilbride, a standout lacrosse player who sat out this season to recover from mononucleosis and focus on her upcoming spring season, McCarthy said.

Instead of withering under those circumstances, Krusen led the Cubs to the title by pacing a balanced offense with 11.2 points per game. She had 21 against the Quakers (22-6), and McDaniel added 15.

"I knew we had the talent," McCarthy said, "but to put it together and believe in themselves was part of the problem. They grew up a lot."

Second-seeded Sidwell Friends led 39-37 after the third quarter but stalled on offense. Forward Taylor Hilton, who had 18 points through three quarters, had only two in the fourth. Wake Forest-bound senior guard Camille Collier scored all 11 of her points in the second half, but she was 2 of 9 in the fourth quarter.

"We just got passive," Quakers Coach Anne Renninger said. "People were looking to Camille too much in the fourth quarter and they didn't look to shoot."

In the A game, Mashore was 1 of 9 and scored only three points in the first quarter. NCS (21-8) surged past the Mighty Hoppers (21-5) in the second quarter, though, when Mashore started distributing the ball and getting to the foul line. She finished with six assists and was perfect on nine free throw attempts.

"I think it's my job as a leader of this team and a captain and upperclassman to set the tone," Mashore said. "Even though my shot wasn't falling, I tried to pick up the intensity any way I could."

Moving Up: National Cathedral won its first league title since 1994, according to Coach Jonathan Scribner. The Eagles will move up to the ISL AA Division next season. Big Run: National Cathedral outscored Georgetown Day 23-3 during an eight-minute span in the second half. The Eagles held GDS to 1-of-14 shooting during that decisive run.

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