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Huseby’s clutch free throws seal big win for Cardinal O’Hara

MARPLE >> Stephanie Huseby isn’t like most foul shooters.

The Cardinal O’Hara sophomore doesn’t go to the line trying to block out all distractions before she makes her attempts.

“In a situation like I was in (Friday afternoon) I tend to freak out,” Huseby said of being at the foul line with two seconds to play in a tie game.

“That’s when I just try to picture my friends. That helps calm me down.”

After Huseby sank the free throw that helped the Lions (4-0) hand Bethlehem Catholic (7-1) it first loss, 50-49, at the Lions Invitational Friday, she had plenty of friends in O’Hara uniforms as well as in the home team’s stands.

O’Hara had given up the six-point lead it owned with two minutes to play when Huseby was involved in a scramble for a loose ball near midcourt in the closing seconds of the period.

When the whistle blew, she was sent to the foul line.

“I remember having foul shots like that in AAU games,” she said. “We lost one of those games and won another.”

O’Hara won Friday despite having a pair of starters fail to make a field goal. The others starters — Huseby 17 points, Kenzie Gardler 14 points, and Maura Hendrixson 11 points — accounted for all but eight of the Lions’ 50 points. Erin Welde came off the bench to get seven points, five rebounds and one steal.

Huseby dropped in a lot of in-close shots after taking passes from Gardler (seven assists) and Hendrixson (four assists), and also chipped in with four rebounds, one blocked shot, one assist, and one steal. Gardler had six rebounds, and Hendrixson claimed four missed shots.

Gardler connected twice from the foul line with 48 seconds to play to put O’Hara up by two points, but sophomore Abigail Brown answered for the visiting Hawks 19 seconds later.

“This was the best game we played as a team,” Gardler said. “Being successful in a hard game like this is something that will help us.”

Molly Paolino scored only one point for O’Hara, but her contributions came at the defensive end of the floor. She helped hold 6-foot Hawks sophomore standout Taliyah Medina to 2-for-8 shooting and seven points.

“I know she’s being recruited by a lot of big schools,” Paolino said. “I just didn’t want to let her score.”

Huseby, who played last year at Shawnee High in Medford Lakes, New Jersey, before moving to Broomall, said that all of the Lions worked together to make coach Linus McGinty’s game plan successful.

“We just didn’t want them getting the ball inside,” Huseby, who played AAU basketball for the Comets and was coached by Gardler’s father, Chris, said.

Coach Linus McGinty praised Huseby for her hard work since she has been at O’Hara.

“She’s a great kid and she’s doing a nice job,” McGinty said.

In other games in the tournament:

Episcopal Academy 40, Springfield 37 >> Free-throw shooting and defense was the difference for the Churchwomen. EA was 20-for-27 from the line, while the Cougars were 11-for-16.

Olivia Dirks did much of that damage for EA. She was 11-for-12 including 7-for-8 in the fourth quarter to finish with 13 points. Luca Mamula connected on 6 of 8 from the line and led the Churchwomen (4-5) with 16 points. Seanna McNamara scored all six of her points in the second half

Jordan D’Ambrosio led Springfield with 12 poinst. Alexa Abbonizio chipped in with eight.

Archbishop Carroll 51, Notre Dame 30 >> The Patriots (6-1) turned up the defensive pressure to pick up their second win in the tournament. Carroll limited the Irish to single digits in each of the first three quarters to take a 46-20 lead into the final period.

Molly Masciantonio tallied a game-high 22 points for the Patriots. Erin Sweeney chipped in with 19 points.
Mandy McGurk topped Notre Dame (4-4) with 18 points.

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