Day 1 SPC

Sam Chambers
Never pretenders, Mavericks contend until the end of day one at the Winter SPC games in Dallas.
St. John’s drew the early dance card for opening round games. In the first hour of competition from 9:00-10:00 a.m., three Maverick teams would hit the floor, grass, and turf. 27 Mavericks at a time put their best foot forward starting with Boys’ Basketball vs. St. Mark’s Lions in Phillips Gym at The Greenhill School, where the “Cha-Cha Slide” was booming during warm ups.
St. John’s however, wasn't feeling the music and quickly fell behind to St. Mark’s 4-1. The Lions led 11-6 until Justise Winslow ’14 ignited the Mavericks for a score, and one, on the foul shot. Seven unanswered points for St. John’s gave them a 13-11 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Lions exchanged baskets in the second and took the halftime lead 28-27 as time expired.  Winslow tied it up at 30 in the third and St. John’s pulled away by as much as 14 for a 63-52 first round win.
“It is always tough playing in the morning,” said Risher Randall ’14. “It took a while, and once we got going we got into our game and started to break their press.”
“We got the first one and now we need to move on,” said Wes Wallace ’14.
Meanwhile Maverick Girls’ Soccer was south on Midway battling the Hockaday Daisies, the SPC North number one seed.   Absent from the D1 division since 2009, St. John’s played liked contenders. Goalie Winnie Brandfield-Harvey ’16 (5 saves) kept it close and Taylor Welch ’15 found the net late in the first half for a St. John’s 1-0 lead at the break. Hockaday answered in the first seven minutes of the second half, taking the lead on two scores and finding a third late in the game for a 3-1 victory.
“It is a step in the right direction,” said Head Coach Rachel Fabre. “We accomplished two of our goals—beating Kinkaid, and qualifying for D1.”
For the second year in a row, Maverick Boys’ Soccer, the SPC South D1 fourth seed, drew the ESD Eagles, the North #1 team. Last year St. John’s held on for a penalty kick victory over the Eagles in Houston.
With the wind at their back the Mavericks kept the Eagles out of the net for a scoreless first half, but early in the second, ESD converted on a pk and found the net two more times for a 3-0 win.
“The penalty kick took the wind out of our sails,” said assistant coach Jim Murphy ’83.
“The boys played well and we will regroup and get ready for the next one,” said Head Coach George Turley.
Maverick Girls’ Basketball drew the matinee with a 1:30 p.m. tip off against Trinity Valley. St. John’s pulled away for a 48-30 first round win setting up a semi-final match up against the Dutch of Tulsa’s Holland Hall in the last game of the day. Captain Amanda Leavell ’13 set the tone for St. John’s with two early steals and scores giving St. John’s a 7-2 lead over Holland Hall.   Patient play and a zone defense from the Tulsa team stymied the Mavericks until Robby Rybarczyk ’13 got in the three point groove to help put St. John’s up 26-22 at the half.
Turnovers and second chance points gave the Dutch a 32-30 lead until Isabelle Metz ’14 sank a three and put the Mavericks up 34-32 at the end of the third quarter.
A Leavell lay up and free throws by co-captains Lauren Lockett ’13 and Briana Williams ’13 kept St. John’s ahead, but the Dutch took the lead 43-40 and hung on for the win as Bri’s last second three point attempt glanced off the rim. St. John’s plays Houston Christian for third place at noon today at the Hockaday School.
Both Maverick Soccer teams drew John Cooper School in their second round games of the day, taking the Dragons to the limit but falling just short. The girls lost 2-1 and will play St. Andrew’s at 9:30 a.m. (ESD) for 7th place. The boys lost in pk’s and play Holland Hall for 7th place also at 9:30 a.m. (Greenhill).
Boys’ Basketball took off in their second round semi-final game against Houston Christian. St. John’s went up 10-3 with four minutes to go in the first quarter. A dunk by Winslow off an inbound pass from Randall sent the St. John’s fans in a frenzy as the Mavericks took a 21-13 lead midway in the second quarter.
The Mustangs, who defeated the North #1 seed All Saints 95-71earlier in the day, pulled within one at the half, and took a 32-29 lead midway in the third quarter.
“We struggled offensively, but our foundation is built on defense and rebounding and our D held us in the game,” said Head Coach Harold Baber. “Kory Haywood ’13 and Yusef Chabatya ’13 came up with some big three pointers.”
“I wasn’t feeling it in the last game,” said Haywood. “Justise was the man early on and we had to step up and help him out down the stretch.”
Haywood sunk a three for 41-35 Maverick lead late in the third period, and at the start of the fourth he set up Winslow on a dish and dunk to put St. John’s up 48-35.   The Mustangs would make another run but it would not be enough as St. John’s goes to the finals for the third year in a row. Tip off is 3:00 p.m. at Greenhill versus Houston Episcopal, the only SPC team to defeat the Mavericks this season.
Everybody clap your hands!

Sam Chambers- Athletic News