Randallstown players wore black shirts adorned with the golden words, "No excuses," before last night's Baltimore County girls championship game. If either team had a ready-made excuse, however, it was opposing Catonsville, with top player Shamika Williams relegated to the bench with early foul trouble.
Even without their UMBC-bound point guard, however, the No. 8 Comets showed why they're the class of the county, building a 21-point lead by halftime while holding the host Rams without a point for nearly 12 minutes in a 50-36 win.
"We haven't been in that situation where she's on the bench, and truth of the matter is we don't practice it," Comets coach Mike Mohler said. "I just thought overall that it was maybe our best team effort of the year. We usually rely on Shamika, but Shamika wasn't there."
The win gave Catonsville (21-2) its second straight county title, both over Randallstown.
Though the result was similar to that of a year ago, the way the Comets got there was not.
With Williams (18 points) on the bench for much of the first half after two quick fouls, junior Candace McCray adeptly ran the point and other teammates, led by junior Maya Torain (12 points, 13 rebounds) and senior Shelby Polk (11 points), also stepped up their offense.
Randallstown (14-7), champion of the county's Class 2A-1A league, saw its eight-game winning streak all but broken before coach Ellen Fitzkee, the head coach at Towson University from 1988 to 2001, could even deliver her halftime speech.
Leading 13-6, the Comets took command with relentless man-to-man defense, forcing the Rams into poor shots and turnovers. Randallstown missed 18 straight shots to end the half, while Catonsville scored 14 straight points to extend its lead to 27-6.