It’s no surprise when Catonsville’s Jasmine Dickey takes over a basketball game.
The senior guard-forward has been doing that for several years, so when Western closed within four points of the No. 4 Comets with less than four minutes to go in Tuesday night’s Class 4A North Section I semifinal, Dickey made sure the Doves didn’t get closer.
Dickey, who finished with 35 points and 28 rebounds, answered No. 9 Western’s run by scoring all of her team’s points in a 12-1 run that all but polished off a 61-47 Comets victory.
“It helps to have Jasmine Dickey come to the rescue, get some rebounds, make some points, make her foul shots,” Catonsville coach Mike Mohler said.
The Comets (20-3) advance to play at No. 5 Howard (22-1), a winner over Dulaney on Tuesday, for the sectional championship Thursday night. Last year, the Comets defeated Howard en route to winning the first state basketball championship in program history.
Six of Dickey’s 14 fourth-quarter points came from the free-throw line, and she said that was the plan.
“I realized that once we started attacking the basket, they had a tendency to foul us more, so my thought was to attack the basket and get everybody to attack the basket. That way we’d get on the free-throw line, make our free-throws and we’d boost up the score even more,” said Dickey, an All-Metro first-team selection last season after leading the Comets to their first state championship.
Western (18-5) scored two more field goals than Catonsville, but the Comets hit 29 of 42 free throws while the Doves hit 11 of 34.
Western missed 12 free throws in the third quarter and still made their comeback.
After Stasia Daniels fed Jameila Barrett for a 42-27 Comets lead, Mackenzie Pollard’s 3-pointer along with Western’s full-court press sparked the rally. The Comets turned the ball over 12 times as the Doves cut the lead to 47-42 with 3:48 left in the game.
“We were in foul trouble,” Mohler said, “and we ended up in a spot in the game where we only had one ballhandler on the floor and I was just praying, ‘Please, just get us out of this quarter,’ so I can get them back in. We were lucky, because they really stepped it up. They upped their pressure, so we had to do different things and our best player had a great night.”
As the Comets went to the free-throw line five times in the final five minutes — three times intentionally — two Doves fouled out.
“I just know with my girls, from the beginning of the season to now, I’ve seen a difference,” Doves coach Tasha Townsend said. “They played hard today.”
Two years ago, Western beat the Comets in the regional final and went on to the state title game before falling to Walt Whitman, the team Catonsville beat last year for the state championship.
The Comets, the highest-ranked public school team in the The Baltimore Sun’s Top 15, have lost only to No. 2 McDonogh, No. 3 Roland Park and Bishop McNamara.
This is the first year that Catonsville, Howard and Western — three of the area’s top five public school teams — have been in the same section.
W—Hawkins 3, Walton 13, Johnson 4, Pickens 4, Pollard 11, Burden 2, Rideout 8, Scruggs 2. Totals 17 11-34 37.
C—Barrett 9, Wrisk 2, Daniels 6, Douglas 8, Ferguson 1, Dickey 35. Totals 15 29-42 69. Half: C, 30-23.