By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
St. Vincent, the hottest team in the North Central League II, continued its winning ways Friday night with a 54-48 road victory over Roseland Prep.
It was the eighth consecutive league triumph for the Mustangs and kept them one game behind Sonoma Academy. Those two teams meet Tuesday night in Petaluma. The Coyotes are the last team to beat St. Vincent, on Jan. 4.
Roseland Prep also owns a league win over St. Vincent. On Jan. 2, a 3-point shot at the buzzer doomed the Mustangs as they fell, 45-44.
Determined not to have Friday’s game go to the wire again, St. Vincent led by as many as 11 points in the fourth quarter.
“That loss at the buzzer was the toughest beat I’ve experienced in three years at St. Vincent,” coach Jim Fagundes said. “We trailed by 14 at one point and rallied to get the lead only to lose at the end.”
Fagundes told his team that to turn the tables, they needed to do two things.
“We had to get back on defense and slow Roseland down at the point,” he said. “Also, we had to match their aggressiveness on the boards.”
Fagundes’ players followed instructions, consistently getting back on defense and holding their own rebounding. With those two phases of the game under control, the offense did the rest.
Shooting guard Grace Jennings led the way with 18 points and Ursyla Baumgarten was right behind with 17.
“They were key for us in all areas,” Fagundes said of the pair. “Also, Rebecca Dodele did a heck of a job at point guard.”
Dodele took over the position this year and as she became accustomed to the role, her team began winning.
Roseland’s only lead was 23-22 a minute into the third quarter. Oshaya Moges, who made the 3-pointer to sink St. Vincent last month, drained another trey.
Following that basket, the Mustangs went on an 11-0 run. Jennings led the charge by making three layups.
Roseland never recovered.
Liz Nunez led the Knights with 11 points, one more than Jaque Melendez.
Roseland made 16-of-51 shots from the field while St. Vincent connected on 21-of-60.
The game was played in front of a standing-room only crowd at Sheppard School.
St. Vincent, which doesn’t have a senior on the team, is now 14-5 and 7-2 in league.
The Knights are 12-6 and 7-2. They travel to Tomales on Tuesday.