Glenelg Junior basketball player Julia Wolfrey talks about defeating Atholton 32-28. (Monica D'Ippolito, Baltimore Sun Media Group)
Battling off short rest and playing with seven players for the entire second half, Glenelg was probably tired coming out against Atholton Monday afternoon. However, the Gladiators didn't show one ounce of fatigue during the match, and ultimately came out with their second victory in three days after the 32-28 win.
"Actually I'm not worried about the fatigue aspect," said Glenelg coach Chris Beil. "I think mentally we're strong enough that we pushed through it. Jess (Foster) was kind of playing a full-court man the entire game. We played a lot of full-court man. Were we tired? Yes, but the girls have to learn to go through adversity and we're starting to get on a roll."
The Gladiators, coming off an overtime thriller against Mt. Hebron Saturday night, held the Raiders without a bucket in the first eight minutes of the game and took a 7-3 advantage into the second quarter.
However, Atholton implemented its zone press, which confused Glenelg to start the period, as it committed three consecutive turnovers due to the pressure.
"Afterword against Hebron we were really tired, but we knew this game we still had to bring our intensity and we got it done," said Gladiators Julia Wolfrey. "I think we might have been a little tired, but at half we knew if we didn't bring up our intensity it could have been close and we just got it together."
The Raiders capitalized off Glenelg's errors, converting the turnovers into fast break points.
"I think we take pride in our defense, especially when you want to buckle down and that's something that you always can work on," said Atholton coach Julia Reynold. "If the shots aren't falling that's OK, but you got to make sure to get a stop on the other end."
Francesca Vanegas led the Raider comeback, netting seven of Atholton's nine points in the quarter. But it was teammate Ryan Jones who gave the Raiders their first lead of the game, 9-7, with more than five minutes left in the half.
But Glenelg found some offense toward the end of the half and went on a 5-2 run that put them up 13-11 heading into the break.
Unfortunately in the last play of the half, Gladiators senior forward Katie Twigg got injured away from the play, clutching her knee. She needed help off the court and did not return to the game. However, Beil seemed optimistic to get Twigg back shortly, comparing the senior to another tough competitor in Pittsburgh Steelers' Superbowl winning quarterback.
"Katie is tough," he said. "She'll bounce back and it wouldn't suprise me if she will be ready to go tomorrow –she's like Ben Roethlisberger."
The Gladiators came out of the half, finding an answer to Atholton's press and it helped build their cushion to as much as nine-points early in the fourth quarter.
"The adjustments, we never really (made any)," Beil said. "We just had to run our press breaker. We always want to try and give it back to the in-bounder, but that's not how you beat the press. You got to attack the press, so we did a lot better job of attacking the press and seeing the open girls down the court."
However, Atholton kept battling through the final eight minutes and cut the lead to one. Caitlyn Burmester started the charge draining two foul shots to start the quarter, then Vanegas took over from there. First the junior guard knocked down a long-ranged three, then on the ensuing play made the steal off the press and laid in the easy fast-break bucket, cutting the score 23-20 with 5:43 to play. Nearly two minutes later, Jetta Owens would get her shot to fall, which brought Atholton back within one with 3:58 remaining.
But that would be as close as they would get and Chelsea Henggeler was a big part of that, netting two huge baskets that pushed the Gladiators cushion back up to five with 1:39 to play.
Jones would hit a put-back with more than a minute to go, cutting the score 24-27, but as time winded down Atholton was forced to intentionally foul to stop the clock. Glenelg, despite playing heavy minutes in the 72 hours, calmly knocked down its foul shots to ice the victory.
"This was a great team win," Beil said. "One of my players went down and we were forced to play a two-man rotation and everyone stepped up and were contributors. We had to limit the turnovers. We had 31 against Hebron and tonight we probably had half that, but we were a little smarter and played a little more composed. But that is a great team win and excited to beat Atholton, best team in the county - it kind of writes the ship."
Foster led the Gladiators offensively, finishing with 12 points, including knocking down a perfect 4-for-4 from the line in the final 30 seconds. Henggeler and Wolfrey followed with eight and seven points, respectively.
"I thought everyone did well," Beil added. "I though Chelsea did well finishing on the fast breaks. I thought Kellie Johnson stood out with getting a huge rebound that we needed, played with a lot of composure. Chelsea in the paint – she's a no fly zone. Julia was in foul trouble early, but picked it up in the second half. Everybody, I could name everyone on the team; it was a good team win. I'm very proud of the girls."
Vanegas led all scorers with 13 points, with Jones and Owens following offensively, chipping in with six and five points, respectively.
In their first game back since their Jan. 15 loss against Oakland Mills, the Raiders dropped its second consecutive game after starting the season at 10-0.
"I think not having a game and not really getting to get a good practice – a practice and a half before coming out," Reynold said. "I think it was rusty, just unforced turnovers that we had in the first quarter just mentally took us out of it right away. They fought hard and we didn't quit when we were down by nine in the fourth quarter. We made it tough, but it was a very talented team."
The Raiders and Gladiators are back at it Tuesday, as Atholton faces Hammond and Glenelg takes on River Hill.
"We're really excited, we're playing River Hill tomorrow, which should be a really good game," Wolfrey added. "I know they have a player back from an ACL, so I think that should be good competition too."
G (9-3, 12-3): Foster 12, Henggeler 8, Wolfrey 7, Johnson 2, Mattis 2, Butera 1.
A (9-1, 11-1): Vanegas 13, Jones 6, Owens 5, Burmester 2, Hart 2.
Half: 13-11 G.
Long Reach 58, Mt. Hebron 47 (Monday, Feb. 1)
The long break didn't seem to affect the Lightning, as they shook off the loss from Wilde Lake on Jan. 15 to pick up their ninth county win of the season.
Long Reach jumped out to a 28-17 advantage at the half, and were up by more than 20 at one point in the game, but Mt. Hebron fought back and cut the deficit in the final eight minutes by keeping the Lightning to just 10 points in the quarter.
Kiana Williams continued her impressive season for Long Reach, putting up a game-high 24 points in the outing. She scored 17 of her points in the first half, including 13 in the second quarter. Lyric Swann also had a good offensive performance for Long Reach. The freshman guard registered 15 points and hit a healthy 3-of-5 from the foul line.
Peyton LeConte led the way for the Vikings, netting a season-high 21 points. She was aggressive attacking the hoop and did well to get to the foul line, but struggled to knock down a high percentage from the line. She sank just 3-of-12 (25 percent) of her free throws, while as a team the Vikings shot 8-of-23 (35 percent) from the charity stripe.
It is Mt. Hebron's second loss in three days. Its game against Glenelg came down to the wire Saturday night, but ultimately the visiting Gladiators took home the 56-55 overtime win.
The Vikings schedule doesn't get any easier, they're back at it Tuesday as they head to Howard to take on the first place Lions. Howard got the best of the Vikings the first time around, but Mt. Hebron will no doubt be looking for some redemption.
As for the Lightning, they are also back on the floor on Tuesday, as they will travel to Marriotts Ridge to face the Mustangs.
LR (9-3, 10-3): K. Williams 24, L. Swann 15, Ezimako 9, Briggs-Hall 4, Thompson 2, D. Williams 2.
MH (6-6, 7-7): LeConte 21, Williams 6, S. Devine 5, Chase 4, Oliver 4, M. Devine 2, Demek 2, Davis 2.