Spellman beats Truman for Bronx bragging rights
Teresa Tartarone has forged a reputation in her short varsity basketball career as a sparkplug off the bench, someone who will consistently provide Cardinal Spellman with 6-8 points every game.
“The kid has just been consistent from the very first day,” Pilots coach Jane Morris said. “That’s what you need.”
On Monday night, Spellman needed a little more from the sophomore guard, who was huge in the second half of a 60-53 come-from-behind win against Truman in a non-league game broadcast live on MSGVarsity.com.
“I came in nervous because this is my first time on Varsity,” Tartarone said. “But as the game started going, I calmed down, took it easy. They left me open and I just took advantage the best I could.”
With the game tied at 49 with 3:01 left in the fourth quarter, Tartarone hit the biggest shot of the game, nailing a 3-pointer to give the Pilots a lead they would not relinquish.
“It felt so good,” she said. “I knew once I released it that it was good. I knew it.”
Tartarone wasn’t done there. She added two huge free throws with 2:42 left to extend Spellman’s lead to 54-49. She actually nailed another shot from beyond the arc, but it was erased because Tartarone was ruled to have traveled on the play.
“I don’t move the kids up to sit,” Morris said. “Once she got over the initial shock, she’s a very steady kid. She plays her game. Whatever minutes you want to give her, she’s going to give you 100 percent while she’s in there.”
Tartarone finished with 12 points, going 2-of-3 from 3-point range and 6-of-8 from the foul line, while grabbing six rebounds in a game between the top two girls basketball teams in The Bronx in front of a boisterous crowd.
“It was big,” she said. “It feels good to win against them. The fans were pumping it up. We were getting into it.”
Northeastern-bound Onia Webb also stepped her game up after halftime, scoring 12 of her team-high 15 points in the second half. The 6-foot-2 senior wing also grabbed eight rebounds.
“First half I did horribly and second half I noticed we were slacking a little so I thought to myself I had to step it up,” Webb said. “I’m a leader here.”
Truman has a Division I-caliber senior wing as well in Krystal Pearson and she was virtually unstoppable – in the first half.
Pearson scored 10 of her team’s 14 points in the first quarter and had 20 points on 6-of-8 shooting at halftime.
However, Spellman (8-2) made a defensive adjustment at halftime, double-teaming Pearson and Lynda Fields (15 points, six rebounds) whenever they touched the ball. Danelle Gibson was charged with shadowing Pearson, who scored just four points in the second half, going 2-of-7 from the field.
With Daquana Smith sidelined with a slightly sprained right knee and Queen Holquin having to leave at halftime for her job at McDonald’s, Truman (11-5), ranked No. 10 in New York City by MSG Varsity, had just six players after halftime.
When Dalia Martin fouled out and two other players had four fouls, it seemed Spellman might finish the game on the power play.
While Truman suffered a second consecutive defeat, coach John Burke was encouraged by his team’s performance, especially coming off a 60-32 loss to South Shore Friday.
“It was a gut check after Friday,” Burke said. “We were embarrassed and knocked down hard. We came out with heart and the right attitude… Tonight was a step in the right direction.”
Contact Dylan Butler at firstname.lastname@example.org
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