The Mount Carmel girls basketball team rode an 18-3 second-quarter run to victory Tuesday, beating host John Carroll, 55-49, in an Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland game.
The Cougars (10-4) used the run to build a 17-point halftime lead, but John Carroll (4-6) made it interesting late before the Cougars held on for the six-point win.
The game actually had a very slow start for both teams. John Carroll’s first basket, a jumper from Meghan Ruth, came with 5:25 to play in the opening quarter.
Mt. Carmel’s Anylah Davis (nine points) scored her team‘s first point from the free-throw line with less than 3:00 to play. That sparked the Cougars to nine more points over the final 2:30 and they led 10-7 at quarter’s end.
Then came the game-changing run midway through the second quarter. The Cougars’ lead was 14-12 when Mount Carmel junior Tsion Smith took over.
Smith, who led all scorers with 14 points, knocked down three straight 3-pointers as part of an 11-0 run that pushed the Cougars’ lead to 25-12.
“Shooters shoot, you know, even if you miss it, you still got to keep going and that’s my motto,” Smith said. “Even if you’re shooting bad in the beginning, you just got to keep going and that’s what happened. I missed two in the beginning and was like, just got to keep shooting and that’s what everybody has to do, because that’s the only way you’re gonna put points on the board.”
Putting points on the board is what the Cougars did. Davis added a 3-pointer and Ahmirie Hopson (eight points) scored six as part of the 18-1 spurt and 32-13 advantage.
John Carroll freshman Khaya Carter, who led the Patriots with nine points, scored at the buzzer to end the half.
“The first half we played fundamental, sound basketball, looking for the best shot, looking for the right matchup and doing the best we can to put our team in the best position,” Cougars coach Rob Long said.
Long was overall pleased with his team’s first-half play, noting that if anything was wrong, it was his players not boxing out.
Regardless, John Carroll struggled to make baskets in the first half and a few lapses on defense cost them during the Cougars’ run.
“We had some moments where we didn’t get back defensively in terms of defensive transition and that allowed them to then get into transition a little more, raise their confidence even more and then they made a couple big ones to stretch out the lead,” Patriots coach Tyrell Howard-Franklin said. “We couldn’t get the run under control soon enough.”
The Patriots shot the ball better in the second half, making seven 3-pointers that brought them back within four points late.
The Patriots tried to cut into the lead in the third quarter, but the Cougars were able to match baskets. The lead was 42-28 with 1:20 left in the quarter, but John Carroll closed with five straight points. The Mount Carmel lead was 44-33.
The Cougars scored the first four points of the final quarter on Shawn Tate’s jumper and a Smith layup to lead 48-33.
The Patriots then stated to make a move. Tessa Boswell (eight points) hit a 3 cut the lead to 51-41, and Olivia Harris added a basket to slice it to eight, 51-43, with 3:32 to play.
Dania Madden (seven points) added a basket for Mount Carmel, but Harris and Marisa Ziegler (seven points) both hit 3′s and the Patriots were within four, 53-49, with 1:21 to play and a timeout.
Ruth, a John Carroll junior who finished with eight points, was confident her team could come all the way back. “Absolutely, I’m not one to doubt,” she said. “I think we got a good group of girls and we’re there for each other, so we don’t doubt each other.”
Out of the timeout, Mount Carmel’s Tate (11 points) drained a short jumper to finish the scoring.
John Carroll had a few long-range shots over the final minute, but none found the bottom of the net.