Francis Scott Key junior guard Sara Warthen talks about her team's win over Gerstell and the upcoming playoffs.

Gerstell girls basketball coach Shane Stem might be glad he won’t be playing any more county public school teams this season.

Two games, two difficult losses.


Francis Scott Key got balanced scoring, employed an effective man-to-man defense and shot well enough to defeat the visiting Falcons, 44-36, Thursday on Senior Night.

Gerstell — which had its four-game winning streak snapped — also lost to Winters Mill by 27 points earlier in the season.

“If we had taken care of the ball better in the Winters Mill game, we had a chance to be in that one,” Stem said. “If we hit some of our foul shots (11-for-25) tonight, it would have been a little bit different story.”

The Eagles (6-15) are feeling a little different. They are ecstatic going into the regional playoffs with two straight wins after an up-and-down season.

“We want to go to states and the regional finals,” FSK junior guard Sara Warthen said. “We will play as a team to get there.”

Warthen led her team with 10 points and teammate Bailey Mathias, a junior forward, totaled nine points and five rebounds.

Gerstell senior forward Jillian Wilson totaled 10 points, seven steals, six rebounds, and four blocks.

The Falcons (12-10) made things interesting in the final quarter after trailing by as many as 13 points.

They trimmed the deficit to 38-30 on Rachel Manning’s 3-pointer with 1:26 left and again to eight in the final seconds.

Warthen helped FSK maintain a comfortable in the period by making six straight free throws.

“She is a clutch player and she made some foul shots that were really needed,” FSK first-year coach Emily Nazelrod said.

If Gerstell wanted to get back into the game in the third quarter after trailing by 12 points at halftime, the Falcons’ performance wouldn’t allow it.

They scored only four points in the period. Tyra Echevarria hit a short jumper midway through the quarter and Wilson sank consecutive free throws in the final seconds.

The Eagles — who shot 18 percent from the field (11-for-59) — didn’t play that much better and scored just five points in the period to lead 29-16 at the end of it.


The first quarter started a little ugly for both teams.

FSK committed three turnovers and missed its first two shots while Gerstell made only one of its first seven shots.

Gerstell led 3-2 on junior forward Noel Talbot’s free throw, but the Eagles went on a 5-0 run after that to take a 7-3 lead. They held a 9-7 advantage at the end of the quarter.

FSK opened the second quarter with a 7-2 run to go ahead 14-9.

The Eagles extended their lead to 19-10 with 2:35 remaining on a Mathias’ 3-pointer.

But Mathias was called for a technical foul for complaining to the referee about a Gerstell player bumping into her.

Gerstell took advantage as Emily Fenwick sank a pair of free throws to trim the margin to 19-12.

FSK ended the half with another 5-0 run to take a 24-12 lead at the break.

“We got our second win in a row,” Nazelrod said. “We had been in kind of a funk.”

Gerstell (36): Kymiah Carpenter 5, Tyra Echevarria 7, Jillian Wilson 10, Emily Fenwick 2, Noel Talbot 5, Rachel Manning 7.

Francis Scott Key (44): Karla Stonesifer 4, Rachel Wright 6, Bailey Mathias 9, Sara Warthen 10, Kennedy Cornick 4, Joelle Snader 6, Kirstin Kurtz 5.

Halftime: FSK, 24-12.