Towson coach Jen Hahn has a starting five that includes two seniors, two sophomores and a freshman, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have high expectations.
“We are still growing as a team, we are young, but this is definitely a team that could go real far,” Hahn said, after the host Generals defeated Dulaney, 45-18, on Wednesday night.
The victory improved the Generals to 4-1, while the Lions fell to 2-3.
Towson sophomore Ava Marsgilia had a game-high 16 points and senior Anna Lucas had a double-double (13 points, 10 rebounds), along with five steals, four assists and a blocked shot.
Sophomore Starlette Franklin added eight points, eight rebounds and five blocked shots and freshman Leslie Howe had four points, four assists and five rebounds for the Generals.
Dulaney’s Maggie Else (six points) and Amalia Hobbs (four points) led the Lions, who played without leading scorer Samantha White (shoulder injury).
The loss of White, who scored 25 points in a season-opening 44-38 win over Maryvale, has created a scoring dilemma for the Lions.
“We did a really good job as a team that game (Maryvale) , we played really, really good team defense,” Dulaney coach Jessica Szymanski said. “Team defense really helped us and obviously 25 points contributed by Sammy is a huge contribution.”
Against the Lions, Towson raced to a 13-7 first-quarter lead on the strength of six points and four rebounds from Franklin and five points from Marsiglia.
Dulaney got an early trey from Else and four points, three rebounds and an assist off the bench from Hobbs.
Another three-pointer by Else and a layup by Ally Carter pulled the Lions within one, 13-12, early in the second quarter.
But, a three-pointer by Marsiglia with 4:02 left in the half started a 15-0 run that lasted until a free throw by Marianna Alverogiannis broke the ice with 5:12 left in the third quarter, making it 28-13.
The Generals outscored the Lions 17-5 the rest of the way and cruised to victory.
Lucas credited the run to solid defense.
“I think all around we had a really good defensive game and everyone was talking and shifting really nicely and we knew where we needed to be when and who was going to shoot and stuff and I think that really helped us,” she said.
Lucas had three steals and a blocked shot and Franklin had three blocked shots in the second quarter.
Dulaney didn’t make a field goal during that scoreless span and they went 4-for-17 from the foul line during the game.
That’s a stat Szymanski would rather not hear.
“Our biggest problem right now is just putting the ball in the basket, I don’t even want to know what we were from the free throw line,” she said.
A layup by Annie Lodge with 3:12 left in the third quarter broke the field-goal scoring drought for the Lions, who played spirited defense and used their bench despite their deficit.
“We have been preaching when your number is called bring something to the table,” Szymanski said. “The positives I think is that our seniors stepped up and took the ball to the basket, I had some people come in off the bench that were feisty on the boards, so I think that’s a positive that we take away from it.”
The positives and reason for Towson’s early success began off the court.
“I think it’s because we are like so close as a team, we do stuff like team sleepovers and we hang out whenever we can and it just transfers to the court,” Lucas said. “We just have such a good team chemistry and we love each other so much.”
Lucas was a freshman on varsity when her older sister Audra was on the team and she knows what it takes to make everyone mesh.
“We have such a good young team and although we are young we still work really well together,” said Lucas, who is part of a starting senior tandem with Kendall Fragetta.
Lucas feels like she has a bond with the underclassmen.
“Especially the freshmen because I was once in their position and it gets like really nerve-wracking, but I feel like I’m here to be there for them and it’s a lot like it was for me and that helps everyone else out,” Lucas said.
The Towson roster consists of senior tri-captains Lucas, Fragetta and Katie Saunders and seniors Caelinn Satterfield, Adele Berkowitz and Chloe Cheseldine, junior Grace Boudreau, sophomores Franklin, Marsiglia, Keturah Omo-Osagie and Rory Harmon and freshmen Howe and Claire Boudreau.
Coach Hahn praised the effort of her entire team.
“We have a younger team with freshmen and sophomores moving up, but I think other then that this we definitely a team win, I think everyone contributed today and it feels good,” said Hahn, who has no problem starting two sophomores and a freshman. “They earned their spots, they knew going into this that no matter what grade they are in, they are all fighting for the same thing and that’s a starting position and eventually we worked around a lot and we found the five that fit.”
While Dulaney’s Szymanki team has struggled without White, who is out until after the new year, the coach had higher hopes before the season.
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“Last year, I felt we took some bumps and bruises because I had six sophomores on varsity, so this year I felt like we were returning a lot more then what we had in the past,” Szymanski said. “I think we are just really trying to jell and figure out how we are going to kind of adjust to an injury and how we are going to put points on the board, that’s really what it boils down to.”