MILLTOWN — Conrad and Saint Mark’s got involved in a track meet when their girls basketball teams met on Dec. 19, and when clock hit all zeroes, the Spartans had crossed the finish line in front. Saint Mark’s went into its holiday break with a 46-40 win over the previously unbeaten Red Wolves on Dec. 19.
A bank shot three-pointer by Shaniece Epps just before halftime tied the score at 24, but Lauren McDonald hit a short jumper to get the Spartans back into the lead early in the third quarter. Sophia Karch followed with a three-point shot, putting Saint Mark’s on top, 29-24, to that point their biggest lead of the night. The Red Wolves hung close thanks to the three-point shooting of Epps, but a triple by McDonald to close out the quarter helped the Spartans take a 36-32 lead into the fourth.
The fast pace continued into the fourth, but the Spartans’ defense kept the Red Wolves from getting many quality shots. Eva Walker made a short turnaround jumper just over a minute in to cut the Saint Mark’s lead to two. Conrad had a chance to tie, but McDonald came up with a big block in the paint, then sent the ball to a streaking Karch for a layup.
That started a mini-run for the Spartans. McDonald stole a pass, then, after a timeout, she connected inside and added a free throw to extend the lead to 41-34. Both teams cooled off after that, with Rana Jackson finally hitting for the Red Wolves with about 90 seconds remaining. Aurora Gillin knocked down a turnaound shot with 1:04 on the clock, and Conrad was within three at 41-38.
But the Spartans would not be denied. McDonald hit a runner off the glass after taking an inbounds pass with 50 seconds on the clock. The Spartans added three free throws down the stretch, and the Red Wolves could not take advantage of their offensive opportunities as time wound down.
Karch led the Spartans with 15 poiints and 8 rebounds, while McDonald added 14 with 6 boards. Saint Mark’s improved to 4-1 and will play next on Dec. 29 in the Viking Invidtational on Dec. 29 at the St. E Center against Pottstown (Pa.). Tipoff is at 1:30 p.m.
Epps had 15 to pace the Red Wolves, with Walker contributing 10. Conrad (4-1) is off until Jan. 4, when they host MOT Charter at 5 p.m.