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Gerstell girls basketball goes cold after strong start, falls to John Carroll

No amount of Shane Stem’s intense clapping from the sideline could shake Gerstell Academy from its struggles.

The Falcons enjoyed a fine first quarter against visiting John Carroll before the Patriots regrouped, and the home team couldn’t come up with an answer following the opening eight minutes. Try as Gerstell’s coach did, Stem’s pleas to his players didn’t land the desired effect ― John Carroll took control over the final three quarters and cruised to a 43-28 victory Wednesday.

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Gerstell (2-5) lost for the fourth time in as many games and got outscored 37-17 after its first-quarter success. John Carroll won the second quarter 18-4, then jumped on the Falcons 15-5 in the third. Tessa Boswell, who came to the Patriots this season from Manchester Valley, led her new team with 13 points.

Gerstell backcourt mates Annie Jackson and Marley Saunders combined for 13 of their team’s points. The Falcons finished with 16 turnovers, eight of which came in the third quarter.

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Gerstell's Lauryn Wargo, left, tries to force John Carroll's Olivia Harris into a turnover in front of the Falcons' bench during a girls basketball game at Gerstell Academy on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021.
Gerstell's Lauryn Wargo, left, tries to force John Carroll's Olivia Harris into a turnover in front of the Falcons' bench during a girls basketball game at Gerstell Academy on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. (Brian Krista/Carroll County Times)

“This year, it’s been our growing pains,” Stem said. “We executed our stuff today, better than we have recently. We just didn’t finish some of the plays.”

John Carroll (3-4) overcame its slow start and swung momentum in the second quarter. Senior co-captain Olivia Harris had five points early in the frame, and when fellow captain Marisa Ziegler sank a 3-pointer with 3 minutes remaining the Patriots led 20-15.

Gerstell had a 15-13 lead with 6:17 to go in the quarter, after senior Haley Polk scored down low. But the Falcons missed their final 14 shots of the quarter, and faced foul trouble from junior Kylie Redman that cost them a presence under the hoop.

Boswell had seven points in the third quarter and connected on a 3-pointer of her own. John Carroll coach Tyrell Howard-Franklin said the Patriots did well to not let their first-quarter performance define them.

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“Sometimes when you get caught in [the past], it keeps you from being in the present,” Howard-Franklin said he told his players afterward. “I think we did a good job being here in the present, in that moment, and then taking advantage from that point on.”

Harris finished with 11 points and Kyleigh Monk added 10 for the Patriots, who are 2-0 against Gerstell this season. John Carroll opened its season Feb. 9 with a 51-48 win over the Falcons.

Gerstell's Zoe Urban looks to the hoop for a shot with John Carroll defenders Brandi Swinton and Olivia Harris, right, standing in her way during a girls basketball game at Gerstell Academy on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021.
Gerstell's Zoe Urban looks to the hoop for a shot with John Carroll defenders Brandi Swinton and Olivia Harris, right, standing in her way during a girls basketball game at Gerstell Academy on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. (Brian Krista/Carroll County Times)

Redman grabbed seven rebounds and Saunders collected five steals for Gerstell, which has three road games remaining on its schedule beginning with Feb. 26 at Concordia Prep.

“We’re a young team, when you look at the roster, in the minutes and who’s logging things,” Stem said. “But the girls fight hard, they bounce back. We fight our own demons each day, with our panicking and our youth. But the girls fight hard every day. They love it.”

John Carroll (43): Kyleigh Monk 10, Brandi Swinton 2, Olivia Harris 11, Khaya Carter 4, Tessa Boswell 13, Marissa Ziegler 3.

Gerstell (28): Marley Saunders 6, Annie Jackson 7, Adrienne Martin 2, Kylie Redman 4, Haley Polk 5, Zoe Urban 2, Kathrynn Heinz 2.

Halftime: JC, 24-15.

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