By Preston Williams
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, February 28, 2011; 10:44 PM
All season, St. John's girls' basketball players and coaches refrained from talking about their loss to Elizabeth Seton last season in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference final. No need to dwell on it. They were there.
But when the No. 3 Cadets were about to take the floor for warmups Monday night at this year's championship, Coach Jonathan Scribner finally referenced the obvious: We were here last year, and we didn't like how it felt to lose.
The Cadets left Bender Arena much happier, leading from the middle of the first quarter through the duration of the game for a 62-54 victory over No. 5 Good Counsel for their first WCAC title since 2004. They became the fifth school to win the crown in five years.
"We didn't want to talk about [last year] until we were actually in the moment, so we could focus on the games before this that got us to this point," said guard Mariah Jones, the only senior among the Cadets' top eight scorers.
"We remembered that sting he was talking about," junior guard Mooriah Rowser said. "We remember how it felt to lose. And we definitely wanted to come out stronger and more prepared than last year."
Even though it was a championship game in a championship atmosphere, it was a typical St. John's game, with Rowser, Jones and sophomore Lindsay Allen combining for 44 points. Jones provided her typically understated stewardship, Rowser was her usual versatile self and Allen dominated the highlight reel and and stat sheet, slicing her 5-foot-7 frame into gaps to flag down a team-high nine rebounds.
Allen had scalded the Falcons for 61 points in the teams' two games this season and scored 11 of her 13 points in the second half Monday night, despite picking up her fourth foul 29 seconds into the fourth quarter.
Good Counsel missed 23 of 29 shots in the first half and 45 of 63 in the game and trailed by 12 in the second half, although the Falcons committed just two turnovers in the last two quarters.
"The girls played probably their best defensive game of the year," said Scribner, whose team's goal was to keep the Falcons under 55 points. "The one-and-dones, the hands in the face. Every shot that they took was challenged."
Good Counsel junior guard Faith Randolph would likely agree. She scored 17 consecutive points in the semifinal win over Holy Cross on Sunday but was limited to three field goals in 16 attempts in the championship, guarded mostly by Rowser.
Rowser made a one-handed runner with 3 minutes 29 seconds left in the first quarter to give her team a 12-10 lead, then shortly thereafter got the roll on a short jumper from the left side. The Cadets (29-2) never trailed again in beating Good Counsel (26-5) for the fifth consecutive time and third time this season.
St. John's advances to face DCIAA champion H.D. Woodson in the City Title Game at 5:30 p.m. Monday at Verizon Center.
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