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Girls basketball: Catonsville rides defense, inside game to win over Dulaney

A few hours before host Catonsville defeated Dulaney, 53-34 on Friday night, Comet coach Mike Mohler called senior Rachel Schwaab the "Cal Ripken of Catonsville basketball."

Schwaab was in danger of missing some game action when she sprained her ankle two weeks earlier, but the coach didn't let her practice and she heeled just fine and responded with a perfect shooting game.

It was the 76th straight game for the Comet 'iron woman' since she made the varsity as a freshman.

She celebrated by going 6-for-6 from the field for 12 points and adding four rebounds and three assists.

Sophomore Taylor Barton added 19 points and a team-high nine rebounds as the Comets (13-1) used their inside strength to overcome 26 turnovers and only 4 of 23 shooting from beyond the three-point line.

Dulaney (6-6) got a solid rebuttal in the paint from senior forward Kathy Albornoz (17 points, 9 rebounds.

Albornoz made 9 of 13 free throws, but the rest of the Lions were only 7 of 18 from the charity stripe.

"One of our goals was to get them into the double bonus and keep pounding it and we were going to score some way," Dulaney coach Jessica Szymanski said. "Our foul shooting wasn't as good as I anticipated since we work on it every day, but in a game like this it's going to come down to who can put the ball in the basket the most and unfortunately we weren't able to do that."

Despite first-half foul trouble from Catonsville starters Schwaab, Deb Milani and Maddie Hunt, the Comets still pulled away from a 25-16 halftime lead.

They forced 34 Dulaney turnovers and held them to only 26 percent shooting from the floor (9-for-34).

"The way we play makes you play," Catonsville coach Mike Mohler said. "If you don't play, you are going to be in trouble because we are going to make you run up and down the court,"

Catonsville's press and trapping defense comes in waves and they have the depth to sustain it.

When the Comets pulled all five of it starters slightly past the midway point of the first quarter, they struggled offensively, but held the Lions to only four points the rest of the quarter.

Seven different Comets had steals.

Junior Deb Milani (7 steals) led the way while Schwaab and Breya Wallace (3 each), Lauren McDonald and Kayla Gibson (2 each) and Maddie Hunt and Taylor Skidmore (1 each) all joined the pilfer club.

Dulaney showed off some defensive wizardry of its own as Courtney Jantzen, Ellie Mathey and Sara Dorl each had three steals.

They didn't turn the steals into enough points.

Seven other Lions combined for half of the 34 points.

Despite the shooting woes, Szymanski praised her young team's desire after suffering back-to-back losses by big margins to Hereford and Franklin.

"They played their hearts out," Szymanski said. "They dove for every single ball and I can't ask for anything more than that. They gave 100 percent."

The coach was also glad to see Albornoz bounce back after a pair of tough games.

"She definitely stepped up and that's what we were looking for," Szymanski said.

"That no. 23 (Albornoz) was really tough inside," Mohler said.

Schwaab agreed, but was happy the way her post teammates responded.

"It was a physical, but we were all ready to play since it was Dulaney and it's kind of a rival and everyone stepped up and played tough," Schwaab said.

Nobody knows more about being tough than Schwaab.

"She is key. She is critical," Mohler said.

Scoring summary

Catonsville (53): Taylor Barton 19, Rachel Schwaab 12, Deb Milani 5, Kayla Gibson 4, Maddie Hunt 3, Lauren McDonald 3, Danielle Francy 3, Breya Wallace 3, Maddie Schwaab 1.

Dulaney (34): Kathy Albornoz 17, Courtney Jantzen 4, Nia Marrow 4, Ellie Mathey 2, Sara Dorl 2, Kelsey Swanson 2, Katie Russo 2, Shannon McKew 1.

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