March 14th, 2023
Lady Lakers lose defensive-minded semifinal
Raptors hold GC to 24 percent shooting to reach title game
The Lady Lakers held second-seeded Montgomery College to 31 percent shooting from the field in Friday's NJCAA Division II Region XX women's basketball tournament semifinal.
That defensive effort would normally have earned third-seeded Garrett College a berth in title game. The Raptors, however, were even better on the defensive end, limiting GC to 24 percent shooting that included 2-for-21 from the 3-point line in a 57-44 Montgomery victory.
"We just kind of picked the wrong day to go cold and shoot one of our lowest shooting percentages of the year," said GC head coach JT Lewis. "It seemed like we were getting the shots we wanted to take and just weren't making them."
Tiyanna James (four assists, six steals) scored 19 points and Kaleah Boykin(16 rebounds) added 18 as Montgomery advanced to Saturday's region title game.
Josie Canales (four rebounds, three steals) led GC with 11 points while Aleeya Silver (five rebounds, two assists, two steals) added eight points. Josias Mickens (12 rebounds, seven steals, five assists) and Aliyah Tucker contributed seven points apiece, and Hailey Paige had six points and five rebounds.
GC's bench finished 3-for-23 from the field, including 0-for-7 from the 3-point line.
Garrett's only lead came at 2-0 on a Tucker put-back. The Raptors responded with a 7-0 run that included layups by James, Boykins, and D'Zire Coleman as Montgomery took the lead for good.
The Raptors, who had a 33-26 halftime lead, held GC to one third-quarter field goal as Montgomery opened up a 40-28 lead. Canales pulled the Lady Lakers within 40-35 on a layup with 7:11 remaining in the game, but GC could get no closer.
GC finished the season with a 20-4 record. The Lady Lakers have won 43 games over the last two seasons with a core of sophomores who will be missed.
"The foundation that they built is really impressive," Lewis said of Mickens, Canales, Tucker, and Harmoni Swain. "It's going to be hard to replace that sophomore group."
Lewis said the eight freshmen on this year's roster, combined with what is developing into a strong recruiting class, gives the Lady Lakers good reason for optimism.
"Next season looks promising," said Lewis. "I'm definitely looking forward to this year's freshmen paving the path for our next group of freshmen."
Top-seeded CCBC-Essex rolled over fourth-seeded Howard Community College, 95-52, in Friday's other semifinal. CCBC-Essex blasted Montgomery College in Saturday's region title game,106-65.
Garrett 94, PSC 68
McHenry MD – Garrett College ousted one of its biggest rivals from the region playoffs, avenged its only home-court loss of the season, and reached 20 wins for the second consecutive year.
Not bad for one night's work.
Josie Canales posted a triple-double (26 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists) in last Tuesday night's victory over Potomac State College of West Virginia University. That win earned third-seeded GC (20-3) a berth in the NJCAA Region 20 Division II women's basketball tournament semifinals for the third consecutive year.
"Everybody came to play," said Canales, who had 15 first-quarter points as the Lady Lakers took early control. "We really moved the ball around and we were very disciplined. It was a good night."
The Lakers avenged a 70-68 overtime loss to PSC in November that's the only blemish on a 10-1 home mark. GC also won the season series against the Lady Catamounts, 2-1.
Aleeya Silver (13 points, seven rebounds) and Harmoni Swain (10 points on 5-of-7 shooting) joined Canales in double figures. While Canales helped the Lady Lakers build an early lead, Silver played a key role late as she scored 11 of GC's last 13 points.
"I just try to produce as much as I can," said Silver.
PSC (12-13) was within 7-6 after Kelsey O'Neal's 3-pointer, but GC responded with a 17-2 scoring spree. Swain started the run with consecutive jumpers while Canales and Josias Mickens (seven points, seven rebounds, game-high 11 assists) each buried 3-pointers as GC reeled off 12 straight points to start the run.
Aliyah Tucker and Vanessa Cooper each scored nine points while Deylana Forrest and Gabriella Valentinetti chipped in eight points each for GC.
Chelcie Forrester scored a team-high 23 points for PSC. O'Neal added 14 points and Kelly Ours contributed 12 points for the Lady Catamounts, who made 10 3-pointers.