After winning the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference girls basketball title last season, some of Archbishop Spalding's veterans figured it wouldn't be too hard to repeat — until McDonogh showed them otherwise just before Christmas.
The No. 4 Cavaliers learned a valuable lesson with that loss, and the change of attitude fostered success in their next conference game as they rolled over No. 8 Roland Park, 84-48, Wednesday night.
"That changed everything," Cavaliers senior Camille Calhoun said of the 56-39 home-court loss to No. 3 McDonogh on Dec. 15.
"We needed that because we were thinking we were too good for everyone. I thought, 'Seniors gone. It's cool. We've got Torri [Chestnut]. We've got Leah [Epps]. We've got two transfers, two freshmen. Oh, yeah, we'll be killing this year.' It hasn't gone our way that much, but with the squad that we have, we can go places. We've just got to keep working hard like we did today."
Spalding used its superior quickness and a trapping press to wreak havoc on the visiting Reds, who turned the ball over 36 times. Midway through the first quarter, the Reds were within 10-8, but the Cavaliers scored the next 21 points.
The Reds, who got 26 points from Daisy Alaeze, could not break the press and struggled inside, where the Cavaliers had a 38-20 advantage on the boards.
"The first couple minutes, when we struggled and we couldn't handle the pressure, it just kind of snowballed," Reds coach Scott Buckley said, "and we bought into it. I think our older kids handled it fine, but the pressure just really got to us."
Roland Park (7-5, 2-2 conference) turned the ball over seven times during Spalding's 21-point run, and the Cavaliers converted five of them.
Chestnut, who finished with 20 points, scored 10 in less than a minute as she stole a pass and beat the buzzer to end the first quarter, then hit two 3-pointers and converted another steal in the first 57 seconds of the second quarter to help boost the Cavaliers' lead to 31-8. Two minutes into the second half, her layup off a feed from Rachael Griffith increased the lead to 30, and it would reach 40 by the end of the third quarter.
"The way we played today is the way we need to play every single game," Chestnut said. "That is how we can win, and we probably can do better than that."
Calhoun had 17 points and 10 rebounds while Jade Sciafe added 16 points and Kaila Clark had 11 for the Cavaliers (8-5, 3-1).
RP—Reese 2, Alaeze 26, Edwards 8, Kelly 3, Clay 5, Whitehurst 4. Totals 15 14-20 48.
AS—K.Clark 11, Makins 9, Sciafe 16, Chestnut 20, Epps 6, Griffith 5, Calhoun 17. Totals 34 9-15 84.
Half: AS, 35-20.