The Elizabeth Seton High School girls basketball team trailed by nine points in the first quarter on Tuesday, but rallied for a 66-42 victory over visiting Washington Catholic Athletic Conference rival Academy of the Holy Cross.
It was the Roadrunners' (4-1) first win over the perennial conference power in at least eight years.
“We started slow, but then we really came together and worked together as a team. It's a big win. Going into my senior year it was a big goal for me and my teammates to beat Holy Cross,” said Seton guard Janelle Hubbard, who scored a game-high 26 points. “It gives us a lot of confidence, but we know we can't take anything for granted and we have to take one game at a time.”
Tuesday's game was largely dictated by fouls and free throw shooting, as to be expected in a contest between two teams with such aggressive approaches, Seton coach Jonathan Scruggs said.
It was hard for either team to get a rhythm as play was often interrupted by a foul call — more than 20 in the first half alone.
Seton took 33 trips to the foul line and converted 27 of those attempts — 41 percent of the team's scoring Tuesday night.
Holy Cross (1-3) only made 12 of its 25 free throw attempts.
More impactful, however, was the Tartans' early foul trouble.
Propelled by its pressure defense, Holy Cross controlled play early to take a 21-12 lead in the first quarter.
But by the second quarter, several players had already collected multiple fouls. After scoring nine points in the first quarter, 5-foot-10 dynamic junior Jillian Dunston spent most of the second quarter on the bench.
In addition, the Tartans were without their second leading scorer and 6-foot-4 inside presence Rhamat Alhassan.
“Foul trouble killed us. We had too many kids in foul trouble and once we were in foul trouble, we started playing passive,” Holy Cross coach Eddie Simpson said. “[Seton] did a good job of taking advantage of that and really getting to the basket.”
Holy Cross' drop in intensity coincided with Seton's rise in energy and comfort on the court. It resulted in a complete turnaround.
Hubbard, dangerous from all areas of the court, asserted herself and helped the Railroaders take control.
Seton also dominated the boards, 32-17, allowing themselves more chances and limiting those for Holy Cross.
Erica McIntosh's 3-pointer at the first half buzzer gave Seton a 32-30 lead at the break.
The Railroaders then outscored Holy Cross, 13-2, in the third quarter to pull away. Eight of the Tartans' 12 second half points came in the final three minutes of regulation.
“[Never beating] Holy Cross can be frustrating and something that's always in the back of the kids' mind. But this group is special. We knew over the summer this group was going to be special,” Scruggs said.
Elizabeth Seton 66, Academy of the Holy Cross 42
Holy Cross (1-3) 21 9 2 10 — 42
Seton (4-1) 12 20 15 21 — 66
Holy Cross — Taylor McCarley 10; Jillian Dunston 9; Amber Baker 9; Janee Brown 8; Janae Bailey 4; Kristen Carter 2.
Seton — Janelle Hubbard 26; Korin Harris 12; Camden Musgrave 8; Erica McIntosh 6; Brianna Bush 5; Alexis Lyers 4; Savannah Johnson 4; Sierra Applewhite 2.