The squad dropped its Dec. 22 clash with the Fords, 45-23. HHS jumped on the Tigers in the first half, holding a comfy 31-10 lead at the break, and the teams treaded water in the second. Colleen Breslin finished with a game-high 13, followed by teammates Catie Zimmerman (ten) and Kate Rinaldi (eight). Elissa Rogers led the Tigers with 12 points. Haverford went 6-for-9 from the line, whereas the Tigers were 6-for-16.

On Wednesday, after Little Flower beat Agnes Irwin in the opener, 50-43, MN hosted American Christian. AC certainly isn't Ridley, Garnet Valley or Interboro, but Marple Newtown might have beaten those teams had they played like they did in the opening quarter against the Eagles. In MN's first eight games this season, it scored 23 or fewer points five times. Against American Christian, the Cats got 24 in the first period alone, leading 24-5 after one. They did this with solid shooting from the field, a 6-for-8 free-throw performance, aggressive defense and, yes, a healthy dose of Eagle turnovers, but that first quarter was more about MN finally coming together than it was about its opponent making mistakes.

After that, MN's line performance cooled, as the Tigers finished 9-for-24. But Marple Newtown did go on to outrebound AC by a 32-20 count, and kept the pressure on for a 58-17 victory. Rogers led both teams with 20; Kelly Colburn got eight. Adrienne Cooke led the way for the Eagles with ten points.

"It's been a confidence thing," explained head coach Tim Segich. The kids have got to start believing. We're excited about our first tournament here; it's nice for the kids."

The next night, after Agnes Irwin handled American Christian, 59-21, in the consolation game, Little Flower pulled away from MN and won the championship, 45-27. LF went ahead in the first quarter and MN did not get on the board until about 49 seconds remaining, when Nicole Arganetto scored back-door to make the game 8-2. The teams played fairly evenly for the rest of the half and Little Flower led at the break, 18-11.

LF got itself some breathing room in the third period, though, running the lead up to 17 points, and never looked back from there.

Melissa Benson and Michelle Donnelly each finished the game with ten points; MN's Rita McKeown led her team with nine. Rogers suffered a leg injury in the third period and did not return to action.

(Sports editor Brian Gillin can be reached at sports@allaroundphilly.com.)

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