News Cardinals Use Strong D To Eliminate Gc - Garrett College
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Campus News

March 12th, 2024

Cardinals use strong 'D' to eliminate GC

Third-seeded Lady Lakers shoot 25% in region semis setback

North East, MD – On most days, holding a college women's basketball team to 49 points on 30 percent shooting from the field will produce a victory.

Unfortunately for the Lady Lakers, Friday was not most days.

Second-seeded Community College of Baltimore County-Catonsville (22-4) was even better defensively than third-seeded Garrett College in their NJCAA Division II Region 20 semifinal. The Cardinals' 3-2 defense forced 24 turnovers and held GC to 25 percent shooting while grinding out a 49-36 victory.

"They're a long, athletic team – and they're just intimidating," said GC head coach JT Lewis about a Catonsville squad allowing the fourth-fewest points in the nation among NJCAA Division II squads. "Our ball movement wasn't the best against it their height and strength, and rebounding against them was a problem. Battling that and turning the ball over 24 times makes for a tough game."

"We've been living on our 3-2 [zone]with help defense," said Catonsville head coach Morris Brandon, whose squad finished with a 50-28 rebounding advantage. "Our defense played well and it helped that our bigs played better than their bigs."

Catonsville used the win to advance to an all-CCBC region final against reigning national champion CCBC-Essex, won by Essex, 63-61. Essex blew its semifinal open late, outscoring fifth-seeded Howard Community College, 14-4, down the stretch to notch a 71-47 triumph.

Garrett (18-6) had its 12-game winning streak snapped as two starters – Aleeya Silver (three rebounds, three assists, three steals) and Manuela Perez de Castro (nine rebounds) – combined to go 0-for-19 from the field. Silver, Perez de Castro, and starting guard Hasana Akinloye combined to score five points, illustrating Catonsville's impressive defensive performance.

Tenea Robinson (15 points, eight rebounds, two steals) and Dasia Townes (12 points, four assists) were the only Cardinals in double figures. Jocelyn Fogle (nine points, 10 rebounds) just missed a double-double while Kayla Cabbagestalk (two points) contributed a game-high 15 rebounds, four steals, and four assists.

GC struggled offensively from the start, turning the ball over eight times in the first seven minutes. The Lady Lakers stayed close with hustle and good defense, getting within 11-9 after one quarter as Bayleigh Lamberson (six points, three steals) hit a jumper off a nice feed from Perez de Castro to close the quarter.

Garrett created an 18-18 tie on a three-point play by Renee Timbers (nine points, three steals) with 3:23 left in the second quarter.

"I did like our fight," said Lewis of the way the Lady Lakers clawed back into that 18-18 tie. "We were undersized, but I saw a lot of heart in all of our players."

Catonsville, however, took the lead for good with a 9-0 streak to end the first half. Mya Franklin had five of her seven points during that run, starting the streak with a hoop off a weak-side offensive rebound and ending it with a 3-pointer.

Gabriella Valentinetti twice pulled GC within four points, the last time on a 3-pointer that close the gap to 33-29 after three quarters. Valentinetti, playing her final game with the Lady Lakers, finished with a game-high 16 points, nine rebounds, and a game-high five steals.

Catonsville clinched its finals berth by starting the fourth quarter with a 10-1 run. Five different Cardinals had baskets during the game-deciding surge.

Brandon praised GC's seven-player team.

"They're well-coached and they're a pretty polished team," said Brandon.

GC reached the region semifinals for the fourth consecutive season despite a lot of challenges.

"This was a special team," said Lewis. "We had a great year while overcoming a lot of injuries. We had six players a lot of games, and just five some games – to get where we finished was just great."