Ryan's late push carries Mt. St. Mary
Mount St. Mary got 14 points from Kate Ryan, nine of which came in the fourth quarter, and the Lions ousted rival Pingry, 50-43, a game seen live on MSGVarsity.com on Friday evening.
Star guard Lexi Van Besien was limited to just 10 points for the Big Blue due to some fantastic team defense by Mount St. Mary. Tori O’Connor had the task of picking Van Biesen up on the perimiter and forwards Mark Kate Meisenbacher and Michaella Keegan did well to close lane when Van Biesen got free.
“She does a ton for us, she was sick tonight but really played a hard game,” head coach Joseph Kozoh said of O’Connor, who also chipped in 10 points. “It’s fun to see little Tori O’Connor get in there and fight for the ball, she’s a tough kid and she played really well tonight.”
Defense and rebounding kep Mount St. Mary ahead throughout most of the contest but Ryan’s fourth quarter outburst helped fuel a run that the Lions needed to finally pull away.
“She has carte blanche to shoot whenever, within reason,” Kozoh said with a smile. “She is by far our best shooter and we knew she would knock them down when we needed them most.”
With the win the Lions not only move to 5-3 on the year but also get a big win over an all too familiar rival. Many of the girls play AAU ball together and the two squads split games and ended up sharing a conference title last season.
“We didn’t like it and they didn’t like it,” Kozoh said of the split championship. “Tonight was a big step for us. It was the first time I felt like we really played a solid 32 minutes.”
“We split the Skyland Conference with them last year, so that along with the crowd and the cameras, it was just an amazing feeling to come out here and get such a great win,” added O’Connor.
“It was a win we needed. It’s a huge boost of confidence for us going forward and we’ll look forward to playing them again at home.”
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