Dickey held to just six first half points, finishes with 30 and 17 rebounds to rally No. 4 Catonsville past Bethesda-Chevy Chase for return trip to 4A state girls’ basketball final
by Nelson Coffin
Catonsville High girls’ basketball coach Mike Mohler made no fiery speeches or drastic strategic maneuvers at halftime of Thursday’s Class 4A state semifinal at Towson University’s SECU Arena, even though No. 4 Catonsville limped into the locker room after having put up just 13 points in 16 minutes of action against Bethesda-Chevy Chase of Montgomery County.
The longtime Comets coach, who just eclipsed the 500-win mark in a 78-42 thumping of Paint Branch in the North Region finale on Saturday, was very straightforward with his troops about a 14-point halftime deficit.
“You can say all you want, but they have a really good coach and good, fundamental kids,” Mohler said about the Barons. “But I felt like we had better athletes and were faster, a little stronger. I said, ‘Let’s just go play. Whether we lose by 40 or four. let’s go after them.’ And we did.”
Having already pared three points from a hefty 25-8 shortfall with just over five minutes left in the second quarter, defending champion Catonsville (23-3 overall) went full throttle after the intermission to win going away, 63-51, behind senior star Jasmine Dickey pumping in 24 of her game-high 30 points in the final two periods.
The Comets will have a chance to go for a repeat when they meet Eleanor Roosevelt of Prince George’s County, a 54-41 winner over North Point in the other semifinal, on Saturday at SECU Arena at 3 p.m.
As good as she was in the second half, Dickey, who also hauled down a game-best 17 boards, was the polar opposite prior to the outburst.
The University of Delaware commit went 3-for-17 from the field and did not earn a trip to the foul line, which is a big part of her game.
“We knew we had to focus on her,” Bethesda-Chevy coach Ryan Ingalls said. “We had a lot of help defense on her and it seemed to mess her up. She missed a lot of easy shots.”
“We knew if we held Dickey down, we’d have a much better chance,” said Barons forward Caitlyn Clendenin, who paced the Barons with 22 points and added 11 rebounds.
The Barons did a pretty good job on the rest of the Baltimore County champions as well, holding them to just 6-for-33 shooting (18.2 percent) in the opening half.
“We really wanted to be the aggressor,” said Catonsville senior guard Jameila Barrett, who added 15 points. “But they flipped it on us. They were the aggressor. They were pushing the ball and we weren’t getting back (on defense).”
In the second half, though, Dickey and the Comets came out with fire in their eyes at both ends of the floor.
“They definitely pressured us,” said Bethesda senior guard Charlotte Lowndes. “They were face-guarding a lot more.”
Mohler said that he had figured that if Catonsville could get within three or four points of the lead by the end of the third quarter, the Comets would be in good shape.
Instead, his team made up ground much more quickly than he had anticipated.
“With 3:53 to go, I look up and we’re down by four,” Mohler remembered. “I said ‘O.K., let’s keep going.’ “
Less than a minute later, Dickey converted a free throw after she was fouled on a put-back to give Catonsville its first tie, 30-30.
She put the Comets ahead for the first time with just under three minutes remaining in the period, although the Barons, led by Clendenin, surged back in the lead by the end of the period, 38-36.
An 11-2 Catonsville run to open the fourth quarter began on a pair of Barrett free throws and finished on an assortment of put-backs, a steal, a layup and a free throw by Dickey that was the first salvo of a strong final eight minutes during which Bethesda-CC was outscored, 27-13.
“It’s a tough way to go out after the way we played in the first half,” Ingalls said.
In the end, Catonsville was not to be denied.
“After halftime, we were either going to keep going or go home,” Catonsville junior guard Gabby Douglas said.
CLASS 4A GIRLS STATE BASKETBALL SEMIFINAL
AT TOWSON UNIVERSITY
NO. 4 CATONSVILLE 63, BETHESDA-CHEVY CHASE 51
BETHESDA-CHEVY CHASE: Charlotte Lowndes 9, Caitlyn Clendenin 22, Eva McGloon 2, Caroline Orza, Merte Cowles 5, Stephanie Howell 9. TOTALS: 17 16-24 51.
CATONSVILLE: Jasmine Dickey 30, Jameila Barrett 15, Gabby Douglas 5, Aysia Ferguson 2, Staisha Daniels 9, Sophie Wrisk 2. TOTALS: 24 13-15 63.
BCC 14 13 11 13 — 51
CHS 6 7 23 27 — 63