PROVIDENCE — The drama from Mount St. Charles Academy’s Division II postseason opener was nowhere to be found in the Mounties’ quarterfinal-round game against Mount Hope High on Sunday night.
Senior forward Maria Saia’s game-high 21 points, eight rebounds, and three steals led the charge for the Mounties as they cruised to a 56-34 victory over the Huskies at Rhode Island College’s Murray Center.
The Mounties, who needed a late seven-point run to break a 45-45 draw and avoid an upset bid by Warwick Vets High, the last seed from the South, in last week’s preliminary round, turned in a much better effort against the Huskies that left a smile on the face of MSC coach Nina Morey.
“In our last game, we didn’t come out and play well,” said Morey. “It wasn’t one of our better games. I was hoping that was a fluke, and tonight, we came out and played like themselves.”
The Mounties, who also received 10 points from Lauren Mallon, had their way in the paint with the smaller Huskies (the South’s fourth seed) and received big games on the boards from Mallon (nine rebounds), Saia, and Noreen Mulledy (eight boards).
Mulledy and Paige LaBreche also added eight points each to the attack, and Adriana Maurano dished out a half dozen assists.
The game was actually a back-and-forth contest for the first 5½ minutes, but the Mounties used a 10-point run, fueled by a pair of three-pointers by LaBreche, to claim an 18-8 lead.
Point guard Mara Newland, who led the Huskies with 11 points, ended that run with a three-pointer. But a pair of free throws, followed by a reverse layup by Mallon kicked off another big run that gave the winners a 30-14 command with a little over two minutes left in the first half.
At the half, the Mounties held a 34-18 lead, and layups by Alyssa Rossi and Saia in the opening stages of the second half gave the winners their first 20-point cushion and firm control of the outcome.
The Mounties, who won the Division II-North regular-season crown and are now 21-1, will now take on Rogers High, the second seed from the South, in Wednesday’s 8 p.m. semifinal back at RIC.
The Vikings punched their ticket to the ‘Final Four’ by posting a thrilling 54-51 victory over East Greenwich High, the upset-minded sixth seed from the South.
“They’re a very good team,” Morey said of the Vikings. “We saw a little bit of them before our game, so we know it’s going to be a tough game.”
Johnston High, the North’s second seed who split their regular-season series with the Mounties, and the Prout School, the Division II-South champion, will play each other in the 6 p.m. opener.