Category: New Town HS
by Nelson Coffin
Two years removed from a state championship and a year after knocking off Hereford High in the 2018 state girls basketball playoffs, New Town finding out how difficult it is to remain among the elite in Class 2A.
In the North Region Section I championship game on Thursday, a veteran Hereford squad used its length and size to exact revenge on the Titans for last year’s loss with a convincing 57-26 victory in Parkton.
By claiming its 10th straight win, Hereford (21-1 overall) earned home court against Prince George's County Gwynn Park in the region final, Saturday at noon.
Senior guard Cameron Smith, dubbed a “secret weapon” by Hereford coach Ellen Fitzkee, scored a career-best 21 points while nailing four 3-pointers to pace the 19th-ranked Bulls.
“For about the last month, Cameron has been shooting the ball really well,” Fitzkee said. “We want her to be the ‘X’ factor, because she knows where to be on the court and she’s such a good shooter. I told her that I want her to shoot more.”
Smith said that she has never had a game quite like that one.
“I thought I played well,” she said. “I felt confident and I was able to square up and get my shot off.”
Her first triple was drained between baskets by freshman Jelane Campbell and her junior backcourt mate Jourdyn Ayers, which marked the only two times New Town (8-12) was ahead in the game.
After that, the Bulls went on a withering 28-6 run that gave them an imposing 31-10 halftime advantage. Hereford’s unselfish play that included eight assists during the spree helped the Bulls riddle the Titans’ defense.
Smith had three feeds during the pivotal outburst, while junior guard Reese Harden had two. Senior center Bella Peterson, senior guard Rachel Saunders and senior forward Brynne Deluzio had one each.
“We move the ball well and we look for each other,” Fitzkee said. “We’re unselfish.”
New Town, which showed up with only seven players, simply could not keep up with Smith and her comrades, who led, 51-16, by the end of the third period.
Smith buried two more 3-pointers during the quarter and Deluzio swished one as well.
“We’re in a rebuilding process now,” New Town first-year coach Steve Anderson said. “We had a big win come-from-behind over Edmondson, so we’re good with what we’re doing here. We’re changing the culture, and not everyone can adapt.”
With a couple of 6-footers in Peterson and junior center Kelsey Pfulgrad and a few more players just shy of that height (Deluzio, junior forward Lindsay Clarke and freshman forward Kayla Nieberlein), not to mention Smith at 5-9 in the backcourt, the Bulls’ height advantage over the Titans was telling.
“They have some big kids and they have great shooters, too.” Anderson said.
Fitzkee said that the Titans were “quick and feisty. They never gave up.”
She added that the Bulls would have liked to use their height to even greater advantage, although she said that New Town did a good job of taking the inside game away.
Still, Anderson said that fatigue was definitely a factor for his team.
“We had depleted legs,” he said. “And tired legs make for tired fouls.”
Class 2A North Region Section I final