The two teams that have provided most of the headlines in girls’ Catholic League basketball so far this season met on Jan. 18. It is a good bet that they will eventually meet in the championship about six weeks from now.

In a hard-fought contest that wasn’t decided until the fourth quarter, defending champion Neumann-Goretti upended visiting Cardinal O’Hara, 62-56, and raised its Catholic League winning streak to 36. Overall, the Saints are 15-0 and 5-0 in league play. O’Hara dropped to 12-2, 6-1.

“We know that they will be our top competition,” said N-G’s Alisha Kebbe. “We will have to bring our best game all the time because every team wants to beat us.”

Kebbe scored a team-high 18 points. Teammates Kamiah Smalls (13), Chyna Nixon (9), Jabria Ingram (8) and Jada Russell (8) balanced the scoring. For O’Hara, Mackenzie Gardler poured in 19 and Mary Sheehan added 18.

The Lions became the first team to lead the Saints after one quarter, but their 14-13 edge quickly fell apart as N-G went on a 20-9 tear to lead 33-23 at halftime. O’Hara refused to succumb to N-G’s intimidating speed and pressure, but it wasn’t enough to provide an upset victory.


John Knebels can be reached at