ST. PETERSBURG — At halftime against Academy of the Holy Names, St. Petersburg Catholic was in need of a spark. After a quick start, the Barons were was held scoreless in the second quarter and trailed by 13.
Then Annie Artise took over.
The senior captain scored a game-high 21, 18 in the second half, to lead her team past the Jaguars 47-45 Thursday. It was SPC’s second win this season over AHN.
“Annie Artise stood up tonight,” Barons coach Nick Vandewalle said. “She put us on her back. She literally carried us. She showed us that heart I asked them to show in the locker room.”
The SPC locker room was not a nice place to be after the first half. The Jaguars (14-3) started slowly and trailed 8-0 in the first quarter. Then shots started to fall and they cut the deficit to one heading into the second quarter.
AHN’s defense was outstanding in the second quarter, frustrating the Barons, while the offense went on a 14-point run to grab at 27-14 halftime lead. Baskets came mostly inside on layups from Sarah Davis, Victoria Martinez and Ashley McWilliams. Martinez finished with 15 points, while McWilliams had 12 and Davis 11.
“Academy turned up the pressure on us and we blinked a couple times,” Vandewalle said. “I told them that the defense was going to put pressure on us, so we can do one of two things: We either stand up and look them in the eye, or we go home.”
Artise went right to work in the third quarter, scoring eight straight points to cut the lead to 27-22.
SPC went on a 6-0 run early in the fourth, and with 1:32 left an Artise layup tied the game at 45. The Barons (15-3) took the lead on single free throws by Michelle Halapio and Brittney Dunbar.
“We needed to step it up,” Artise said. “We all did that as a team in the second half.”
For the Jaguars, it was a matter of going cold at the wrong time.
“A lot of it was just execution,” AHN coach Melissa Ganther said. “We just didn’t stick to what we were doing. We played hard, but we just couldn’t get the shots to fall late in the game.”