At practice the day before, and in the locker room the day of Catonsville’s 63-22 victory in the Class 4A North Section I finals against visiting Dulaney, Catonsville coach Mike Mohler prepared his girls for the biggest game of the season.
We said, ‘This is the most important game we will play all year, right here, right, now’ and just to drive it home,” Mohler said. “We’ve been saying all along, ‘There is no Saturday unless you have a Thursday’ and the girls really took it to heart.”
They took it to heart right from the start.
Jen Gast tipped the opening tap to Jasmine Dickey and the Comet sophomore scored three seconds later igniting an 8-0 run and the Comets never looked back.
Dickey scored 19 of her game-high 25 points in the first half when the Comets (23-2) built a 35-8 lead.
“We are just coming out with high intensity and aggressive defense and just being aggressive,” Dickey said.
“We just came out and we were flying up and down that court,” Mohler added.
The whole starting squad, that included Dickey, Gast (6 points), Andrea McTaggart (8), Tiarra Horne (4) and Jameila Barrett (9), forced the Lions into eight turnovers in the first quarter with a full-court press.
Barrett also had three steals in the opening quarter and some key rebounds along with Gast.
“She [Barrett] is a defensive stalwart,” Mohler said. “She is a shutdown defender and a great rebounding guard. She plays a lot bigger than she is.”
Holding the Lions (13-10) to one shot on their offensive end was also key to getting the offense in gear.
“We felt from the first game [a 70-39 win over Dulaney in December] as long as we are rebounding we can run,” Mohler said. “We thought we had an opportunity to get some easy buckets and we did. The game is easier when you make layups.”
Dulaney’s first points came from Lydia Naughton with 5:49 left in the first quarter.
But Catonsville reserves Gabby Douglas (4 points), Staisha Daniels and Destiny Bennett (2 points) came off the bench and the Comets outscored the Lions 8-2 the rest of the quarter and extended their lead to 16-4 after eight minutes.
“We got great minutes again from Staisha, and Destiny and Gabby and all our kids,” Mohler said. “We are getting good minutes, which is good because you need the rest especially when we are going up and down like that.”
All the Comet starters rested in the fourth quarter and reserves Amber Lally (3 points) and Aakilah Barrett (2 points) got in the scorebook.
Dulaney was led by Nicole Sharpe with eight points and Rose Vail added four, along with Naughton.
After losing the past two regional championship games to Paint Branch, the Comets will try to win a Class 4A regional title on the road at Western, of Baltimore City, on Saturday, March 5.