News Third Seeded Gc Opens With Chesapeake - Garrett College
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Campus News

March 4th, 2024

Third-seeded GC opens with Chesapeake

Winner gets Catonsville-Frederick victor in Friday semifinal

It was just last week that Garrett College's women's basketball team broke open a tight game in the fourth quarter to defeat Chesapeake College, 73-58. Now, those teams get to run it back in a region quarterfinal.

Third-seeded Garrett (17-5 overall, 9-1 region) hosts sixth-seeded Chesapeake (13-12, 5-6) Tuesday night at 6 p.m. in a National Junior College Athletic Association Division II Region 20 quarterfinal. The winner of that contest plays the winner of the quarterfinal between second-seeded CCBC-Catonsville (20-4, 8-2) and seventh-seeded Frederick Community College (12-11, 5-6) in a Friday semifinal at Cecil College.

While Garrett beat the Skipjacks by 15 points in the regular-season meeting, Chesapeake only trailed by two late in the third quarter. The Skipjacks stayed in that game with excellent 3-point shooting, but GC's up-tempo offense eventually allowed the Lady Lakers to pull away.

GC head coach JT Lewis hopes to use the same formula – and a little better perimeter defense – to reach the region semifinals for the fourth straight year.

"The main thing that worked for us against Chesapeake was getting out in transition and pushing the ball," said Lewis. "But we didn't get out on their perimeter shooters. We have to rotate better and defend the perimeter – we can't let them get open looks at 3-pointers."

Gabriella Valentinetti had a game-high 23 points and 10 rebounds to pace Garrett in its win over Chesapeake. The sophomore guard has posted six consecutive double-doubles, averaging 21.5 points and 11.7 rebounds over that time frame.

"We don't have that much size, so Gabby's had to really hit the boards," said Lewis.

Renee Timbers has also been impressive over the last half-dozen games. The freshman point guard is averaging 19.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 2.7 steals over the previous six contests.

GC takes a lot of momentum into the playoffs, having won its last 11 games. The Lady Lakers' average margin of victory during the 11-0 run is 24 points, including four wins where the margin of victory was more than 30 points.

The Lady Lakers had a week off between a 90-50 win over the College of Southern Maryland and the start of the playoffs. Lewis said his team put the break to good use.

"We had a nice break and people have been getting healthy," said Lewis, whose seven-player squad has been battling injuries pretty much all season. GC's depth issues ended up costing the Lady Lakers the second seed even though their only on-court region loss came to reigning national champion CCBC-Essex.

The Lady Lakers postponed a game against CCBC-Catonsville when they didn't have a sufficient number of healthy players to play. When that game wasn't made up, the region awarded Catonsville with a win that bumped the Cardinals from fourth to second in the seeding.

"It was a surprise when I heard it," said Lewis.

Garrett, however, was still able to land in the opposite half of the draw from CCBC-Essex, which was Lewis' main concern. Essex, which has won three consecutive Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference championships, is gunning for its third straight Region 20 crown.

"Our goal was to be in the other half of the draw so that we wouldn't see Essex until a potential region final," said Lewis.

Both of Friday's semifinals and Saturday's title game will take place at Cecil College.