Two of the top Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference teams faced off as Gerstell Academy and St. Timothy’s looked to remain unbeaten in conference play this season.
But there aren’t going to be many teams that have a chance to beat St. Timothy’s if Aryss Macktoon plays the way she did Thursday night.
Macktoon lead St. Timothy’s to a decisive 65-42 victory, dominating the game with a 23-point, 10-rebound, 11-steal effort.
“Phenomenal,” St. Timothy’s head coach Vernon Harris said. “Not just on offense but leading us on defense, grabbing steals and creating opportunities for others, I don’t know what I would do without her.”
Macktoon and St. Timothy’s emphasis on playing strong defense started from the opening tip. Facing a Gerstell team full of shooters that like to run the floor, they put constant pressure on the Falcons. St. Timothy’s began the game on a 15-9 run, highlighted by some stingy defense.
Macktoon and her teammates executed the defensive game plan Harris had in place, running Gerstell off the 3-point line and forcing it to make errant passes, several of which went into the waiting hands of Macktoon.
From there the senior was able to run the floor and distribute to her open teammates for easy fast-break baskets.
“The whole game, everyone was able to have great energy and do their job,” Macktoon said.
Gerstell fought back in the second quarter as Kendall Williams was able to finally get some things going offensively for the Falcons. She finished with a team-high 13 points as she drove to the rim and made passes to shooters who found themselves open.
Marley Saunders even knocked down a couple of threes herself as the Falcons’ run left St. Timothy’s with just an eight-point lead at the half.
Harris knew that while it had some success in the first half, his team would need to be just as good in the second half to pick up the road win against a tough Gerstell team.
“I was trying to get my girls up for this game,” he said. “This is definitely one of the best teams we’ve faced all year and one of the best teams we will face in the conference.”
St. Timothy’s smelled blood in the water as it started the third quarter even more intense on defense. Offensively, Macktoon served as more of a distributor in the early stages of the half, dishing the ball out to guards, wings, anyone who ran the floor with her.
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Four St. Timothy’s players finished in double-figures including Karmen McDuffie, whose 11 points off the bench proved how deep this team is as the lead ballooned to 18 near the end of the third quarter.
“There was that stretch in the third where we just lost them defensively,” Gerstell head coach Shane Stem said. “With a team that good, it’s just too hard to come back.”
A big fourth quarter put away the Falcons and just like that, St. Timothy’s remained one of now three unbeaten teams B Conference play, along with St. Mary’s and Concordia Prep.
Despite the blowout victory, Harris appreciated the challenge Gerstell provided for his girls, noting that the game may have provided more than the score suggested.
“We haven’t been playing some of the higher-ranked teams on our schedule yet,” he said. “This was a great test for them.”
Now with a target on its back, St. Timothy’s is ready to be the hunted as the rest of the conference tries to bump it from the top spot. Harris said this victory sends a message to all of those teams.
“A win against a team like [Gerstell] lets everybody know that we want to play, and that we’re coming,” he said.