The pulled out a thriller with center Ciara McCullagh's last minute basket to beat the Garden City Trojans 52-51 at home on Tuesday night.
The game should not have been that close as the Gladiators held a sizable lead throughout the game thanks to McCullagh's 20 points.
But the Trojans made things interesting when their star forward Barbara Sullivan came alive in the second half. She went on a tear scoring multiple layups to give the Trojans a 51-50 lead with 50 seconds left.
The Gladiators showed no signs of nervousness as they came back down the court to get the ball inside to McCullagh. The six foot center found herself open under the basket hitting a five footer to give the Gladiators the lead and the eventual victory.
Heroes: The obvious name here is McCullagh, who hit the game winning shot for the Gladiators. She scored 20 points and also grabbed 12 rebounds.
Senior forward Maria Katsoulis was instrumental in the Gladiators victory scoring 10 points and grabbing 16 boards.
Turning Point: Just as it seemed that the Gladiators were in cruise control for an easy victory, the Trojans made a game of it in the fourth quarter. Their pressure defense forced turnovers and they were able to capitalize on their offensive possessions. When the Trojans pulled in front of the Gladiators 51-50 with 50 seconds remaining, it seemed the air had gone out of the Gladiators' balloon. But they patiently made their way back down the floor and got the ball into McCullagh's hands. She did not let the team down hitting a five foot jump shot from the right side to give the Gladiators the 52-51 victory.
Quotable: "McCullagh stepped up big for us in the end," said Head Coach Hugh Flaherty. "She gave us a lot of points and rebounds."
Bottom Line: The Gladiators shot better than the Trojans did. Both teams executed equally on both sides of the floor but the Gladiator's shots were falling and several of the Trojan's weren't.
McCullagh and Katsoulis also made a big difference inside with their rebounding abilities.
Key Stats: Katsoulis had a game high 16 rebounds and McCullagh had 12 rebounds. Sophomore guard Gabriella Tomasini had 7 assists.
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