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Catonsville celebrates senior night with eighth win in last nine games

Senior Maddi McLean gets ready to score two of her team-high 12 points in the Comets' 45-33 win over Franklin on senior night.
Senior Maddi McLean gets ready to score two of her team-high 12 points in the Comets' 45-33 win over Franklin on senior night. (Craig Clary / BSMG)

Catonsville head coach Mike Mohler had coached for over two decades and during every pregame locker room talk before senior night he knows he is going to same reaction.

“In 26 years, I haven’t missed a season yet, where we don’t shed a tear in the locker room,” Mohler said.

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The emotions before Friday night’s 45-33 victory over Franklin extended the streak of streaming tears.

It also was the eighth win in the last nine games for the streaking Comets (13-7).

The seniors honored before and after the game included 4-year varsity player Maddi McLean, 3-year varsity players Sophi Wrisk and Kolby Weedon, along with Rianna Saunders and Kaiya Watkins-Brent.

Watkins-Brent couldn’t play against the Indians because of a knee injury, but the other quartet delivered in fine fashion.

McLean scored 12 points and Saunders added 10. Wrisk and Weedon combined for 10 steals as the Comets forced 30 turnovers.

Catonsville senior Kolby Weedon waits for a rebound in the Comets' 45-33 win over Franklin on senior night.
Catonsville senior Kolby Weedon waits for a rebound in the Comets' 45-33 win over Franklin on senior night. (Craig Clary / BSMG)

Franklin was led by junior Kelly Ceroll (13 points) and sophomore Jasmin Spruill (10).

Catonsville struggled early as they matched Franklin’s eight first-quarter turnovers with eight of its own. That forced Mohler to call a time out with 4:10 left in the first quarter and a 7-4 lead. He rested some of his senior starters and settled down his team.

“I think the first quarter we were a little riled up and we were a little emotional before the game,” McLean said. “Coach called a time out and he was like get the emotions out, we know how to play our game and let’s just go out there and do it, so that’s what we had to do.”

Catonsville senior Sophi Wrisk gets ready to drive on Franklin's Takiah Cheathon in the Comets' 45-33 senior night victory.
Catonsville senior Sophi Wrisk gets ready to drive on Franklin's Takiah Cheathon in the Comets' 45-33 senior night victory. (Craig Clary / BSMG)

They outscored the Indians 9-4 the rest of the quarter with a spark from some underclassmen.

Ashley Dickey fed Saunders to bump the lead to 9-5 and McLean added two free throws.

Junior Jen Lewis got a steal and fast-break basket with 1:02 left and added a free throw and assist to Amber McDevitt with seven seconds left as the Comets took a 16-8 lead into the second quarter.

“She (Lewis) is really playing well, she has a great basketball IQ and she gives you everything that she can all the time,” Mohler said. “She really knows how to play and she’s got great anticipation.”

McLean took over underneath in the second quarter by scoring eight of the Comets 10 points.

She also three blocked shots in the first half, but admitted it was tough getting started after the pregame realization of senior night.

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“It definitely was (emotional), in the locker room before the game, coach kind of sat us all down and after we did our pregame talk with what plays we were going to run, he kind of took us individually and talked about each senior and that’s when everyone started crying,” McLean said. “So we kind of got all those emotions out before, and we kind of just came together and everyone played for each other for our last home game.”

A young Franklin squad that has only one senior in the starting lineup refused to wilt in the second quarter.

Sparked by four points each by Ceroll and Spruill and three from Takiah Cheathon, the Indians pulled within four, 24-20 in the final two minutes.

Another assist by Lewis to McDevitt with seven seconds left in the half gave the Comets a 26-20 lead.

Mohler had a message for his amped-up emotional squad at halftime.

“Everybody was trying to do something that they don’t normally do and I said ‘Guys, just relax, play your game,’” he said. “The emotion of the night takes a lot out of the kids. They all want to do so well and I want them to do well and when you start pressing and you are trying to do that, it just gets frustrating for them.”

Catonsville senior Rianna Saunders plays defense in the Comets' 45-33 triumph over Franklin on senior night.
Catonsville senior Rianna Saunders plays defense in the Comets' 45-33 triumph over Franklin on senior night. (Craig Clary / BSMG)

A half-court trap proved to be the perfect tonic in the third quarter.

Catonsville forced 12 turnovers and outscored the Indians 11-4 in the quarter, lifting them to a 37-24 lead.

“I think they were watching more than they were playing,” Franklin coach Denikwa James said. “We talked about it at halftime, that the trap was coming and every time we would come to the corners the trap was coming, but as a young team missing one of our guards, that hurt also.”

Franklin was without sophomore guard T’asiah Smith (concussion).

All four seniors scored in the third quarter for the Comets with Saunders, known for her defensive intensity, getting the most (four points).

“She plays so hard all the time and like I said in the pregame she usually plays their best player,” Mohler said. “She is a really good defensive player and she plays bigger than her 5-7 frame, she is just tough.”

Wrisk and Weedon were also creating defensive havoc with two steals each in the quarter.

That’s not surprising for Weedon, who seems to catch the eye of her coach every day.

“She jumps out of the gym, she does all the little things, she’s our unsung hero, there is no question,” Mohler said. “The things that she does amazes me on a daily basis.”

Sophomore Ashley Dickey (0 points) made a layup with 3:18 remaining in the quarter and although the Comets didn’t score the rest of the quarter, they held Franklin to two points and led 37-24 at the break.

Dickey added four more points in the fourth quarter and Catonsville stretched its lead to 17, 45-28, but Franklin closed with five straight points from Ceroll for the final margin.

“I like to keep fighting and that’s my motto to keep fighting, never give up,” Franklin coach James said.

Franklin’s 33 points was the most the Comets have allowed to a losing team during their eight wins in nine games.

In the only loss, 44-38 to defending county and state champion Pikesville on Wednesday, they held the Panthers to 14 first-half points and led 24-14.

But the players, especially the seniors won’t remember how good the defense or who scored the most points on senior night.

They will laugh about things like the final practice the day before senior night.

“We played kickball to make it fun,” McLean said. “Like, one last fun practice before our final home game and that was just a really fun memory that we all are going to remember, just coming together and than we kind of realized that it is coming to an end, so we are just trying to make every game so special to play.”

Scoring

Catonsville 45

Maddi McLean 12, Rianna Saunders 10, Ashley Dickey 9, Amber McDevitt 4, Sophi Wrisk 4, Kolby Weedon 3, Jen Lewis 3.

Franklin 32

Kelly Ceroll 13, Jasmin Spruill 10, Takiah Cheatum 7, Jocelyn De Moss 2, Kiersten Hartman 1.

Halftime: Catonsville 26 Franklin 20

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