Palloti 48, St. Paul's 38

Pallotti senior Carly Silver's contributions are not confined to the box score, even if the point guard leads her team in nearly every statistical category and her play in Pallotti's 48-38 victory over St. Paul's (Balt.) in an Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland "B" Conference game last night suggested otherwise.

"Just her presence out there on the court makes us a totally different team," Pallotti Coach Debbie Skelly said. "She's still out there playing hard and doing whatever she has to do for us to win -- even though I don't think she should be playing."

Silver is playing with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee, an injury she suffered on Nov. 30. But instead of opting for season-ending surgery, Silver spent December rehabilitating the knee and returned to the Panthers' lineup on Jan. 8.

Though Silver is slowed by the bulky knee brace, she still has her jump shot, her pinpoint passing, and most of all, the ability to take over a game, which she did by scoring a game-high 25 points to go along with six assists and five steals last night.

The victory over conference-leading St. Paul's (16-2, 11-1) extended the Panthers' winning streak to seven games and lifted them to 9-7, 8-2. But more importantly, the Panthers are 8-0 when Silver is in the lineup.

"We're not the same team when Carly's out there," said senior forward Allie Marcum, who added 15 points. "We're so excited to have her back because she means so much to our team."

But to Silver, watching the rest of the season dressed in street clothes was never an option after she sustained the injury attempting to make a steal in the first quarter of a loss to St. Mary's Ryken in the second game of the season.

"If I didn't play this season, then it would have been tough to prove to college coaches that I could play," said Silver, who is averaging 16.5 points, 3.8 assists and 3.5 steals per game. "I also had to be there for my teammates, because we have a good chance at winning the championship this season. Quitting was never an option."

"Carly is the one that makes that team go," said St. Paul's Coach Jon Strebe, whose team defeated Pallotti, 48-37, on Dec. 20 when Silver was sidelined. "She completely changes her team, she's the one they look to."