Catonsville senior Jasmine Dickey has developed a penchant for delivering her biggest games in the biggest moments.
On Thursday night in the 4A North regional semifinals against Howard, the Comets’ leader didn’t disappoint.
Dickey scored 16 of her game-high 25 points over the final 13 minutes of the game to give Catonsville the lead and then knocked the ball away from Howard’s Marissa Sanchez-Henry as she was attempting a 3-pointer with time expiring to help lift her team to a 56-54 victory on the road.
It’s the second straight year that the Comets have knocked Howard out of the region playoffs and advances the team into a regional championship matchup against Paint Branch on Saturday.
“It was crunch time, so our intensity level had to be as high as ever and I think that’s what we did tonight,” said Dickey, who accounted for her team’s final eight points and also finished with 18 rebounds and 7 blocks on the night. “We were way more aggressive, we wanted it and we fought hard to get it.”
Catonsville (21-3) coach Mike Mohler, who secured his 500th career victory with the win, said Dickey continues to “wow” him on a daily basis.
“If there’s one thing I’ve come to know, she’s never going to stop … she’s Jasmine Dickey. That’s just who she is,” Mohler said. “I’ve said it before, she’s LeBron and she ain’t stopping. I give a lot of credit to [Howard coach] Scotty Robinson over there, who is a good coaching friend of mine … for coming in here with a great game plan and really confusing us at times. But when it came down to it, Jasmine and the rest of our girls just made plays.”
Howard (22-2), which suffered just its second loss of the season, was in it until the very last second. In a game that featured nine ties and seven lead changes, the Lions were ahead 47-45 at the end of the third quarter following a layup by Taylor Addison (14 points).
Then, even after making just one field goal during the opening seven minutes of the final quarter, Howard gave itself a chance at the end.
Madison Burris (15 points) hit a 3-pointer with just over five seconds remaining to pull the Lions within two, 56-54. Then, following a pair of missed foul shots by Jameila Barrett (9 points), Sanchez-Henry (11 points) grabbed the rebound for Howard and got to midcourt before Dickey stripped the ball away just as she was ready to attempt a final shot.
Catonsville stormed the court and celebrated by tackling Dickey to the floor.
“It was a great game, we just went through an extended stretch in the fourth quarter there where the shots weren’t falling and we seemed to be a little out of sorts for a couple minutes. But credit to [Catonsville], that’s a great team and Jasmine Dickey is an absolutely great player,” Howard coach Scott Robinson said. “Our girls played hard, it was a great season and they have nothing to hang their heads about. It’s just a shame that we are both in the same section and had to meet up at this point in the playoffs.
“They are the defending state champs for a reason and they earned the win tonight.”
In the early stages, Dickey actually was struggling a bit with her jump shot. But her teammates — particularly Gabby Douglas (14 points) — more than picked up the slack to keep the Comets going.
Douglas ended up hitting four threes on the night, including three during the first half, to help her team head into the break ahead by two, 32-30.
But once Dickey got going midway through the third quarter, she never slowed down. Of Catonsville’s final 19 points, she scored 16 of them.
The Comets now turn their attention to the next game against a Paint Branch team that defeated Blair 76-53 in its region semifinal contest on Thursday. Mohler is hoping his girls still have something left after hard-fought wins over Western on Tuesday and now Howard.
“We have one more hill to climb. I keep saying, our region here is like the Bataan Death March and it doesn’t get any easier Saturday down there at Paint Branch,” he said. “Our kids are resilient, I just hope we have a little bit left in the tank.”
Catonsville 56, Howard 54
C (21-3): Dickey 25, Douglas 14, Barrett 9, Daniels 3, Ferguson 3, McLean 2.
Ho (22-2): Burris 15, Addison 14, Sanchez-Henry 11, Furr 6, Jones 3, Eich 3, Malagar 2.
Half: 32-30 C.
Reach Brent Kennedy at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on twitter @BKBSunSports