Bullied Lady Red Devils fall

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 6, 2005

Times-Journal Sports Writer

MAPLESVILLE – It was the rematch that Maplesville High School coach Eric Bailey had anticipated. It just didn’t go the way he had hoped.

The Maplesville Lady Red Devils were pushed around, bullied and battered Thursday night by the Catholic defense in a 62-46 loss to the Lady Knights.

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It was the Lady Red Devils’ second loss to Catholic this season. Maplesville lost by nine to the Lady Knights on the road in their season-opener Dec. 4.

“Other than Alabama Christian,” Bailey said, “they have the best defense we’ve seen this year. They denied us the ball and they showed a lot of discipline on defense.”

Bailey had anticipated a strong performance from Daphne Green. After all, Green has been the Red Devils’ dominant player from anywhere on the court this season.

But even Green was no match for the pressing Catholic defense. The Red Devils’ leading scorer was hounded all night by Lady Knights’ guard Lauren Vercelli, who kept herself practically glued to Green.

Vercelli scored her 1,000th career point last week, but she was not the offensive juggernaut in the first half. In fact, Vercelli did not score her first point of the game until she hit a running lay-up off a steal with three minutes to go in the third period.

However, Vercelli kept Green in check for most of the game. Green managed 13 points, but they were some of the toughest points she will ever earn.

Leading 25-21 midway through the second period, Catholic went on a 9-0 run to close out the half. Center Jessica Brown powered the run with a 12-footer from the corner to start a three-point play. She followed that with a driving lay-up from the right wing over Brittany Seales to widen the margin to 32-21. Brown closed the first half by leaping high for an offensive rebound and tipping it in to make it a 13-point game.

A long three-pointer by Kassandra Bell early in the third period cut the deficit to nine, 36-27. But the Lady Knights answered with a 6-0 run highlighted by two Vercelli steals, including one that resulted in a lay-up from sister Anna Vercelli. Catholic led 44-32 after the third period.