ROCKVILLE -- Kate Thirolf of Richard Montgomery did not clean up the gymnasium after last night's game.
But she did nearly everything else. Thirolf finished with 34 points, 18 rebounds and seven steals as Richard Montgomery rolled to a 76-53 victory over visiting South Carroll in a Class 3A West region playoff.
Thirolf, a 5-foot-10 senior forward who's the school's all-time leading scorer and is headed to Princeton, dominated play from the opening moments.
She started by scoring six points in the first 90 seconds. She then registered a double-double by halftime and South Carroll (12-11) never could stop her despite using double- and triple-teams.
"She's a real good player," said South Carroll coach Al Skierski. "She had a very good game, [and] she knows what to do."
Thirolf, who averaged 21 points and 15 rebounds during the regular season, was trying to pick up the slack for two starters the Rockets recently lost.
Her rebounding helped Richard Montgomery (20-3), winners of 11 straight, dominate inside. The Rockets outrebounded the Cavaliers 43-34 and came up with numerous second chances.
Ten of Thirolf's rebounds were offensive and -- along with Mileka Gilbert (10 points, 11 rebounds) -- helped the Rockets control the paint.
"Playoffs always do that me," said Thirolf. "Playoffs are the time to take over. There are no second chances now."
In the end, South Carroll could not overcome the Rockets' size and quickness. Shannon Henley (19 points) and Amy Stephenson (18 points) sparked the South Carroll offense and helped it make some good runs.
But the Rockets hounded the Cavaliers all over the court. Richard Montgomery made every South Carroll pass an adventure and never allowed the Cavaliers to find any type of rhythm.
Richard Montgomery used its presses and traps to force 24 South Carroll turnovers. The Rockets then quickly pushed the ball up the floor time and again for easy points.
"We knew we had to work the transition," said Thirolf. "That's our first offense, always."
The Rockets also often scored their points in bunches. They scored six in 41 seconds in the second quarter and followed that moments later with nine in 56 seconds as part of a 14-0 run that broke open the game.
"We faced a buzz saw tonight," said Skierski. "We haven't faced too many teams as quick as that."
The combination of Thirolf and the turnovers helped the Rockets jump to a 40-25 halftime lead and take command.
Richard Montgomery forced 15 South Carroll turnovers in the first half. The Cavaliers gave it up on seven of eight possessions in one stretch in the second quarter.
Thirolf and Medeina Grover sparked the Rockets in the second quarter. Thirolf controlled play inside and Grover hit three three-pointers as the Rockets scored 25 in the quarter.
Henley and Stephenson kept the Cavaliers within striking distance with some three-pointerss in the second quarter, but the Rockets came out even hotter after the break.
Thirolf stepped up, scoring eight in a 12-3 run that helped Richard Montgomery take a 58-33 lead with 2:32 left in the quarter.