As the saying goes, when given a lemon, make lemonade. So Glenelg Country School's players are quietly thanking Friends, the team that beat them Monday, for the victory they earned Tuesday over Baltimore Lutheran.
"After the Friends game yesterday, we had to walk into today's game jut determined and wanting to win with hustle and all of our heart," said Glenelg Country School junior Hannah Harbold. Her team beat Baltimore Lutheran, 53-28, in the first round of the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland C Conference post-season tournament.
"I'm really proud of my team," said Dragon coach Dominique D'Amico. "This is the first time in a long while that Glenelg Country has hosted a first-round game and came out on top. I'm really proud. We played really good basketball as a team."
Visiting Lutheran got off to a quick start in the game, but the Dragons pulled out their ace near the end of the first quarter, going to a full-court press. They kept the pressure on in the second quarter, and forced the Saints into multiple turnovers.
"Their coach does a really good job of coaching defense," said Lutheran coach Brent Johnson. "They are a very scrappy team and they out-scrapped us. …They put a lot of pressure on the ball, which forced a lot of turnovers. We must have had 12 turnovers in the second quarter."
It wasn't quite 12, but the first nine times the Saints tried to bring the ball to their offensive end of the floor, they coughed it up before they could get a shot. Sabrina Deleonibus was often the Dragon coming up with the steal.
"Our press is unique in how it works," she said. "It's very team oriented. ...When it works, it's because we are connecting on a mental and physical level while playing basketball, and I think we did that in the second quarter."
The Dragons opened the second quarter with a 10-0 run to take the lead. They never were threatened after that.
"We executed (the press) very well, we anticipated the passes today," D'Amico said. "I feel like we played with a lot of composure and much more confidence today."
While Deja Hursey (12 points), Alexis Foxwell (10) and Harbold (10) were the Dragons' leading scorers, it was Ogechi Nwodim who helped set things up, pulling in rebounds at both ends of the court.
"She's undersized but she doesn't let that stop her. She's our workhorse," D'Amico said.
Tereza Roras was Lutheran's top scorer with 13 points.
Glenelg Country plays at St. John's Catholic Prep, the top seed in the Y Division, Tuesday afternoon in a C Conference quarterfinal game. The Dragons are the fourth seed in the X Division.
D'Amico said that St. John's is very physical and that her team will need to be equally aggressive both offensively and defensively.
"I feel like the team is really driven right now. I think the Friends loss really hurt them and they have a lot of fight in them. They aren't ready for the season to be over."
In another C Conference quarterfinal game Tuesday, Chapelgate (Y3) plays at Catholic (X2).
GCS - Hursey 12, Harbold 10, Foxwell 10, Isaacs 8, Deleonibus 7, Nwodim 6. FT: 12-18.
BL - Roras 13, Paules 6, Anna Stephens 5, Allen 4. FT: 8-14.
Halftime: Glenelg Country, 22-15.