CHERRY HILL – Sometimes Mary Kelly faces an extra challenge to get ready for game day.
The Haddonfield Memorial High School senior spoke about how she sometimes suffers from migraine headaches, and her hope is they don’t strike here before games.
Unfortunately for Kelly that was not the case on Saturday.
Kelly’s head ached as the Haddonfield girls basketball team prepared to meet Barnegat for a chance to advance in the South Jersey Group 2 tournament.
However, she was able to ward off the pain by hitting a bunch of early mid-range jump shots to carry the Bulldawgs to a 48-26 victory Saturday in a game played at Cherry Hill West High School.
Kelly scored 16 points in a victory that gave her team a chance to win its first South Jersey title since Jackie Mulligan took over as head coach four year ago.
They will face No. 1 seed and state power Manchester Township on Tuesday for the title.
“I get migraines and I had one today,” Kelly said. “It sounds funny, but sometimes when I’m out on the court it feels better, rather than sitting on the bench and thinking about it.”
According to Mulligan, Kelly was in so much distress the coach considered pulling her out of the game at halftime.
But Kelly was able to get some relief in the locker room.
“I use an inhaler and my mother brought it to me,” she said. “After that I felt better.”
Ironically, Kelly did most of her damage to Barnegat while she was under duress.
She connected for four baskets in the first quarter and she scored 15 points in the first half. By then the Bulldawgs were already up 18-10, and Barnegat posed no threat in the second half.
When Kelly’s scoring output dropped off, others picked up for her.
Freshman guard Keegan Douglass, for example, scored 15 of her 17 points in the second half with eight of them coming from the foul line in the fourth quarter.
Annie Stanton added 10 points, all but one of them coming in the second half.
“I liked the way we picked up for each other,” said Mulligan. “When Mary stopped scoring, Annie and Keegan took over.”
Thanks primarily to Kelly, Barengat was never in contention.
She scored eight of her team’s nine points in the first quarter, and they added two more baskets and three free throws in the second quarter.
At that point Kelly had scored all but three of her team’s points.
Haddonfield got other players involved in the third quarter, mostly Douglass, whose 3-point goal and basket contributed to a 10-3 spurt that ended with the Bulldawgs up by 15.
The fourth quarter turned into a free throw shooting contest as the Bulldawgs picked up 13 of their 20 points from the line.
SJ Group 2 Semifinal
Barnegat 5 5 7 10-27
Haddonfield 9 9 10 20-48
B: Jada Baker 2, Gimaluce Brown 2, Shannon McCoy 19, Madiline Scott 2, Nikki Lozto 2
H: Layden Ay 2, Ashley Campo 1, NAtalie Depersia 2, Keegan Douglass 17, Mary Kelly 16, Annie Stanton 10.