Gerstell's Tyra Echevarria chats with us post-game. (Megan Woodward/Carroll County Times)
Gerstell Academy's girls basketball roster is made up of three juniors, five sophomores, and eight freshmen — not one senior.
They're young, but budding with a collective talent, coach Jeff Cheevers said. And he described it as a growing experience for the girls. He sensed their comfort level rising when they're on the basketball court
On Tuesday against Carroll Christian, it came to light a little bit more.
The Falcons capitalized on an early 9-0 run in the first period, never losing the lead, en route to a 41-25 victory over the Patriots on Carroll Christian's home court. Sophomore guard Tyra Echevarria scored a game-high 16 points and was one of eight Falcons to get points on the board.
Sophomore forward Noel Talbot scored six points and added two steals, while Echevarria, Katie Pettine, Emily Fenwick, Gabby Manning, and Rachel Manning notched one steal apiece.
"We're becoming deeper as the year's gone on," Cheevers said. "We're figuring out what certain girls can do in certain situations to help us and it's always nice to have more girls than less to put into the game. I'm happy with that and as this year goes by and we get into next year and years to come, I'm happy where we're at right now, but it's just the tip of the iceberg to where we're going to go."
Echevarria started Gerstell's scoring drive with a 6-0 run of her own and had 11 points at the conclusion of the first quarter — the Falcons (3-8) led 16-6 at the start of the second frame.
Carroll Christian (8-7) scored six points each in the first three quarters. The game was briefly paused when Patriots freshman Sydney Wooden suffered a nosebleed late in the first frame, but returned to score a pair of free throws in the second to account for her team-high 10 points.
Gerstell carried a 24-12 lead into the break and scored six points in each of the first three quarters. Kristine George, Erin Delph and Wooden each notched field goals to cut the deficit for Carroll Christian but the Falcons continued to pull ahead.
Rachel Manning's steal in the Patriots' offensive zone set up a 3-pointer for Fenwick with 6:13 remaining that gave the Falcons a 34-20 lead. Delph pulled in the rebound, but Talbot stole the ball that set up a scoring chance for Echevarria. Three Patriots each sank a free throw in the game's final minutes.
Carroll Christian's Mikaela Martin brought in 10 rebounds and Delph had eight. Wooden and Camille Echegoyen each had three steals for the Patriots.
"That was our goal tonight, to start quickly and hopefully get Carroll Christian on their heels a little bit and go from there," Cheevers said. "We were able to do that and we played a lot of girls tonight which was nice to keep them in tune to what we're doing. I was pleased with tonight overall.
"I thought there were some areas we could have tightened up a bit especially on the defensive end, but overall it was a good night for us."
The Falcons are a group of girls that have come a long way, according to Cheevers. Their schedule includes matchups against an assortment of teams that range from Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland schools to Carroll public schools and other local private schools as well.
"I think it's a really good sign for our future," Echevarria said. "We only have a few juniors so next year we'll have all of our freshmen, all of our sophomores and new juniors and seniors so I think it's a really good opportunity because we have a lot of athletes that can help us in the future."