Close-knit Catonsville girls basketball squad bonds on and off the court

It took three seconds for three of the seven senior girls honored at Catonsville High on senior night to make their presence felt against Franklin.

Senior Stashia Daniels won the opening tap and directed it to classmate Jasmine Dickey and she assisted senior Jameila Barrett for the first basket with 7:57 left in the quarter.

Barrett scored another layup 11 seconds later on her way to a game-high 30 points in the Comets’ 75-35 victory.

Dickey added 15 points and Daniels contributed nine points and seven blocked shots.

They were joined in the starting lineup by seniors Bailie Grace and Cerenity Chambers.

Chambers scored nine points and Grace added some tough rebounds and pesky defense.

Seniors Alicia Buck and Naomi Alford also saw action in the first half.

Catonsville (17-3) built a 25-6 lead after one quarter when Barrett had 13 points.

By halftime, Barrett had 23 points and the lead expanded to 47-18.

They cruised the rest of the way and celebrated the historic night getting pictures taken with their encased basketballs.

Dominique Doss led the Indians (8-7) with 11 points.

“It’s the best we’ve done energy-wise in three weeks,” said Catonsville coach Mike Mohler after the Feb. 9 game. “We really came to play and it was good to see. That’s the way we need to play.”

Mohler, who coached the Comets to the state championship last year, admitted senior night wasn’t any easier in his 24th year as head coach, especially with four-year varsity players Dickey, Barrett and Daniels in their final seasons.

“The locker room was really tough,” Mohler said. “When those three, Stashia, Jameila and Jasmine came here, it moved us to a new level. We got to play with the big boys and we were a legit team, a state championship team.”

Mohler, who has guided the Comets to 496 wins, recalled the day he found out the trio was coming to Catonsville.

“Basketball-wise, it was one of the happiest days I’ve ever had, when they said they were coming to Catonsville and believe me, when that final buzzer goes off, there will be some tears,” he said.

Dickey, who has committed to play college basketball at Division I Delaware University, scored her 1,000th and 1,500th points last year, but after the game she wanted to talk about her teammates.

“We hang out like every weekend, our chemistry is definitely there,” Dickey said. “That’s something that you can’t take away from us.”

Dickey was named to the All-County team her first three years and All-Metro squad the past two seasons.

After averaging 23.8 points and 9.7 rebounds last year she won the 2017 Miss Basketball award which is given to best public school player in the state of Maryland.

This year, she is averaging nearly 19 points a game, but against Franklin her biggest asset was grabbing defensive rebounds and quickly getting the ball down the court to Barrett for fast-break layups.

“Jameila knows she’s getting 30 because Jasmine is getting the ball off the boards and getting out and passing the ball,” Mohler said.

It was Barrett’s second game in the past three when she scored at least 30 points.

On Jan. 31, she scored 39 points in a 75-26 victory over Randallstown and her 39th point was also her 1,000th in her career.

But, scoring points was not what excited Barrett the most.

It was the pre-game speech delivered about her by sophomore Maddi McLean.

“I did get very emotional, especially since Maddi did my speech, she came in as a freshman and I really like mentored her, so she was really like a big part of the growing process of the team and just me becoming a leader,” said Barrett, who will play at Division I Norfolk St. next year.

Once the game started, Barrett, who averages 17 points a game, was all business. She scored the first four points of the first quarter in 14 seconds and the last nine in the final two minutes.

“I think the energy was definitely great tonight and I think we are just going to keep pushing as the playoffs get closer,” Barrett said.

Classmates Daniels and Buck had plenty of energy before the game and at halftime.

“We danced a lot in the locker room,” said the 6-foot-2 Daniels.

At halftime, Daniels, who said she has dunked a basketball before, attempted three dunks during warmups and later in the game she lost the grip on another attempted dunk.

Coach Mohler was more impressed with her seven blocked shots and nine points.

“When Stashia came off the court I said, ‘Stashia where have you been,’ ” Mohler said. “I haven’t seen that since last year’s championship game and she just smiled and I’m like that’s you.”

Daniels enjoyed the night’s the festivities.

“I wasn’t emotional, I was just happy,” she said.

The opposite was true for Buck.

“I was a little emotional,” said Buck, who came into the game earlier than usual and appreciated it.

“It was fun to play with Stashia and Jameila and Jasmine,” Buck said.

Fun has also been the theme of the team on and off the court.

“It’s definitely a family thing,” Barrett said. Everybody just clicks. Everybody is open tochange and we are all just open to growing as a team and just playing for each other. We go out there and we play for each other.”

Coach Mohler, whose squad defeated Western Tech, 83-38, on Monday night and closes the season at home on Feb. 14 against Milford Mill, agrees.

“This is the closest bonding team. This team is so close,” Mohler said. “They have get togethers every weekend and they enjoy each other’s company. It’s a delight. All the egos are checked at the door and they just get along, which is really, really nice.”

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