In the first four wins for the Loch Raven girls’ basketball team, the closest margin of victory was 23 points.
That was expected to change when Loch Raven played Towson in the second annual Battle of Baltimore, hosted by the Loch Raven athletic department and played at Goucher College on Friday night.
Towson (2-3), who defeated the Raiders last year, did come closer then any other foe, but not by much and the Raiders rolled to a 58-37 victory.
Senior point guard Mikayla Kemp scored a game-high 25 points to lead the Raiders (5-0).
“We just had to depend on everybody,” Kemp said. “We really wanted to win this game because we got embarrassed last year and we had to come back and beat them.”
Loch Raven coach Jerome Ragsdale had some advice for his senior leader before the game.
“I told her before we came out, it starts with you and you’ve got to set the tone and she came out and she set the tone,” he said.
After Towson’s Anna Lucas (seven points) scored a layup off an assist by Erin Steinberg (six points), giving the Generals a 3-2 lead early in the game, Kemp scored 12 straight points.
Her steal and chippie made it 14-3 with 2:24 left in the quarter before Towson freshman Starlette Franklin scored on a putback to make it 14-5.
Fast-break buckets by freshmen Maya Carnes (seven points) and Kaziah Akinniyi (12 points) and a free throw by Carnes bumped the lead to 19-5 at the end of the first quarter.
Towson committed nine turnovers in the quarter against the trapping defense.
“That’s where we get most of our points in transition off of our defense,” Ragsdale said. “Every day we work on defense and we rebound the basketball.”
Frigid shooting from the field continued for the Generals in the second quarter and they finished with only four made field goals in the half and trailed 39-13 at intermission.
Kemp score six in the second quarter and Akinniyi had four, including a big three-pointer.
Towson proved they had no quit in them when they came out in the second half and forced turnovers and went on a 15-2 run that cut the deficit from 26 to 13.
Rebecca Grim (team-high 16 points) hit two of her four-three pointers, Steinberg had five points, Lucas had two and Bernadette Brezinski had two during the third-quarter run.
When Brezinski converted Steinberg’s feed, making it 41-28 with 3:10 left in the third quarter, the only points the Raiders had scored were two free throws by Akinniyi.
That all changed when Kemp hit a three-pointer, the only field goal of the quarter for the Raiders, with 1:12 left, pushing the lead to 44-28.
“I really just wanted to score,” Kemp said. “We had got down and I just wanted to bring us back up.”
Ragsdale refrained from calling a time out during the Generals’ comeback.
“They are kids and they get a little above themselves and once they get above themselves, other teams come back, but they settled down,” Ragsdale said. “I didn’t want to use a time out because I wanted to use it as a learning experience and for them to work through it. They started settling it down and they started running plays and that’s when Mikayla hit that big three at the end of the quarter.”
The Raiders outscored the Generals 14-9 in the fourth quarter and coasted to victory.
They have now beaten their five opponents by an average margin of 28 points.
“I want to see a close game,” Ragsdale said. “I want to see actually how our team responds to some adversity, but tonight that third quarter had adversity and they responded to it.”