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Priory is stopped just short of CIF state title contest

 
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Priory outscored St. Mary’s by 13 points in the fourth quarter, but had way too deep of a hole to try to dig out of and went down to a 68-59 defeat in the NorCal Division III girls basketball finals Tuesday at St. Mary’s of Albany.

Priory’s troubles began at the end of the first quarter. The game was tied 8-8 when St. Mary’s got to the foul line twice in the final minute of the quarter and made four free throws. Priory missed a shot and with two seconds left in the quarter St. Mary’s inbounded in its own backcourt. A desperation three-quarters court heave went in giving St. Mary’s a 15-8 lead at the end of the quarter.

That shot gave St. Mary’s all the momentum and the team proceeded to score the first 12 points of the second quarter, making it a 19-0 run and a 27-8 lead.

“It’s hard to recover from that,’’ Priory coach Buck Matthews said.

Priory (21-10), the fourth-place team from the West Bay Athletic League’s Foothill Division, trailed 36-15 at halftime and 52-30 after three quarters. In the fourth quarter Matthews put on an all-out press which forced a number of turnovers and Priory made a comeback. After scoring 30 points over the first three quarters the Panthers nearly matched that in the fourth quarter alone.

“You can’t do that the whole game with seven bodies,’’ Matthews said.

Priory was 3 of 23 on 3-pointers and made 18 turnovers. St. Mary’s converted 21 of 24 shots from the free-throw line while Priory was 10 of 16.

Aniyah Augmon led the team with 20 points, nine rebounds and five steals. Sydney Donovan scored 11 points, Bineta Diatta 10 with six steals while Lala Niu and Dominique Robson scored 8 points apiece.

“I’m very proud of the way we came back, the resilience the girls showed,’’ Matthews said. “Playing with seven all year to end up one game away from the state championship was big time.’’

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