In danger of starting the season with two consecutive losses in IAAM C Conference play, the Glenelg Country girls basketball squad knew it was time to jump on the throttle.
Midway through the third quarter against Howard County rival Chapelgate (0-1), the Dragons’ lead had been diminished to single digits.
That’s when the visitors decided to implement the 2-2-1 press—something they had worked on in practice, but had not yet mastered.
The scheme change paid off, and the Dragons’ margin of victory was never in jeopardy again.
Glenelg Country (1-0) rolled the rest of the game, claiming a 44-24 win over the Yellowjackets Monday evening in Marriottsville.
“Basketball is a game of runs, and we were able to weather that one fortunately,” said coach Ed Conroy. “There were some adjustments we were having to make on the fly…I think we got better every quarter.”
Point guard Sabrina DeLeonibus and forward Alayna Newsome (11 points) connected on a number of scoring opportunities throughout the game. Though missed shots came in bunches for both squads, Conroy said it was clear that progress is being made.
“I’d love if our shooting percentage went up,” he said. “But, the shots that they did hit were perfect. They were in the right spot at the right time, making the right choices.”
The coach’s choice to go with the 2-2-1 press allowed the offense to develops well, according to DeLeonibus.
“The defense was the main key of getting our offense going,” said the junior, who notched 13 points and two assists in the win. “Mallory Pappas and Ka’Mari (Robinson) got us the steals to get our offense moving. Once that happened, the buckets started falling.”
Pappas and Robinson contributed on offense as well, scoring eight points each. Pappas also added four assists.
In the first half, controlling the pace was a concern for both squads, especially since the game remained scoreless for the first three minutes of play.
Containing Chapelgate’s Courtney Hayes became a challenge for the Dragons, as the guard nailed two 3-pointers before the first quarter came to a close.
“When she’s hot, she’s hot,” said Yellowjackets’ coach Jason Bennett of Hayes’ flurry of shots behind the arc. “It was definitely helpful for us.”
Hayes finished with nine points on three triples. The senior even ran point guard on occasion to give the Dragons different looks.
Senior guard Christina VanWingerden added seven points and two assists for Chapelgate as well.
Still, once Glenelg Country got rolling, it was difficult for the Yellowjackets to keep up. The Dragons never trailed in the contest, hardly feeling any pressure as the final minutes of the fourth quarter came to a close.
Though most of the Chapelgate players had their opponents beat in size, Bennett said defense was an issue they would need to work on.
“We have some holes to fill,” he said. “The girls need to understand when to switch formations…so they don’t need to hear it from coaches every time. That just comes with experience. The more we play, the more they will realize these things.”
Conroy said he was pleased with the way his team rebounded after dropping the season opener to Friends, 32-27.
“They played a complete game, which is really big for us,” he said.
The Dragons will face Gerstell on Thursday, while the Yellowjackets will welcome Garrison Forest on Friday.