Carroll Christian’s girls basketball postseason success may depend on how far the backcourt tandem of Camille Echegoyen and Sydney Wooden, and forward Mikaela Martin, can carry the team.
Judging by Friday’s performance at home against Harford Christian, the Patriots and their triple threat look to be a pretty tough out in the playoffs.
Carroll steamrollered the visiting Eagles in a 50-13 victory, and the Pats will take the top seed into next week’s Maryland Association of Christian Schools Athletic Conference tournament — looking to repeat as league champs and earn the program’s 10th title.
Echegoyen and Wooden, both juniors, combined for 27 points, and Martin, controlled the post with 11 rebounds. Harford Christian couldn’t put up much of a fight, either, in facing a swarming defense that led to several fast breaks for the home team.
Carroll Christian improved to 18-1 (9-0 MACSAC) and won its 12th consecutive game, a streak that began in early December. The Pats’ roster features three freshmen and one sophomore, and Echegoyen said the beginning of the year signaled some change.
A 44-28 loss to Mount Airy Christian on Dec. 8 signaled Carroll’s first setback. But by the end of the month, Echegoyen and Wooden said, the Patriots began to jell.
“We knew how to work with each other,” Echegoyen said. “We just knew how to play with each other. When we play individually, the chemistry isn’t too good at all.”
Added Wooden: “If we’re all working together and talking, it clicks.”
Carroll led 17-2 after the first quarter Friday and 32-4 at halftime, and played much of the second half with a running clock. The Patriots held Harford scoreless until 1:23 remained in the first quarter, but they didn’t let up.
Echegoyen swished a 3-pointer from the left corner to make it 23-4 with about 3:30 remaining in the first half, and later came up with steals near midcourt on back-to-back possessions and ended both with uncontested layups. Carroll Christian led 32-4, and just before that the home team’s fans roared when senior Samantha Israel — promoted from junior varsity to be part of Senior Night — drained a baseline jump shot that also sent the Patriots bench players into a tremendous cheer.
Echegoyen totaled eight steals, while Wooden collected five steals and five assists to go with her team-high 14 points. Martin scored seven, and fellow senior forward Bethany Delph collected eight points and seven rebounds.
Abby Coomes led Harford Christian with four points.
Carroll Christian has become the MACSAC favorite once more after dominating the league in the 2000s. The Pats won championships in 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009, then again in 2013, before coming back to take the crown last season.
Harford Christian won MACSAC titles from 2014-17, and had beaten Carroll in the final three years in a row before the Patriots came out on top last winter by defeating Rosedale Baptist in the championship.
Pats coach Matthew Reisberg, in his 17th season, said getting back to prominence has been satisfying given a young roster — Carroll returned five starters before last season, and lost two of them before this winter — and not many upperclassmen. But the Patriots have a good mix of experience and talent, he said, led by his guards on the perimeter and Martin down low.
Reisberg praised Martin for her selflessness, which has been on display throughout her high school career. Martin’s coach said she could easily be a 1,000-point scorer had she decided to focus on her own offensive skills, but her team mentality rubs off on the rest of the Patriots.
Martin drew her share of praise from her teammates during the post-game Senior Night ceremony that also recognized Delph, Israel, and Abby Malat.
Martin said the Patriots are pumped to begin postseason play next week.
“I’m really excited because I think this team is doing really well,” Martin said. “I can’t ask for a better team going into states and going against these tougher teams that we’re about to go play.”
Harford Christian (13): Joe Edwards 2, Kaylee Cullum 2, Abby Coomes 4, Charity Hess 2, Katy Lanchak 1, Kaitlyn Kennedy 2.
Carroll Christian (50): Camille Echegoyen 13, Sydney Wooden 14, Mikaela Martin 7, Bethany Delph 8, Emily Wright 2, Sophia Wedge 2, Leighann Trusdale 2, Samantha Israel 2.